Walk into your typical Canadian household laundry room and you’re likely to find a high-efficiency (HE) front-loading washing machine. It only seems fitting these laundry station spaces be used in a similarly efficient way, which leads us to a great intermediate DIY opportunity—a laundry room countertop! Let’s run through key considerations, steps, and hacks that’ll get you all set up to build and install your own beautifully functional laundry counter.
Using your machine tops as a make-shift counter may be fine for the short term, but a purpose-built countertop ensures more space and stability–so you can avoid items vibrating off during wash cycles. A countertop provides a sturdy surface to separate, fold, and steam your laundry without having to transport it around the house first.
Evaluate and measure your space
First thing you have to do is analyze the location of your machines. If they’re in a closet or recess, you’ll only need to install cleats (wall supports) for the countertop to sit on. When dealing with open space on one or both sides, you’ll likely need to use vertical cleats attach gables (vertical counter supports).
Measure the width and depth of your space and, for those needing upright supports, measure the height to about one or two inches above the machines to give proper clearance. Make sure your side cleat measurements don’t quite reach where the edge of the counter will be so they can remain hidden, unless you decide to stain or paint them.
Start a shopping list
You can keep this project as simple or complex as you like with many different options for types of countertops, but here are the materials you’ll need for a basic plywood laundry room countertop:
- 8’ length of 2’x2’ pine board to use for cleats (get two if you need to place gables on either end of the machines);
- 4”x8”x¾” plywood board (If cost economy is your goal, this will be the best material to use. Get two of these if you need to install gables for support);
- L-brackets (two, or four depending on if you need to install one or two gables);
- ½” wood screws (to attach the L-brackets to the gables and countertop);
- wood filler (if you need to install gables);
- sanding block;
- medium grit sandpaper (100-150 grit);
- fine grit sandpaper (180-220 grit);
- wood stain;
- wood finish;
- stain brushes or sponges;
- tape measure;
- 3” wood screws (to attach the cleats to the wall);
- stud finder;
- level (a laser level works great for lining up your pilot holes, but a manual one will also work);
- drill with drill bits (for pilot holes);
- drill driver bits; and
- a table or circular saw.
If you’re feeling adventurous, substitute plywood for another type of wood, medium-density fibre (MDF) board, premade laminate countertop, granite or marble. For the latter two choices, you’ll have to place a special order for the materials so they can be pre-cut to the required size.
Make your cuts
If you have your own table or circular saw, you can manage this step easily. If you don’t, make sure your cuts are pre-determined and have your lumber prepared for you at a local building centre before returning home.
Based on your measurements of the space, cut your cleats, gables, and countertop to size. If you do need gables, make sure their height brings them flush with the cleats as the counter will sit on top.
Sand, stain, and finish
Using medium grit sandpaper and a sanding block, smooth over any rough patches on your countertop (and gables if needed) for an even surface. Use fine grit paper after to further smooth in preparation for stain and finish.
Remove any excess dust and apply your stain. When it’s dry, give it a once-over with the fine grit paper, then apply two coats of varnish for a smooth, shiny surface, allowing it to dry between coats.
Install your cleats and gables
First, mark out where your cleats will sit using a level for accuracy, then mark out studs with a stud finder. When using a laser level, you can start with a stud finder and place the level where your first stud is, then mark each stud along the laser’s line.
If you need to install a gable or two, then you’ll need to install vertical cleats for attaching the gable(s). Mark on the cleats where pilot holes should be so they line up with your stud holes.
Once pilot hole locations are marked, drill pilot holes in both the wall and cleats, then affix them to the wall using your 3” wood screws. If you’re relying on gables, drill pilot holes into the boards and cleats and install them using the 2” screws.
Note: if you don’t have at least two solid studs to affix your cleats to, use drywall anchor screws in place of wood screws. Make sure they’re rated for the weight they’ll be holding.
Apply your countertop
Once the gables are installed, it’s time to put the countertop onto your assembly. It will sit on top of the cleats and gables, for a nice snug fit with little-to-no space for shifting. The best part of this method is the countertop can be removed in the event you need quick access to the back of your washer and dryer—like if you need to shut the water off in a hurry.
An important note about gables: If you need to install gables, then affix the countertop to the gables using L-brackets and the ½ inch screws—don’t forget pilot holes to prevent splits. Then using the wood filler, cover over the screw holes.
In this case, since the countertop is not as mobile without detaching the vertical cleats, you can hack the design by cutting a strip from the back of the countertop as shown in the video below. This will give you easy access to your water shutoff valves.
If you want to take this project to the next level, consider adding a wash sink, which is perfect for rinsing stains or caked-on mud prior to washing. If you have the space on either side of your machines, floor-level cabinets also make a handy addition, especially if you don’t have overhead cabinet space.
You could also include sets of plastic drawers on top of your new counter, where you can store detergent, dryer sheets, and other laundry necessities. Or, get into the current social media trends of storing products in clear jars or containers for a uniform, aesthetically pleasing look.
If there are cabinets above your washer and drawer, consider adding hooks underneath so you can hang certain pieces to air dry. Or, invest in some cabinet organizers so you can create designated for certain products and always know when you’re running low.
This is a really fun project, especially if you like to think outside the box; this space is yours to elevate!. Having an all-in-one area for your laundry needs will streamline laundry day, and make it feel like less of a chore.
Courtesy: realtor.caPosted by Infinity Admin on