Stacking the washer and dryer can save valuable floor space in a small bathroom or laundry room. Some models are made to stack with each other, while other models might require a stacking kit to make sure weight is distributed properly. If your laundry space is shared, you may want to consider building a cabinet around the stack to hide the appliances. This gives the area a much neater feeling and can help dampen the noise of the machines somewhat.
Getting Started With the Project
The first thing you'll want to do is measure the dimensions of the washer-dryer stack. Carefully determine the length, width and height of the stack. Examine the user manuals and the current setup to make sure all connections are spaced properly.
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Washers and dryers may need a certain amount of clearance around them to keep from overheating; you'll also want to make sure the connections through the wall are in the right places and aren't under tension or kinked. This can require a good bit of planning and designing, but once the washer-dryer stack has been installed, you can measure the correct spacing around the stack for the initial dimensions of the cabinet.
Review Manufacturer Guidelines and Codes
Check the manufacturer's manual and local codes to make sure you leave enough space for electrical, water and exhaust lines. There may be rules or standards you'll have to meet with these utilities. If you aren't familiar with the work that would go into upholding these standards, you should contact a professional.
Also, consider access to these lines in case of a malfunction or break; you'll want to design a system that works with you. Do the electrical lines go into the wall at the back of the stack, or do they come out to the side?
You may want access holes in the sides of the cabinet; measure and plan accordingly. Also, keep in mind that the dryer may need extra clearance to keep airflow around it. Check the manual for installation instructions.
Designing the Cabinet
To design the cabinet, you'll have to decide whether you want the cabinet to go all the way from floor to ceiling or whether the cabinet will require a top piece to go over the stack. This is mostly personal preference but can also depend on the placement of the washer-dryer stack and the wall studs.
Also, include the type of door you want in the design: a simple plywood door on hinges, a more stylish double door or a door that slides into the cabinet and out of the way? Each of these will require a different cabinet design. If you've never done this work before, you'll want to check with a professional as you go.
Framing the Cabinet
Once you have the design, start with the framing. Be sure to wear eye protection whenever working with saws, sandpaper and lumber. You may need to build a frame that attaches to studs in the walls, ceiling and/or floor, depending on the model. If so, measure and cut lumber to put this support in place.
If support already exists or isn't necessary, start by putting the two plywood walls into place, as per the measurements, along with a top or bottom piece if indicated by the design. Secure the sides; then install whatever type of door you've chosen as per manufacturer's instructions. Constructing the cabinet is actually simple woodworking, if you've put the effort into the design.