I have a house in Northern Virginia built in the mid-1980s. PEX plumbing throughout. The exterior walls are 2x4.

In my laundry room, the washing machine backs up against an exterior wall. The plumber ran the water lines and drain pipe in front of the drywall because he said putting it into the exterior wall was not a good idea.

We are currently remodeling our laundry room and I want to shift the washing machine to the right, and install new base cabinetry.

The problems are:

  1. with the current setup, my washing machine is about 5-6" away from the wall, taking up precious floor space, how could I move it back? and

  2. how can I install a base cabinet (plus a new countertop) when I have two PEX water lines and a drain pipe in front of the drywall?

Could I wrap the pipes with insulation and put the outlet box/plumbing into the wall?

Or should I build some kind of box out of plywood to cover the open plumbing and just notch out my base cabinet/notch out the new countertop to hide it?

  • Plumbing in narrow exterior walls usually not good idea and should be avoided in most cases. Notching of countertop should be done by installers. Depending on pipes and where floor joists are, might be able to move pipes and washer closer to wall.
    – crip659
    Jul 12, 2021 at 1:39

1 Answer 1


Nothing says the pipes (supply and drain) have to be behind the washer. Put them to one side or the other, and you can get the washer closer to the wall, while not freezing your pipes in every cold snap.

Freezing pipes in exterior walls is VERY common - you can look around the site, plenty of questions here on that subject.

You can hide the pipes inside the base cabinet, for the most part. The pipes may need to come through the countertop, but that's a matter of having a few holes drilled by the installers.

  • diy.stackexchange.com/q/37687/18078 for example...
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 12, 2021 at 2:05
  • Copy. So I get that the drain pipe needs to be elevated (and therefore above the counter level, but in theory I can cut the PEX supply lines off that box and instead install shutoff valves inside the base cabinet, correct? So my only challenge will be making the drain pipe look good coming through the countertop.
    – Chris
    Jul 12, 2021 at 10:32
  • That should work, yes.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 12, 2021 at 11:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.