With the popularity of 1st and 2nd floor laundry rooms comes a new problem. Because the upper floors are less rigid than lower floors there tend to be vibration problems when a washing machine is used. This vibration can be severe and because sleeping areas are normally upstairs they can be quite disconcerting. The popularity of front loading washers adds to the problem because they spin at twice the speed of the older top loaders. Also, the spin force is horizontal so the floor receives more of that force.
In new homes the problem could be addressed at the early planning states by reinforcing the laundry room floor. Because this adds to the construction costs, most builders and architects are reluctant to do this.
After the house is built if the bottom of the laundry room floor is accessible the space between the floor joists and directly below the washer can be shored using wood to make the area more rigid. If this isn’t possible a 4′x4′ cement board or thicker plywood can be placed under the washer to make it stable.
The easiest way for a consumer to address the issue is to make considerations when shopping for a new washing machine.
If the laundry room floor’s rigidity is suspect there are top loading washing machines that now use the same amount or slightly more water than the efficient front loaders. These new washers don’t have transmissions. They use direct drive motors that use magnetism to agitate and spin the tub.
This is not new technology. Domestic manufacturers have “adapted” the direct drive into their units from foreign appliance manufacturers. This is good news for the consumer. These washers have fewer than a dozen moving parts so there are less repairs. They are quieter because of the lack of a transmission, gearcase or belts. This makes a world of difference on a 1st or 2nd floor laundry.