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Thread: Tiny laundry room & useless bathroom: need suggestions

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  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Question Tiny laundry room & useless bathroom: need suggestions

    I will probably have to provide diagrams at some point but basically on the southeast end of my kitchen there is a doorway (with a curtain rather than door) that has a door out to the back on the left and a bathroom on the left side with the door parallel to the kitchen doorway. The hallway itself goes to the south exterior wall and on the left (east) it has a tiny laundry room. Well, it might be decent sized but the washer and dryer are on the north wall and they are 31.5" deep. Each one is 27" wide. One cannot walk through the room if the doors to either are open. I think the total width of the wall that the appliances are against is about 60" or less. The installers tore the linoleum (which was sitting on top of a damaged floor that the linoleum installer tried to fix by pouring in some white powder and adding water). There's apparently a moisture barrier underneath because I can see clear plastic. The linoleum installer had apprentices doing the job and they used the wrong length so there is a seam across the middle of the floor which has started to come apart. (The installer has since retired from the rug business and currently drives a school bus).

    Here is a rough sketch of the bathroom (nothing is really proportionate and I need to do more measurements).


    There is a metal pipe coming out of the floor that the wall-mounted sink used to attach to, but the sink fell off the wall and the pipe broke. I don't think it is currently attached to anything. In the laundry room there are three plastic pipes sticking out of the floor. Two of them have shutoff valves and one of them is capped. The east wall has a small window in the laundry room. There is also a small window in the bathroom. There is a small ceiling fan in the laundry room as well as a vent to the central air conditioning.

    I don't think that the wall the appliances rest against is load bearing.

    I'm thinking of tearing out the walls of the bathroom, getting rid of the useless shower (which is currently being used as a storage closet), moving the washer and dryer to the east wall or south wall, putting in a sink to rinse clothes in and having a stall for a toilet using either a shower curtain for a doorway or a bifold door or an accordion door. I don't think there is enough room to have a sink and toilet in the same little room and still have decent space for the laundry area. Given the market for houses in this area, we aren't terribly concerned with losing value in the home by eliminating a bathroom. The current bathroom is not anywhere near up to code anyway. I wish I could figure out how to keep a small shower in the area somehow too. Perhaps it could be used to rinse with a detachable shower head or something-- but again, more walls= less space.

    There is a light above the exterior door (the wiring is inside but the light is for the outside). We currently have a curtain hanging in the doorway to the kitchen because the entire laundry area is not properly insulated and is cold in winter and hot in summer. The wooden floor near the door got wet somehow and expanded we tried putting those styrofoam wrapped in cloth things under the door but it just snagged on the linoleum and tore it and then ended up getting stuck and making it hard to open and close the door.

    The bedroom has two entrances (one to the laundry hallway and the other to another hallway on the opposite side). I once entertained the idea of having the bathroom on the south wall and moving the bedroom door closer so that room would have its own bathroom. Unfortunately the room is so small that with the position of the bed that isn't feasible (because of interior closets and other things there isn't any space to move the bed elsewhere). We are entertaining the idea of getting rid of the east door to the bedroom as the north door is the one being used.

    I will try to get more measurements and such and maybe even some photos.

    I plan to do as much of the demolition as I can by myself (perhaps with the help of a friend who has offered to help if I need bc we helped him out).

    I'm hoping to do this as cheaply as possible.

    Any suggestions thus far?

    The kitchen currently has parkay flooring so there is a drop to the linoleum. The entire area used to be parkay flooring but the tenants destroyed the floor in the laundry and bathroom.

    What type of flooring is very durable/sturdy and water resistant but not too pricey? It needs to be able to handle heavy things being dropped and appliances being dragged. I know the floor underneath is not level.

    Any pictures or drawings of layout suggestions?

    Should I try to keep a shower there or does it seem there isn't enough space?

    What would be the best use of that space?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The immediate solution would be to rotate the W&D so they are on the west, ( or east depending whether North is up or down), wall and you have better access to their doors. If the room is 60" wide, which would be normal, that is how they intended them to be installed, except maybe for a poor plumbing design.
    Last edited by hj; 06-17-2013 at 07:14 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    FWIW, the toilet installation does not meet current code which requires a MINIMUM of 15" either side of the center for a toilet install. Where you have a toilet, you must have a sink nearby to meet code, too. Now, a laundry sink may qualify - you'd have to check with the local inspector. Many washer/dryer pairs have optional stacking brackets, which may help with the space problem. I agree with HJ, I'd consider moving them to the west wall - they should fit with a little room to spare. In most cases, the WM hose is long enough, but the dryer duct may be more of an issue, but not insurmountable.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies. I should have flipped the drawing but I drew it as I see it when I face it sort of. Up is South, left is East, etc.

