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Front-loading washers and dryers are not just energy-efficient, they are also space-savers. Since the doors and controls are on the front, it is easy to install a worktop over the top of the appliances. A standard kitchen worktop from the local DIY centre, 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inch) supports and a tube of caulk are the basis for this easy project. A handy homeowner can install a laundry worktop in one afternoon.
Remove the washer and dryer from the alcove so you have room to work.
Measure the height of your washer and dryer and the depth of the alcove. Using a pencil, mark the wall 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the washer height, all the way around the alcove, using a level and a yardstick. With the stud finder, locate the studs and mark the centre of each on the wall, 5 cm (2 inches) above the horizontal line.
Screw the 60 cm (24 inch) boards to the wall, with the bottom just touching the horizontal line and centring the screws on the studs. Use the 7.5 cm (3 inch) screws.
Measure the width of the alcove in between the boards. Cut the 2.4 m (8 foot) board to that length. Screw to the wall, again centring the screws on the studs.
Measure the width of the alcove again, and cut the worktop to the exact length of the space. With a helper, set the worktop on top of the 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inch) supports. Crawl underneath the worktop and pre-drill two holes per side and four across the back, up through the supports and 6 mm (1/4 inch) into the bottom of the worktop. Screw the worktop to the supports, using the 5 cm (2 inch) screws. Caulk along the edges where the wall and worktop meet.
Reinstall the washer and dryer in the alcove.
- Adjust the height of the countertop as needed to allow access to on/off knobs.
- If you have a standard washer and dryer set, install hinges and a latch so you can lift the counter up, out of the way, to load and unload the washer. Do not screw the countertop to the supports.
- Measure twice, cut once, is not just a cliche; follow this rule and prevent mistakes.
- The supplier can cut all pieces to size if you have the exact measurements.
- A custom size can be ordered or built if you prefer a deeper worktop.
- Do not block the water taps or outlets.
- Check to make sure you can still roll the appliances under the worktop before attaching it to the supports.
- Use proper safety equipment like gloves and safety goggles.
- Watch out for your back; this project requires bending and lifting.
- Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images