Around Labor Day, we had construction begin to have the laundry room brought up from the unfinished basement to the second floor. When Matt and I were discussing it, I said I wanted it in the kitchen, Matt was convinced it could work on the second floor. Our contractor agreed that either location would be just fine, Matt won on a technicality that it would be more convenient, and construction began.
Here’s where I get pretty honest.
Our house was built in 2000 by Maronda homes. They aren’t known as super high quality homes. I’ve heard them to be described as built by match sticks, a tall trailer, and cheap. I’m not going to really disagree. After all the things I saw that our contractor had to fix because it was done wrong in the first place was atrocious.
That said, if my house was a solidly built home, this probably wouldn’t have been such a big issue, however, my house is not solidly built. There are times when the kids are running around the first floor that I feel like they’ll just fall through the floor. Sure, we put in hardwoods, so that’s no help, but seriously. When I found out that the subfloor is plywood and nothing more, I looked further into it. The plywood is the thinnest possible kind in order to pass inspection. That is fact. It’s considered structurally sound, but I often wonder for how long.
In the spring, we plan on finishing the basement. First thing that will be taken care of is the floors will be reinforced and sound proofed. I don’t care if that means the some day construction of my kitchen will be put off by another few years, I will have peace of mind.
Where am I going with all this, you ask?
My house was built out of match sticks, and having laundry on the second floor – a front loading machine mind you, is not smart.
Front loading washing machines use a different direction when they spin. In a nutshell, instead of having a horizontal spin, it spins vertically which puts all the force and vibrations into the floor. If you read very carefully in the owners manual, it recommends you only have them sit on concrete.
There’s 2x4s and plywood holding up my second floor. (Sarcasm? Maybe.) But when did I figure this out?
You guessed it! After it was all said and done and I was doing my third load of laundry.
One day I was sitting in my living room and I looked up. I noticed a dark line going perfectly straight half way across the room. Then a few days later, the other side of the wall had the crack starting to meet the other one in the middle.
Guess what happens when you put a front loader on the second floor of a house that had every single corner cut while building? Yup. Structural issues.
That’s when I googled it and found issue after issue of people suffering from the same thing. It was the vibrations that the machine put out while in spin cycle that was causing my house obvious pain. I tried dampening pads – ha, what a joke that is. I considered building a platform for it to sit on to absorb some of the impact. I stressed.
So much. I stressed SO. MUCH.
After putting up with it for a few weeks, Matt finally said enough is enough, and we put an ad on Craig’s List to sell the washer/dryer so we could buy a stacked washer/dryer with a normal washer. I protested, thinking there had to be a solution. Besides, regular washers get off balance all the time and go KA-THUNK KA-THUNK which wouldn’t be wonderful when I do laundry during nap time.
Now here’s where I tell you how the Washington Post saved us.
I found an article about this product called 0VIB (zero-vibe.) It was featured on consumer reports as a solid buy, and that it works by basically absorbing all the vibrations and pounding during the spin cycle. I sent Matt the article, the product information and a you tube video of basically how it works. And it was allowed to be used on a stacked system!
Seemed too good to be true.
Saturday I got home from a 5k I had raced, to find Matt already installing the platform. We got the washer/dryer all on and together, and ran a cycle of laundry to see if it would work.
When it cycled up to spin, it made the most awful rattling sound like our dryer was going to fall off and bust.
Matt threw his hands up, obviously frustrated because DARNIT! It didn’t work. It WAS too good to be true. He yelled about something, I said something smart back to him, and his mother (who was there helping with the kids during the race) looked uncomfortable.
While I fed Audrey and put her down, I read about how we needed to re-level the machine and to make sure that the dryer was super attached to the washer.
I let it go for the day since Matt and I were both tired of talking about the laundry room. Think about it, we spent thousands of dollars for a space that doesn’t work. It’s frustrating, sure, but it also made the pit of my stomach hurt. I could just feel the anxiety building.
The next morning we looked at it again. We leveled the machine, and then Matt realized that the back of the dryer wasn’t fully attached to the washer. Difficult as it was, we got it attached fully and Matt headed off to the Steelers game with his sister.
I ran a load of laundry.
Then I nearly cried from happiness.
It works, guys.
How does it work? You can see here:
It wobbles around, and then when it spins at full speed, it virtually stops moving, because it’s going so fast the machine balances. When it first kicks into spin mode, however, it bounces up and down (that’s where the awful rattling sound came from before when the dryer wasn’t fully attached) and it’s kind of scary. Reminds me of the kids jumping on a trampoline.
However! My house doesn’t shake any more. The vibrations have gone from 110% awful to I can barely feel it when I’m standing a foot away from it.
It’s still super weird and it’ll take a while to get used to, but it saved us money, stress and that awful feeling in my stomach.
Our laundry room was saved by something that reminds me of what I used in physical therapy! A giant shock absorber platform.