    I have this washer and dryer set (complete with pedestals)

    But they don't sit so closely together.

    The plumbing to supply water for the washer and dryer is on the north (lower) wall and sticks out about 5 inches. This makes the washer and dryer stick out even more. The combined width of washer and dryer of pushed tight together would be about 54". The east (left) wall has the window (which is slightly below the height of the washer/dryer) and the vent for the dryer is also on that wall. IIRC, my mother said that the reason she didn't want both units on that wall was bc there was no room to open the doors since the wall is a little less than 61". The doors are rather thick and won't swing very far (because of the stuff on the South wall that sticks out and makes things have to bump over more to the North wall by 4" to 5"). Just moving the washer and dryer in to the space in the first place was a major ordeal in the first place.

    I have a revised sketch with some rough measurements. It was hard for me to get in to some of the places to try to see and I had to have my brother tell me what he thought the measurement was on some things when I was holding the other end. He's even worse with measuring tapes than I am. I have a hard time seeing the little lines. LOL.


    Just before the entrance to the actual laundry area is a door frame. I've determined that the wall is not load bearing (one since it is so small and two because it runs parallel to the joists- the load-bearing beam in the kitchen is perpendicular to it).

    From the South wall to the window = 18". The window is just shy of 23" wide.

    Hopefully the rest of the measurements are legible. I was obviously terrible at getting the proportions done right. I should find the right software. I just slapped it together in MS Paint.

    Jadnashua, yeah, I realized it wasn't to code. I think I griped about it elsewhere before. LOL. The distance from the toilet to the old sink probably wasn't to code either. I doubt that much of anything in this house is up to code. I know it has been around since at least the 40s and there were some renovations in the 60s or 70s.

    IIRC, when we first got this washer and dryer we tried putting them on the East wall but we couldn't get them to fit bc of other obstacles-- not sure what though.

    We do need to renovate since the bathroom as-is is useless. My brother is literally wider than the doorway into it and wider than the area for the toilet.

    Another thing I need to find out is what my flooring options are. I need something that is sturdy and water resistant. Something that won't tear or scrape up when I move the washer and dryer (although I know I should use something underneath them to prevent scratches).
    Last edited by suceress; 06-23-2013 at 04:50 AM. Reason: edited picture

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default W&d

    My washer and dryer is the exact one shown in your picture, including the color. The doors only have to open 90 degrees so the wall is not a problem.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member suceress's Avatar
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    My mother already nixed that idea and said we tried to fit them on that wall when we first got them and bc nothing is square, they wouldn't fit and she doesn't want the window blocked.

    Right now I need help with:
    * The layout-- figuring out the best use of space for the area after the bathroom walls are torn down
    * Whether or not any of the walls should NOT be torn down
    * Selecting flooring that is water resistant, can withstand all sorts of abuse (heavy things falling-- appliances being moved), but isn't too expensive.
    * Making sure everything is done to building codes for my area (which I'm sure are actually fairly loose or are not really enforced bc I see new construction going up that I know would not be to code in other places).
    * Whether or not I should keep a shower in the area or just ditch it all together.
    * Figuring out how much money should be spent on the project. Value of house probably not important bc the market here is awful (but people do want the land).


    My current ideas:
    Plan A1: Gut everything, insulate exterior walls, put up paneling, not sure where to put things. Was thinking of having a toilet stall in either the same place as the current toilet or moving the toilet to the south wall or something. Either full walls around the toilet or more like the stalls you find in store bathrooms (which would probably look pretty tacky but would work). Might keep the existing toilet even though it blows (would love to get another Toto Drake but I don't think mom would splurge for that-- would actually like to take her old Toto drake and get a Drake II for her bathroom). We have a small vanity with a large sink that could be used for hand-washing after toilet use as well as for rinsing some clothes and/or handwashing things. (I'll get measurements on that sink later). Ideas for door to toilet area ranged from bifold doors to a simple curtain. No shower in this version.
    Pros: Plenty of open space to work with and easy to access laundry area without bumping into walls. My brother would have his own designated bathroom and would not have to wake me up to go through my room to go to my bathroom and I would not have to clean up his mess afterward. He would not wake mother up by stumbling into her room loudly in the middle of the night to use her bathroom, thus she would not be in such a bad mood when she wakes up. I would not have to clean his toilet.
    Cons: Aesthetically might not look balanced for back door and would not have a wall to keep out cold/hot air-- less wall space for storage. Lack of shower reduces home value slightly and bro would need to use someone else's shower.

