Doing laundry is just another of life’s chores. So, if you have a way to make laundry day easier, less strenuous, and even safer, you just might leap at the opportunity.
A laundry chute is a great convenience in any home, especially in multi-level homes where carrying bins downstairs can be a hazard. Having a chute that whisks dirty laundry downstairs or laterally means less work when doing laundry. Plus, you’ll have a tidier living space on days you’re not doing laundry.
Types of Laundry Chutes
Lateral Laundry Chute (Room to Room)
A lateral laundry chute moves the laundry sideways, from room to room.
A lateral chute is located on a wall shared with the laundry room. The laundry passes sideways through an access door (possibly placed in a closet), ending up in a basket or bin on the other side of the wall.
Multi-Story Laundry Chute (Floor to Floor)
A multi-story laundry chute passes laundry vertically from one floor to another floor below it.
An in-wall chute drops laundry through the wall itself. A metal heating duct 3 1/4-inches thick fits in the wall cavity for smoother movement of the clothing.
In-wall chutes are sleek, taking up little space and easily fitting into any room. But the narrow chute means that larger clothing and bedding will not pass through the chute.
A third type, an exposed laundry chute, drops laundry through a hole in the floor. The 14 1/2-inch space between floor joists provides ample room for a large chute. While exposed chutes are usually butted up against a wall, they do take up valuable floor space. Also, since they are exposed, they should be covered to help them blend in with the room decor and prevent anything being dropped down them accidentally. A small cabinet usually helps hide the exposed chute.
Where to Locate a Laundry Chute
The laundry chute should be above or adjacent to the laundry room. The chute should be in or against an interior wall that runs parallel to the floor joists.
A laundry chute located in a hallway is a central, communal location that allows multiple residents to use it. A laundry chute in a bedroom is more private, intended mostly for those who use the bedroom.
Best Time to Install a Laundry Chute
Installing a laundry chute requires you to cut into the wall or flooring. If you’re substantially remodeling bedrooms or building a laundry room, it’s best to add the laundry chute during the framing phase—while wall studs are open and exposed, but before the drywall has been installed.
Codes and Permitting
A building permit may be required to install a laundry chute. Consult with your local building authority for code requirements and permitting. Section 713 of the International Building Code (IBC) requires linen chutes to have 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction and all opening protectives (access doors) also to have 1-hour fire resistance, among other requirements.
If you have small children, a laundry chute can be unsafe. Though you can take precautions to keep your children as safe as possible, the novelty of a laundry chute can motivate children to find ways to circumvent your safety precautions.
If you do need to take precautions for children, take a cue from the staircase building code, which specifies minimum guardrail height for landings. Place your access door no lower than 36 inches above the floor. Using a child-safe lock for the access door is another safety precaution.
Source: The Spruce