The new laundry chute!

Hey hey! How are YOU? And you? :)

I’m back with a project I’m SO SO SO excited about!! You may remember that as a part of our basement finishing process, we decided to move the washer and dryer to the basement.

I know, some people think I’m a little cray cray for doing it. I get it. I talked about our reasoning here. And let me tell you, I am counting down the DAYS till it gets moved down there. It will be the best. day. ever.

Anyhoo, one thing I wanted to do if we were moving the washer and dryer down a level was to install a laundry chute -- we made that part of the “finishing plan.” Laundry chutes are kind of like basements for me – I just think they are the coolest. At first I thought there was no way we could do one in our house, but when we decided to finish the basement, I started to really think about where we could put one.

I did some sleuthing for a few weeks – a lot of walking up and down the steps, taking measurements, figuring our where things were. At first I thought we could put a chute down from the floor in our master closet. Then it was the upstairs bathroom linen closet, but I realized a while later that I was waaay off in my measurements.

So I sat on it some more and finally figured it out. The idea only came to me because a former decorating client of mine did just the same thing – she had a chute installed in the bottom of a bathroom vanity.

And the day I figured out we could do the same, I did a happy happy dance of JOY! JOY! (Name that cartoon.) The start of our laundry chute is at the very right, under the vanity in our bathroom:

maple bathroom cabinets

I didn’t get a pic of the inside because I ran out of daylight and our bathroom has horrible lighting. Anyway, that’s where it starts.

It goes down through our powder room closet, and then into the basement. Now I thought about doing this myself, but I’ve never cut through floors before (egads!) and didn’t have the tools to do so. I was also scared to death of cutting into something major, like electrical, plumbing, whatever.

So I asked the guys who have done all our basement work if they were interested and if they thought they could do it. They were all into it and then came up with a brilliant plan to make it happen.

I have to say, these guys have been around a ton over the past seven months and we get along awesome. It was SO fun to see them so excited about this project. They were practically giddy with their idea.

And that idea was, instead of framing out a chute and then building it up with walls (that would have to be ultra smooth – metal or sheeting or laminate, but nothing that has any rough edges so it would grab clothes – they were going to use PVC pipe.

Like this:

Thing is, the original plan I had thought up was going to require them to rebuild our linen closet in the powder room off to the side (long story, but the chute was going to take up a ton of room). This idea made it so they could run it through the closet, build new shelves around it and we’d save the cost of building a new linen closet.

The pipe is not cheap – I think it was $20 a foot? So we paid a bit more in materials, but a lot less in labor. Especially since no new closet was needed.

We ran into a snag going up in the bathroom upstairs (hit a water pipe) that they had to rework, and then going down, we were too far over into the basement. The clothes would have landed on a cement wall and studs in the basement.

But they guys came up with a solution, and that was to get fittings that curved the pipe, so it landed in an open spot into the basement. It was only a few inches over but it was PERFECT:

DIY laundry chute laundry chute pvc pipe

You can see that they were able to rebuild the shelving in there (done the same way I built the new shelves for the pantry) so I am still able to get necessities into that closet:

pvc pipe laundry chute

I did a bit of a purge, so even though I lost about half of the storage, I still only had to move a couple baskets down to the basement. And eventually we’ll have mud room storage, so I’ll be able to use that if I want to keep the stuff upstairs.

I still need to fill holes in the closet walls (from the old wire shelves), paint the wood shelves, and I may even paint the pipe. I wonder if paint would stick? How funny would it be to make it a fun color or something?

I think it is hilarious when I open this door now and see this huge sewer pipe. HILARIOUS. It just make me giggle uncontrollably. Seriously.

The chute ends in the basement and the guys made a little box with a door:

I’ll fill the holes, caulk and paint it and you won’t even notice it!

They used latches to keep the door secure:

And it works! The pipe is wide enough I can send towels or even throw rugs down no problem. The great thing is the inside is a smooth as a babes bottom, so everything sails right through, even with the little angle. Nothing for anything to get caught on!

There’s a few things I want to add, just for safety reasons. Some consider laundry chutes to be a safety concern when it comes to fires – if a fire started in the basement, it would have a straight shot upstairs. But from my research online and talking to folks, the same could be said for staircases, so opinions vary on that.

To be safe, I’m going to order a fire safe metal door to go in the basement (instead of the wood door). I’m also considering using some of the leftover PVC pipe and extending the chute down a bit more into room, then framing that out, so it’s closer to the floor.

If you have young kids, there’s things to think about, obviously. I’ve heard some stories about things and people (??) heading down chutes! Our kiddo is too big to fit in this of course, and he’s just not the type that would try to actually go down the thing. But just to be safe (with smaller kids in the house occasionally) I plan to put a child lock on that bathroom vanity door. The guys made a lid for the chute, and I’m going to install a lock on it so only we can get the lid off.

I cannot tell you how WICKED COOL this thing is!! We are just tickled by it. :) It’s got me soooo ready to get that laundry room going – so hopefully I’ll have more to share on that soon!!

So did you have a laundry chute growing up? Or have one now? Any fun stories to tell? :) My grandparents have one and I always thought it was just the coolest thing. I would open it up just to look down into the basement every chance I got – just because I could. ;)