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How to Install a Laundry Chute

You'll love the convenience of a laundry chute

laundry chute doorFamily Handyman
You'll love the convenience of a laundry chute. It'll save you time and energy with fewer trips up and down stairs. We show you how to find a wall location and install one.

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Time
Multiple Days
Complexity
Beginner
Cost
$51–100

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 2×4 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 door 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 laundry 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.

Photo 3: Repair the wall and mount the door

Install the laundry chute door after patching and painting the drywall. Make sure at least two sides of the laundry door frame are screwed to the underlying 2x4s. Perch a laundry basket on a table or the floor at the bottom of the chute.

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.

CAUTION!

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.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Drill bit set
  • Drill/driver - cordless
  • Drywall saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Tape measure
  • Taping knife
  • Tin snips
  • Utility knife

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Drywall
  • Drywall compound
  • Drywall tape
  • Duct tape
  • Laundry chute door
  • Metal duct
  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Sandpaper
  • Sheet metal screws