While you may have a laundry room inside your home, you might be thinking that you could make better use of that heated, cooled interior space. Or perhaps your washer and dryer are tucked into a closet or squeezed into the corner of your kitchen or bathroom, meaning that when you do wash, baskets, piles of laundry and whatnot block passage and take up space.
What if you could put a laundry room in your garage? That would make good use of space that is often only used for vehicles and clutter. If you use your garage for recreation, having your laundry facilities there makes it easy to exercise, read or pursue a hobby while you do your laundry. In this article, we tell you how to build a laundry room in your garage. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
5 Steps to Build a Laundry Room in Your Garage
1. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate!
No matter what you want to do to your garage, the first step is almost always “insulate”. When you insulate your garage, you add a layer of protection for anything that is stored inside.
Insulation helps your garage stay at a steady temperature, even if you are only heating it with passive solar options. Insulation also helps keep your garage cooler in the summer by blocking out the heat of the sun.
2. Provide climate control
If you will be using your garage for laundry purposes, you’ll naturally want to have heating and cooling in place. This also makes your garage usable for projects, recreation and more.
Additionally, items stored in a climate controlled garage will not suffer damage while in storage.
3. Build a separate space
You could just set up washer and dryer hookups in your garage, but that minimal solution would result in having laundry baskets and piles of laundry taking up space and blocking passage in your garage.
For this reason, it’s best to build a room-within-a-room for the specific purpose of housing your laundry room.
4. Plan well
Whatever you do, don’t make it up as you go along. Draw up a formal plan that includes accurate dimensions and representative diagrams and drawings. Your plan must have:
- The location and the layout of the laundry room clearly marked with measurements. Ideally, you should put your laundry room right inside the walk-thru door to your garage. Whether your garage is attached or separate, it’s better to be able to step right into the laundry room with your baskets of clothing rather than having to traipse through the garage to get to the washer and dryer. Additionally, If you’ve been doing messy work outdoors or in the garage, it’s handy to be able to disrobe in the laundry room and leave your dirty clothes there before stepping into the house. Just be sure to have a robe hanging on a handy hook – especially if you have a detached garage!
- The arrangement of every item that will be in the room. Think about the way you currently do laundry to determine what items and equipment you use now and what you need and wish for. Make a complete list that includes washer, dryer, cupboards and cabinets, ironing board, sewing machine, etc.
TIP: It’s a good idea to install a utility sink in your laundry room. You’ll find it very useful for hand washing, rinsing and soaking. Additionally, this kind of large, deep sink is excellent for cleaning tools and mops and for washing up after performing messy jobs and before going into the house.
- Accurate plan for all plumbing (i.e. drainage and water inlet). You’ll need hot and cold water hookups and the ability to install a drain. For this, you’ll need to know where your existing plumbing is so that you can make efficient connections. Keep in mind that your washer cannot drain into the storm water drainage system. You must be able to hook it up to the sewer system.
TIP: A raised floor and fully finished walls make it possible to hide components of plumbing, such as the hot and cold water inlets and the drain plumbing, as well as electrical wiring.
- Accurate plan for all electrical wiring (i.e. light fixtures and power outlets). You’ll need to have existing outlets that can handle running a washer and dryer, or you’ll need to install them or have an electrician do so. Remember that according to the National Electrical Code (NEC) you’ll need a dedicated outlet for your washer and another for your dryer. An electric dryer will need a 20 amp outlet with a 220-volt circuit. If you have a gas dryer, your washer and dryer can share an outlet. You’ll need at least one more outlet for small electrical appliances, such as iron, steamer, etc. Naturally, you’ll need to include any wiring necessary to accommodate and operate lighting. If you question your own electrical work abilities at all, it’s best to go with a pro.
- Accurate plan and placement for dehumidifying and ventilating the room. You’ll need to vent your dryer to the outdoors so that you don’t end up humidifying your whole garage. For this reason, it’s best if your dryer can back up to an exterior wall. A separate vent fan in the wall or ceiling is also a good idea to remove humidity caused by the washer.
- Clear outline of the entire structure, including floors, walls and ceilings, doors and windows. It’s a good idea to put in an elevated floor for your laundry room. This helps keep the temperature inside consistent, and provides a better, cleaner surface for separating piles of laundry.
- Complete equipment list with prices should include everything from screws and nails to finishing touches, such as the ironing board.
- Check with your local authorities to be sure your plans are in compliance with local building codes.
5. Build it!
To reduce the cost of materials, it’s a good idea to place your laundry room in a corner of the garage so that you already have two walls built. This is not to say that you should build your laundry room directly onto the garage walls.
A corner will just provide structure and support. Keep the room-within-a-room concept in mind as you design and build. You’ll want to build a pair of partition walls parallel to your garage’s existing walls.
Begin by creating the frame with a sole plate, which you will secure to your garage’s concrete floor. You’ll also need to include a top plate attached to a beam or the garage ceiling. Complete the frame by installing vertical studs at a width of 16 inches.
6. Pay Attention to Finishing Touches
To make your laundry room seem bigger, incorporate clear glass panels, doors and windows. Then you won’t feel as if you’re doing your laundry in a closet.
Take care of finishing touches such as epoxy paint for the floors, walls and ceilings and installation of shelves and storage cupboards before bringing in equipment.
If you think you’ll take care of those little touches later, you’re very likely to put it off longer than you intended. Moving washers and dryers around for access to floors, walls and ceilings can put anyone off!
Make water resistant choices. When thinking about finishing the walls, you may find it easier to paint the frame with epoxy and then finish the walls with tinted polycarbonate sheets, rather than installing drywall or plywood and then painting it.
As an alternative to painting the floor with epoxy paint, you may wish to install porcelain or ceramic tiles for an attractive, water resistant flooring option.
DIY Main-floor Laundry Room Addition
Enjoy the Advantages
When you build a laundry room in your garage, you:
- Make good use of space that may have been wasted.
- Improve the convenience of your home.
- Increase your home’s resale value
- Add a layer of privacy, insulation and soundproofing between your attached garage and your home.
- Increase the usability of your home.
In addition to having a dedicated space to take care of laundry chores, you may be able to use this extra space as a pantry to store non perishable food items. You might want to keep a second fridge or freezer in your laundry room to enable your to take advantage of sales.
If you have a pet, a laundry room is a good place for a kennel, food dishes, litter box, etc., away from the main part of the house and in an area where spills and accidents won’t matter much.
The bottom line is, with good planning and careful construction, a laundry room added to your garage can provide a lot of benefits and a great deal of convenience.