Learn how to make and install a laundry countertop over a washer and dryer. This is perfect for those who have a front-load set and just need some counter space.
If you have ever wanted more space in your laundry room, you are not alone. Pain points of a laundry room generally include having enough counter space to pretreat laundry stains, clothing falling into the cracks behind and between the washer and dryer, and being able to store detergents in arm’s reach without needing a stool.
I was on a mission to solve all of these problems because with six people in our family, you can imagine the number of laundry loads I would have to do. This meant that this space needed to be functional so that I could minimize the frustration of this chore as well as spend less time having to move things around. The utility of this space was the utmost importance.
My solution was to install and brace a countertop above my front-loading washer and dryer. In this tutorial, I’m going to walk through all the considerations you’ll want to think about before installing your own, as well as options for materials and designs for your counters. This project is specific to those who have both front-loading washer and dryer sets.
Choosing Material for the Laundry Countertop for a Washer and Dryer
When choosing options for countertops for your laundry room, you’ll want to make sure that you consider how much the material will be resistant to heat and water. If it does not withstand heat, then the dryer will cause the wood to warm. If it isn’t resistant to water, any moisture from the washer will cause the material to mold.
In addition, you’ll also want to consider countertops that can hold 1-2 load of laundry baskets. Generally, an average load of laundry is about 18 pounds, so you’ll want to pick a countertop material that will be able to withstand that weight.
If you choose a plywood countertop, this is the most affordable option in terms of materials. From a cosmetic standpoint, you’ll want to make sure you paint and seal it so that it can be resistant to any water issues you may encounter. For example, in my family, somehow we always get towels that are damp and are placed on top of this counter. You’ll want to consider these experiences as you think about material that are resistant to water with the material that you choose. If you sand the outside of plywood, note that it is made of veneer on the outside, and if you sand it too much, it may rip off the top layer veneer, leaving you with a grainy surface area for the finish.
You can use 1 inch x 10 inch x 8 feet plank boards that you put together. You’ll again need to seal it. It gives the rustic, farmhouse style look that is trending. However, the downside is that if there is ever an issue, you’ll need to pry them up separately rather than having a full counter that you can slide out. If you do not seal the wood, the rough surface will make it hard and challenging to fold clothes. So you’ll want to make sure you choose wood that is seam-free and flat.
Particle Board for Above Washer and Dryer
If you choose particle board, you’ll want to make sure that you have a veneer over it. Particle Board does not hold up well to long-term exposure to moisture.
Stainless Steel for Above Washer and Dryer
You can also add a stainless steel veneer above plywood or particle board. This will allow you to match any stainless steel washer and dryer set. It also provides a very clean, sterile look as well as the bonus of being able to be cleaned really easily. The downside is the potential for the top to be scratched.
Butcher Counter for Above Washer and Dryer
The butcher block is a very trendy look that is also heavy and expensive. You’ll need to go the extra step of sealing the butcher block to protect the wood. It’s a great look, but just takes additional effort to seal and protect it.
Quartz, Granite or Marble Counter for Above Washer and Dryer
This is the most expensive option for a countertop. If you are looking to do a luxurious upgrade to your laundry space, this is definitely an option you can choose. Quartz is man-made engineered material that has the elegance of natural stone, but is highly durable and low maintenace.
Laminate is cost effective, easy to maintain, and easy to clean. It is non-porous, which means it can be less prone to germs if wiped down.
Options for Building Your Laundry Room Countertop for Washer and Dryer
I also wanted to share some other ideas that people have had when installing their own countertops for a washer and dryer.
If you want to be able to access the washer and dryer easily or if you have a top load washer, having a hinged countertop will allow you to have the best of both worlds. You would be able to access the washer when you need to put in a load, yet have room to fold laundry by having the additional real estate to do so.
Some people also choose to do waterfall countertops, which means that the counter pretty much covers the top and sides with the same color. This is great for those who are wanting a more modern-contemporary look to their laundry space.
Considerations Before Installing Washer and Dryer Counter
Each countertop design will be different according to the space. So as you begin to design on the width and length of your braces, cleats, and countertops, here are a few things you should add on your checklist for your laundry space to ensuring that you are optimizing the space for not only a design aspect, but also from a functionality standpoint as well.
Making the Water Shut Off Accessible
If you have a leak, you’ll want the water shutoff to be accessible. Make sure that you have a cut out in order to reach this space. In addition, I would recommend seeing if you can make the counter height the height of where the water shutoff valves are.
Angle the Brace to Hide It
You should angle and also paint the brace to make sure that it looks seamless. We didn’t paint everything, just the visible sections like below:
Measure for Finished Countertop Height
A countertop kitchen island measures at 36″, which you can use that as a starting point to determine how high you want the countertop. You do not want to make the countertop too high from the floor if you are wanting to use it as a clothes folding table. In addition, if you have built-in cabinets like I do, you’ll want to make sure you build it low enough to reach the cabinets.
Choosing Waterproof Resistant Countertops
If your space also functions as a mudroom like mine, chances are if you have kids or spouses, there are probably countless times where rain jackets and damp towels are placed right above the laundry washer and dryer sets. You’ll want to make sure you account for these edge case scenarios so that you don’t experience any molding or rotting. This can be done by ensuring the material you choose for your countertops are water resistant.
Plastic laminate tops work great in these situations.
