Top 5 Questions for the Laundry Room
What to upgrade now - and what you can do later - from a Custom Home Builder
You can save money and build your new home the way you want it - by adding some of the final details later.
Here are the top 5 questions that will help you decide what's a must and what can wait - along with a custom home builder's suggestions and tips.
What type of flooring works best for the Laundry Room?
Are you looking for shelving, cabinetry, countertop space, or all of the above?
3. Washer and dryer
What types of appliances do you have in mind?
4. Laundry Sink
Is a laundry sink important?
What about organization and drop zones?
How To Save Money in the Laundry Room - New Home Trends and Ideas
Smart home building tips
Why some things need to be upgraded now: Some features will cost a lot more later. Others might be impossible without totally ripping the house apart to make structural changes.
How some options can be upgraded later: With proper planning, homes can be constructed so that additional features can be added, changed or embellished later - as long as they don't involve structural changes, and the floor plan allows enough space.
The two most common kinds of flooring in the Laundry Room are ceramic tile or vinyl flooring. Before making a flooring decision, consider the kinds of flooring closest to this room - what is right outside the doorway? You'll want to coordinate with the feel of the surrounding rooms.
A laundry room is usually on the smaller side, ranging anywhere from 6'x8' to 8'x10', in most homes. Thus you'll likely have somewhere between 48 and 80 square feet of flooring surface, plus any "waste factor" that must be added for material cuts. So it might be a little easier to "splurge" on an upgraded or unique tile in this room, but you might also want to consider upgrading your guest bath instead.
Our standard package includes cabinets over the washer and dryer, but not all builders offer that kind of storage - it's fairly common to just see a ventilated wire shelf here. Cabinets over the washer and dryer can be great for storage of cleaning supplies, paper goods, and other household items. If you're planning to add cabinets later, make sure the wall space will accommodate a standard cabinet size - a semi-custom or stock cabinet is a lot less expensive than something custom-built for the space.
For a larger laundry room, you may want to consider additional storage. A closet can be less expensive than a full height furniture grade utility cabinet, and can offer more storage options. A closet that's large enough for both a full set of shelves AND the vacuum, brooms, and other tall items can be very handy.
3. Washer and Dryer
Find out if your builder provides gas or electric hook ups for the dryer. If you already have appliances, it could be expensive to add the "alternate" hook up later. Be sure to specify which kind of hook ups you require.
For nearly everyone, the washer goes on the left and the dryer on the right. Your builder should have the washer and dryer hookups prepared for this. If you prefer something different, let the builder know at rough-in stage, as it can be expensive to change this later.
For the appliances themselves, consider Energy Star labeled and front-loading, water saving washers. There have been significant advances in both washers and dryers over the past couple of years, and the utility and water savings really add up over time.
4. Laundry Sink
Laundry sinks can be convenient, especially if the laundry room is right off the garage.
If you're even considering adding one later, ask your builder to "rough plumb" to the laundry room, so that you don't have to open the walls later to have a plumber add an extension to the laundry room.
A free-standing laundry sink is much more cost effective than a cabinet/countertop/sink combination, and you can always add a full cabinetry package later, as long as the "guts" are in place.
Larger laundry rooms can include a "mudroom" concept. Built in storage can be handy and appealing, and "drop zones" can be custom designed or purchased through cabinetry companies.
If the budget is tight upfront, talk to the builder about creating a wall or alcove space that can accommodate a standard size locker set, which you can personally add later. A 4 foot or 6 foot section of wall can be planned for future inclusion of shoe racks, storage cubbys, coat hooks, and much more.
Staying in Budget - and leaving room for future changes
Talk to your builder about your lifestyle, and let him help guide your choices, from layout through amenities.
Ask your builder if they will allow you to take a second look at all your choices before making a final decision, and make sure they walk through each one of these features and any others you're considering so you know just what you're paying for - and what you really don't need to come up with until later.
Room-by-room: Smart building choices that help you stay on budget.
Watch for upcoming articles - and learn what's smart to "upgrade" in your new home, while keeping your overall budget in line.