Let’s say you had a house and, for whatever reason, it was not possible to have an in-floor drain in the laundry room.

Are there alternatives that would ideally provide the same value in case of a leak?

  • 1
    I have owned houses in the UK and Germany, and a flat in Switzerland. None has ever had a floor drain in the room with the washing machine (or the dish washer). I am tempted to reply "just get more reliable plumbing and equipment". – Martin Bonner supports Monica Sep 26 '19 at 14:01
  • I have had quite a few houses in the US the only ones that had floor drains were slabs and not all of them had drains none of post and beam homes had floor drains. – Ed Beal Sep 26 '19 at 14:14
  • I have a floor drain in a slab . After a few years I plugged it because when the washing machine drained it pumped the water so fast the gravity drain could not handle all the water and it came out the drain . The floor drain has not been needed in 20 years. – blacksmith37 Sep 26 '19 at 18:14

One thing that is an option is automatic shut off valves for the washer that are linked to a water sensor.

Floodstop valves

Automatic Valves

Above is an example that I have experience with, but they come from several manufacturers and I think there are even "smart home" options that will alert you of a leak as well as turning off valves. I think I've also seen devices that cut power to the washer when there is a leak to stop it from draining water if the leak is actually a clogged drain rather than a burst hose.

With these valves, you still have to clean up some amount of water, but the problem is greatly reduced to the point of being able to clean up with a simple mop. Proper baseboard with a good caulking job will keep a small leak from getting behind the walls.


I believe there is a tray you can purchase that the washing machine sits in that will catch some water, but in the event of a serious leak I don't think it will save you. I try to not run my washing machine dishwasher when I'm leaving or going to bed, but it's impossible to prevent all equipment breakdowns and you can drive yourself crazy trying. It's a very good idea to keep a very close eye on new machines for their first few cycles, which is when I've found most problems will occur.

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