building a laundry chute

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Hi,
I am looking to construct a laundry chute in our closet. I was originally going to use large diameter pvc pipe but found it prohibitively expensive. I also looked into sheet metal ducting but it didn't seem stable enough and too many places for clothes to snag. So I am going to build it out of 2 x 4's and drywall. It will be about 12" square. I was going to place a side hinged door with a handle on the wall outside the closet for access. And I may or may not place a metal or plastic plate on the ceiling down in the basement attached with spring hinges to cover the hole from the chute. The hole in the ceiling will end up around 2 feet from the wall with the clothes dropping into a large basket sitting on a cart with casters I will also be building.
I was wondering if I could get away with using 1 x 3's instead of the 2 x 4's. Also if anyone could take a look at my proposed plans and comment/advise that would be greatly appreciated!
http://patmedia.net/marklevinson/plans/laundrychute.htm
Thanks,
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

--
My dad built one about 40 years ago. Laundry was in the basement right
underneath the bathroom. Small linen closet next to the bathroom
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Check your local building code. Laundry chutes are considered something of a fire hazardand may not be allowed.
--
~ Stay Calm... Be Brave... Wait for the Signs ~
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I'll add a second note of caution. Adding a laundry chute between floors will allow a fire in your basement to spread almost immediately to all levels of your house. If you had a fire in your dryer from lint backup, you could burn down the entire house pretty quickly.
I don't know much about building codes, but I know that there are pretty strict rules about opening a 'chase' between floors.
If you do move forward with the laundry chute, I'd recommend putting relatively air tight, fire resistant 'doors' at both the top and the bottom of the chute. The bottom door could be spring loaded, or preferably you could open it manually. You could let the dirty clothes pile up inside the chute instead of on the basement floor.
wrote:

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you
So does you stairway. Better seal it off immediately.

Not in residential building.

bottom
Oh come on. Is there nothing that doesn't bring the alarmists out in this group? Not to be offensive Chuck, (and I apologize if my tone sounds offensive), but this type of suggestion just defies normal everyday life. Look hard enough and you can find boogy men lurking under any bed in America...
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-Mike-
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Mike,

My brother-in-law built a new house a few years back and they required him to install fire doors at the top and bottom of his laundry chute. They also made him install a fire sprinkler system in his house, and improve the road coming in so firetrucks could get in. They took fire safety very seriously there (Cowlitz County, Washington).
Unfortunately, just as they completed their house we had extremely heavy rains and their new house (and dozens of others) was destroyed in a landslide...
We built our own house last year (Clark County, Washington) and my inspector was also quite serious about fire safety. We didn't have a laundry chute (single story home) or have to install a sprinkler system, but they were very attentive to fire blocking and sealing off all passages where fire could travel.
Anthony
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also
road
I'm glad I put a disclaimer in one of my other posts Anthony, which allowed me the escape necessary for this type of exception. That's an aggressive building code, and (thankfully...) not what is common across the country. That's taking safety to a rediculous level, though I can see the sense in improving a driveway so that fire trucks can get up it - assuming it's too long to drag hose. That should have fallen in the category of common sense.
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-Mike-
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Mike,

I was thankful we didn't have to install a sprinkler system, but otherwise the requirements were very easy to implement. Most of it used scraps for blocking and whatnot anyway, so there was virtually no cost involved. In the overall house building process, the few requirements for fire safety were simple, and it's nice to know it's done properly.
Complying with seismic and ventilation requirements was a bigger hassle than the fire safety issues, though in retrospect, even those were fairly simple to implement. And again, I'm glad it's built that way now...
Anthony
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wrote:

Holy cow - where do you live? This is a new one on me, but there are enough parts of the country with wierd codes, that nothing surprises me anymore.
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-Mike-
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It sounds plausible, but I've seen new construction with laundry chutes, so it is not universal. However, all the ones I've seen have been metal and it's also possible that metal is required to allow for burn-time requirements to make it legal. I doubt it is a restiction, but it's worth looking into.
Mike
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something
are enough

anymore.
Here in our part of Minnesota you pretty much can't build laundry chutes anymore...a local inspector might let you if there were fire doors on each floor, but I've heard of cases where even designs like that were stopped. Check the local codes/practice before you start.
That said, our chute (our house was built in 1958) is just sheet metal ducting, like you'd use for a cold air return, with a hinged door at top. At the bottom it just opens into a hamper. Since this was installed during construction it was simple and works well. Retofitting might be more of a puzzle, unless you wanted to open the walls.
-kiwanda
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When I read about codes like this, it just makes me all the more glad to live in New York where we aren't bound by a lot of the codes that don't really serve a huge purpose. Of course we pay for that "freedom" in the amount of taxes we pay. There's always a tradeoff...
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Sheet metal should be fine if installed correctly. That's what we had installed when we built out house six years ago. And with three kids and tons of usage there has not been a single snag. If you happen to use your chute as much as our family does I could foresee wear and tear that might eventually wear the outer layer of the drywall. So, you might get a pile of dust along with the rest of the stuff you throw down there. Plus, wet stuff like rags might also add to quicker wear. Just my $.02, but I would reconsider the sheet metal option.
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My parents have used a laundry chute made of rectangular sheet metal ducting for years, between two studs in the wall (therefore only 3 or 4 inches deep), and it's worked fine. No problem with clothes snagging. If you'd rather use wood, I don't know why 1x3's wouldn't work - it shouldn't take a lot of abuse, right? Also, if I understand your plans correctly, it looks like the frame extends all the way to the floor of the basement? My parent's chute just extends a few feet through the basement ceiling, and the clothes obviously fall straight down from there; no need for a longer chute. Good luck, Andy
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

Check with your local fire dept. Codes may not allow chutes where they span two or more floors.
scott

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I've got a two story laundry shoot that sounds like it's very similar to what you're considering except mine dumps into a cabinet I built in the basement laundry room - makes for a clean scene. You can go as light duty as you want for a laundry shoot - it's very non-structural. Mine uses 2x2's for framing and 1/4" plywood inside. You could build it with nothing more than one-by framing if you have scrap around that you can cut up into "studs", since there is really no force exerted on a laundry shoot. No sense overbuilding a simple project like this.
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Thanks Mike and everyone for your replies and suggestions. I feel pretty confident that the spring loaded steel plate on the bottom I was planning will keep that fire at bay. ;>)
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On 16 Jun 2005 09:37:06 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Sonotube
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is cardboard, no?
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In a 4000+ ft2 custom home the basic laundry chute was constructed with melamine. Seemed like a good choice based upon wear and non-snag issues.
And, yes I have heard about the fire issue/code.
Bart
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