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Laundry chute

jyang949's picture

I have never seen a laundry chute in new construction. Assuming it is designed so a toddler can't get into it, is a laundry chute unsafe?

Would it be considered a fire hazard, allowing fire to spread between floors?

I have considered installing a chute, but never did so because I'd rather move the laundry up to the second floor. After all, that's where the laundry accumulates.


(post #78161, reply #1 of 13)

I've seen some laundry chutes in permitted/inspected projects, so I know they're not categorically verboten in residential usage, at least.

The ones I saw were either metal duct or were a chase that was lined with one (maybe two) layers of rock.  This was probably to address fire code issues, as you alluded to.

(post #78161, reply #3 of 13)

I wasn't thinking about the chute being flammable, but about convection. Would the chute act the same way as a charcoal starter, or does the hatch prevent this?

I just remembered that every dormitory and apartment house I've lived in has had a garbage chute. The hatch always slammed shut very tightly. I had assumed it was that way to keep odors from spreading, but perhaps it was to prevent convection currents.


(post #78161, reply #4 of 13)

Garbage chutes in dormitories, or other multiple residence buildings, penetrate the fire separation between different occupancies. That's why they need to have the same fire rating as the party walls.

Within house there is no requirement for fire separation between stories, as it would be impractical with stairs and double height spaces that commonly connect the two levels anyway.

That being said, many places require fire blocking in concealed spaces to prevent the spread of flames. You should check with your inspector, and you might want to check some of the old discussion threads on this topic. I remember some really good advice on how to build the chutes.

(post #78161, reply #2 of 13)

Mine are concrete board lined 2x6 16 OC stud cavities with steel doors (self fabricated)

4 ft off the floor.  The 4& 6 YO grandkids love to empty the clothes out and then go put empty 1/2 gal palstic milk jugs in from the 2nd floor till it is full then go in the basement and spring the latch!

(post #78161, reply #5 of 13)

My childhood home, built in 1956, had a laundry chute.  It went from the vestibule of the bathroom to the basement.  The hatch was spring loaded and restricted air movement, but both the main floor and the basement were finished and heated, so it really didn't matter much.  The chute was just galvanized duct.

For some reason I wasn't tempted to slide down it.  It was fairly high on the wall (about 4 feet, which was high for a kid).  It would not have been all that hazardous to drop through, probably some scrapes.

(post #78161, reply #6 of 13)

My Parent's house built in 1959 had a laundry shute from the 3rd floor to the basement. Why would anyone want to drag laundry up and down steps?

I started putting laundry rooms near the bedrooms in multi-story homes over 25 years ago. The plumbing is there. The dirty clothes/linens are there. The washer and dryer should be there.

I have worked in some homes that have a laundry room off of the garage. Seems to me that should be a cloak room/pantry and put a full size stack W/D in the bedroom area. If it is a splt plan, put in 2 stacked W/D's.


Chuck S

live, work, build, ...better with wood

Edited 6/16/2007 10:01 pm ET by stevent1

live, work, build, ...better with wood

(post #78161, reply #7 of 13)

My Parent's house built in 1959 had a laundry shute from the 3rd floor to the basement. Why would anyone want to drag laundry up and down steps?

How do you get the laundry back up the chute?  :(

(post #78161, reply #8 of 13)

It's called children<G>.

Who's MY daddy? FRANKIE's my daddy!!

Thanksgiving - a holiday for side dishes.

(post #78161, reply #10 of 13)


Get a 450 pound hoist from Harbor freight, and build a powered dumb-waiter. Then you don't even have to pull on the rope.

Fight fire with water.


It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...

(post #78161, reply #12 of 13)

Cloud had a cool one in his last dome...neato thing.  

(post #78161, reply #9 of 13)

Got one in my yet-to-be-completed house, and I've seen other new construction that has them as well.  No guff from the inspectors here.  The interior was constructed from galvanized sheet metal, and in my house drops into a cabinet in the 1st-floor laundry.


(post #78161, reply #11 of 13)

We put one in our new house. The upper floor portion includes two doors, one from the hall and one from a bedroom. Because we're not even close to finishing the interior we just screwed ply over the openings so kids can fall in. No issues with inspection. They will eventually have proper doors; I'm thinking about 'icebox' latches. If you're interested I can send you a copy of our plans.


Always remember those first immortal words that Adam said to Eve, “You’d better stand back, I don’t know how big this thing’s going to get.”

(post #78161, reply #13 of 13)

So what do you do with the laundry from the third floor?


the two laundry shutes that I built dump into a wal cabiet above the washer. That way the person laundering does not need to stoop and bend to pick back up again and if a cchild were to fall into the chute from above, there would be a short angled slide less than many playground slides before landing in the cabinet



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