The Precautionary Reason Your Laundry Room Floor Should Be Sloped

If you're renovating your laundry room, one thing many people don't realize is that the floor should be sloped and have a drain. A myriad of maladies could cause flooding or water damage, from leaky pipes to a malfunctioning washer. If you have a sloped floor with a drain, no water will sit on the floor in case of an emergency. This is especially critical with second-floor laundry rooms, which are known to cause particularly devastating damage if they flood –  imagine the washing machine falling through the floor!

Pipes are known to burst or spring leaks, often causing water damage before you even notice it. If the drain hose is not firmly attached to the washer it can come loose from vibration and cause flooding. Moreover, washing machines are notorious for breaking down and overflowing under certain conditions. For example, with front-loading machines, the door seal can lose its suction, causing water to leak out onto the floor. Overflowing can happen when you overload the washer. Additionally, using too much soap can cause a buildup that clogs the machine and causes it to overflow.

How to slope the floor

Sloping the laundry room floor to a drain will protect you from water damage in case of flooding in a room where that danger is high. The right slope will be a minimum of 1/4 inch per linear foot of floor space. To achieve this, you would measure from the top of the drain to the outer edge of the room. Meaning, if there are four feet of floor space between the drain and the wall, your floor should ideally be one inch higher at the outer edges.

The idea is to slope the floor by building it up at an angle from the edge to the drain. Generally, this is done when the house is first being built and is a major undertaking if the slab is already poured without one. If you are renovating your laundry room and wish to incorporate a sloped floor it will require adding concrete to the existing floor to build it up to the desired level. After creating the slope the floor can be tiled to ensure its durability and water resistance. This is an ambitious DIY project, which is why most people choose to hire a contractor.

Additional considerations

A sloped floor always leads to a floor drain, which can be hooked up to either a sewer system or a septic tank, but is not recommended for a sump pump. If you're concerned about laying tile onto a sloped floor, if done right, the angle is barely noticeable. You might have to do some fancier design work near the drain, but working from that point outwards will make it easier. Ceramic tile is a great choice and is available in a range of finishes to suit your particular room design.

Although a sloped floor and drain are not required by law for most residential homes, it makes a strong selling point for those that do. After all, in a room prone to accidental flooding, why not take the necessary measures to protect it? Installing the correct slope and floor drain in your laundry room is the smartest way to avoid what potentially could cost thousands of dollars in damage — just keep in mind this is a renovation project for a pro.