    Plan A2: Same as plan A except maybe with something for a shower. It would have to be big enough to fit my brother so he could freely move around inside (and it would have to be tall enough since he's over 6") yet small enough not to cut in to the space in that area. Showerhead would be one of those detachable ones that that can be moved around to spray harder to reach spots-- but could also be used to spray laundry or other items if need be. I've seen showers where there is only one wall and a shower curtain circles-- but I think my bro would need support if he slipped and I'd like to have a grab bar somewhere in the area. I'm debating whether a shower pan would be a good idea or if it would be better to create a custom shower-- perhaps using a membrane instead of stupid plastic liner (and hot-mopping is a definite "no"). Not sure how to make one without tile though-- and my mother HATES tile.
    Pros: Same as A1 but add in shower which would give brother place to clean up and maintain home value. Could help wash other items that won't fit in sink. My brother wouldn't have to go into my room or my mother's room and make a mess in the bathroom when he takes a shower.
    Cons: less wall space, less space for other things if shower included. Shower would be more expensive and must be done properly or can leak and ruin floor. Requires more plumbing changes.

    Plan B1: Pretty much the same as Plan A1 except the north wall of the bathroom would stay as a bit of a divider (and to provide some wall space for storage). Aesthetically it would probably look better than just having the laundry room exposed.
    Pros: More wall space for storage. Aesthetically balanced for back door. Gives divider to break flow of cold/hot air from door.
    Cons: Probably have to remove bathroom door for it. Might make it a bit more cramped when trying to access laundry area.

    Plan B2: Same as A2 except north bathroom wall would stay.
    Same pros and cons as B1.

    Plan C1&2: Same as B1&2 except north bathroom wall would extend all the way to the west wall, allowing my brother to reach the bathroom area in privacy. Not sure how well that would work. Perhaps we could use a curtain or something there. We currently have a curtain in the archway from the kitchen to the back hall. A lot of heat and cold comes in from that door so the separation helps.
    Pros: More privacy for bro. Possibly more area set aside as bathroom? (depends on placement of everything). Divider keeps cold/hot air flow blocked and allows room to stay warmer/cooler. Possibly more wall space for storage/shelves.
    Cons: Less space for laundry. Might be harder to access area when carrying laundry (more cramped). Probably more expensive bc some walls will have to be added and will require more wall covering (which would be existing old wall panels plus cheap plywood painted in Killz-- already have Killz). Part of wall might have to go at neo angle to not interfere with brother's door.

    Other notes: The window in the laundry room is just under 23"wide and is 18" from the south wall. The bathroom has no lighting and is being used as a storage closet so I didn't get the window measurement there. That window in particular is home to spiders. The whole room is probably a spider nest by now actually. The measurements are approximate since I am not very handy with a measuring tape and I have trouble seeing the smaller lines. If it isn't .25 or .5 or right on the mark of a main number I have trouble seeing it.

    The vanity/sink is like this:

    but will have a higher faucet-- I wish I could find one with a spray attachment that wouldn't be expensive.

    Another thought is that part of the existing north wall of the bathroom could be kept but part of it removed to give a wider space but still have some division.

    Things that would be nice to have in the room if space/$ allows:
    * some sort of surface for folding laundry
    * some place to store dirty laundry waiting to be washed but that is out of reach for cats so they can't use it as a litterbox
    * A place where clean laundry can be set/stored before being folded or put away (perhaps an unmatched sock bin somewhere so we can try to collect up the socks and match them).
    * An electric vent that removes moisture from the air so the room does not become too damp (I think current bathroom has vent-lite-heat thingy but am not certain).
    * Find place to re-use between-the-studs mirrored medicine cabinet (I know it wouldn't be able to go on the exterior walls unless I just built a box to go around it and have it jut out from the wall or something).
    * Enough space to bring in a folding chair or seat so laundry can be handled while sitting (my mother will need this). Would be nice if there was room for a chair that is actually comfortable that can be moved in to place.
    * Since cats might be prone to go there, a litterbox area would be nice (but not a requirement)


    Picture ideas for inspiration
    Storage-- rods that stick out for drying things (could be placed directly on wall)

    But I'm only 5'5" so it would have to be within reach unless I had an apparatus for grabbing things.

    Drying thing that pulls out for use and collapses to wall when not in use.


    Drawers that pull out and have racks for drying


    More things that fold out from the wall


    Rolling shelf thingy that goes between machines or could go between machine and wall.


    Too bad we probably don't have space for something like this (but with frosted glass)
    http://media-cache-ec3.pinimg.com/55...d3a0195264.jpg

    Anyone know of good free software for laying this stuff out-- something easy to use?

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