Step 1: Find a suitable wall without obstructions
Photo 1: Open the wall
Open the wall for the chute by carefully removing the baseboard then using a utility knife to cut out a chunk of drywall 42 in. high down the center of each stud. Use a reciprocating saw or handsaw to cut out the base plate between the studs. Work the plate out carefully; the drywall and the trim on the opposite side might be nailed to it. Then cut a hole through the plywood floor for the duct to slide through. At the top of the cutout, install a 2x4 piece of blocking between the studs as a nailing surface for the frame of the laundry door.
If you live in a house without a clothes chute, you're probably sick and tired of running up and down the stairs from your bedrooms and bathrooms to your laundry room, toting baskets of dirty clothes and towels. If you can find a suitable location, consider a laundry chute!
Installing a laundry chute can be a breeze if you have an unobstructed path between the two floors—or impossible if you encounter wires, plumbing or other obstacles.
The best place for a chute is often a hallway. The job is easier if the wall runs parallel to the floor joists or the studs in the wall are “stacked” directly on top of the floor joists below. Use a stud finder to locate two studs, then bore a small exploratory hole to check for obstructions.
Step 2: Install the metal duct
Photo 2: Assemble and insert the duct
Snap the rectangular duct pieces together and use metal-cutting snips to expand the opening in the 90-degree elbow so it's just slightly smaller than your laundry door opening. Trim and fold over the opening flap that you cut, then install the chute. Using sheet metal screws, attach the duct to your top blocking and the studs on each side. Duct-tape the joint between the two pieces on the inside and on the edges of all openings so clothes won't snag on sharp edges.
To make the chute, use ordinary 3-1/4 in. x 12- or 14-in. galvanized heating duct. You'll also need a 90-degree elbow with a 6-in. register opening and a preassembled laundry chute door. These materials are available in the plumbing and heating sections at most lumberyards and home centers.
Some communities have strict fire codes that prohibit or limit the installation of laundry chutes, especially those that are two stories tall and present an unobstructed pathway for smoke and fire to spread. Check with a local building inspector before starting the project.