I'm considering adding a shelf in our laundry closet to hold our 150 pound clothes dryer, as an alternative to the massive hassle (e.g. here and here) of moving a 300+ pound vertical washer+dryer stack whenever I need to service the washer.
Here's the layout today, not exactly to scale. The red lines are the edges of the "dryer shelf" that I'm considering.
Is a "dryer shelf" a good idea? If yes, I've got questions:
- What's a good material for a shelf that needs to span 43.5 inches and support a heavy, vibrating load? Let's be safe and assume 250lbs in case I upgrade later.
- How should I support the shelf on either side? At first I thought of a big triangular buttress like many shelves use, but that would impinge on the washer below. So I'm wondering if some other structural support would be better, e.g. two 2x4s screwed into the studs on either side, and a thick shelf board mounted on top of those 2x4s?
- How much clearance should I leave between the top of the washer underneath and the bottom of the shelf on top? I don't want too much clearance because it'll make the dryer hard to get to for my (shorter) family members, but I don't want too little that it'll make it impossible to upgrade the washer later to a slightly-taller model.
- Should I build a lip on the front and/or back of the shelf to prevent the dryer from vibrating itself off the shelf? Or is this a non-issue because dryers' vibrations are minimal relative to their massive weight?
- What are gotchas (other than remembering to disconnect and reconnect everything!) that I should watch out for?
- Are there code requirements (in California) for supporting a dryer that I should be aware of?
For actually doing the work, I have a crazy idea described below. Is this a good way to do it? If not, what's better?
- Temporarily screw a few heavy-duty hooks (at joists, of course!) to the 11-foot ceiling.
- Thread some rope or straps under the dryer
- Hoist the dryer up an inch or two
- Move the washer out of the way so I can have access underneath and in back
- Disconnect the lint hose, gas hose, power, etc.
- Hoist the dryer up 3-4 feet (high ceilings FTW!) to give me room to work
- Mount the shelf
- Reverse steps 6-2
BTW, what's prompting this now is that our washer (a 7.4 ft3 Whirlpool Duet Steam) has a busted sensor or some other problem that's causing it to think it needs to drain for many minutes after the tub is fully drained, and which often causes various delays and errors on the console. If I need to go through the trouble of repairing it anyways, then I figured that it's a good time to consider a longer-term investment in easier future repairs.
BTW, here's what the closet looks like today.