A good while back we asked for advice about laundry chute dimensions. That question wasn't just theoretical...the time has finally come!
One of the conveniences we've wanted to add as we renovate our craftsman bungalow. (Jeannie already pulled out her back once hauling laundry to the basement.) And while it's nearly impossible to find a perfect place for a chute in an old home, we found a pretty good compromise.
|First Floor||Second Floor|
This location will allow us to access the chute near each bathroom and most of the bedrooms. It did mean losing half of a small hall closet, but this seemed to be a reasonable trade-off compared to other options.
Read on for an overview of how we started the project.
Our Approach--Building the Chute
After considering our options, we decided to build our chute with melamine, a plastic-faced particle board commonly used for shelving. The material is extremely smooth--a perfect surface for allowing clothes to drop down without any resistance. (As an aside , metal ductwork is another common choice you may want to consider--it's less sturdy but works in smaller spaces.)
The total height of our chute will be 16 feet from top to bottom. (They'll be doors for the chute on both floors and a trap door in the basement. This is critical for preventing the spread of fire...knock on wood.) The floor joists allow for a chute that is approximately 12 1/2" wide, while the depth of the chute will be about 11". Overall, it should be pretty generous in size.
My first task was trimming the melamine to fit between the floor joists. I picked up a new carbide blade for the saw--melamine easily shows chips where the blade exits the cut so a clean sharp blade is a must.
For a clean look, I decided to assemble the chute box using a dowel kit--all the fastners will be invisible when finished, unlike nails or screws. i picked up a 1/4" kit for a couple of bucks, which included dowel centers, a brad point drill bit, a rubber depth stop collar, and plenty of wooden dowels. The depth stop collar went over the bit as a marker to prevent drilling too deep into the boards.
After some quick work with the dowel centers, I'd made four holes for each joint and glued each dowel in place.
I also ran a bead of glue (I used Gorilla Glue) all along each joint. Then it was time to assemble the box. Clamps held the joints together firmly, which I let set for the night...
The cut-out on the top board is for the door in the closet on the first floor. I'm assembling a second box that will rest on top of the first at that point and go the rest of the distance to the second floor.
Next, I'll be cutting access holes through each floor and putting the chute boxes in place. More to come...