Big Box Store Can Cut the Countertop Material for You
If you have big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes cut your wood, make sure you look at the wood for any imperfections, knots, and checks in the wood. You’ll want to tell them to make sure to cut it strategically where there are not a lot of imperfections. In order to get the best wood cut possible, I would recommend watching them cut it and inspect it right away for any issues with the cut.
Leaving Space for the Washer and Dryer Set Beneath the Countertop
I would recommend having about 1″ to 3″ of room on either side of the washing and drying set to account for when you need to move it around for repair work or any other general work.
Potentially Not Securing the Top
This might not be an option for you depending on what material you choose, but not securing the countertop will allow you to remove the top so that if something falls into the cracks through the accessible water shutoff, you can remove the top and fish it from above. In addition, it also allows for easier repair work especially if you have a small laundry space.
Sealing the Countertop
If you are sealing the countertop and you are choosing to paint it white, make sure that you use a polyurethane that doesn’t cause the white wood to turn yellow (this is the one that I use).
Weight Limit for a Fully Laundry Basket Load
A full laundry basket averages around 20 pounds a load, so ensuring your braces and anchors support double as much would be prudent.
How difficult is installing a laundry room countertop?
If you’ve had experience cutting, sanding, staining, and drilling into drywall, this will definitely be a quick and easy project for you to complete.
About This DIY Project for Installing a Countertop with Laminate Veneer
Specific to my project, I wanted to make it functional to fold clothes and pretreat any stains while also making it look clean. For my washer and dryer set, there was an option for buying pedestals at $350 for the set at the time, which was pretty much a third of the price of the washer and dryer set itself. Moreover, we also already had a built-in walnut cabinet in the space, and the washer and dryer pedestal would cause it to not fit in the space.
We had issues with kids socks and toys falling in between the cracks because it was the first stop for the entire family after coming in from the garage. The built-ins were hard to match because it was a dark walnut color, my paint color was white, the trim paint color was tan khaki, and the set was white. It was hard for me to choose a color for the countertop veneer, but I just went with what my husband found at the local store. I might actually change it out once I figure out what color I want (potentially this marble veneer).
Preparation Before Installing the Laundry Room Countertop
Vacuum Up Around the Space
You’ll be surprised at the number of dust bunnies you have when cleaning up the space.
Before installing the laundry room countertop, you’ll need to determine what type of countertop you need based on the considerations above. Preparing beforehand will allow you to position the counter on top of the braces.
Determine the Height of Countertop and Washer and Dryer Valve Locations
You’ll want to determine the measurements of how high you want the countertops to be and where valves are (and whether or not you want to cover them up).
How to Install Laundry Room Countertops Above Washer and Dryer Set
This is the tutorial on how to install a countertop above a washer and dryer set with plywood with a laminate veneer. This should be a pretty quick and easy tutorial for those who know how to cut wood, drill holes into the wall by finding studs, and work a miter saw.
- Prepare the Countertop - Prepare the countertop and prepare it to the desired design. You may need 1-2 days to prepare it especially if you are using polyurethane to allow the wood to cure.
- Measure the Walls and the Washer/Dryer Set - The countertop will be supported by strip of wood material against the walls (often referred to as braces or cleats). You'll want to measure the back of the wall, the sides, and the height of the washer and dryer set. Account for 1" to 3" for the spacing between the washer and dryer and counter.
- Mark the Counter Installation Location Using a Level - Draw a level line on the wall to indicate the underside of the countertop that will be installed. Ensure that there is enough space so that the top of the machine and the countertops do not touch in order to allow the washing machines to be moved in and out (which is great for any potential repair work). Generally, a 1" to 3" spacing gap is recommended.
- Cut the Wood for the Braces Counter Support - Cut the wood to the measured length of the back wall, the depth of the washing and drying machine. For the wood pieces that will be nearer towards that washing and drying machine, you'll want to cut the wood at an angle that will allow it to be less visible when standing next to the countertop. (It can also be painted to make the wood less visible when standing next to it). Also, you'll need to do cutouts for either sides of the wall braces. This will serve as joint inserts for the middle support braces.
- Installing the Wall Braces for Countertop Support - Use a level and stud finder to attach the wall braces. You'll need to install the braces on all sides of the wall where the counter will need to be supported.
- Installing the Center Supports for the Laundry Countertop - To brace the middle of the countertops, we installed smaller wood 1 inch x 2 inch boards across, which were narrower than the braces that were on the wall. You can choose to put wood glue here to permanently affix the brace onto the other brace.
- Attach the Countertop on Top of the Braces - You can just slide in the countertop and use L-brackets to secure the braces.
- Add the Finish for the Countertop (Paint or Veneer) - Add a laminate veneer because it was inexpensive and easy to work with, allowing for less water/heat damage.
Frequently Asked Questions About Countertops for Laundry Room
What is the best countertop for a laundry room above a front-load laundry?
Quartz makes an ideal countertop surface for a laundry room because it is a hard material that does not require any application of polishes or sealers, it’s highly durable, low maintenance, and easy to use. The downside is that it’s heavier than plywood, and you’ll need to ensure that the braces that secure it will account for the weight of the quartz as well as any laundry loads that are placed on top of it.
How do you seal butcher block for a laundry room?
Butcher block for a laundry room should be sealed with mineral oil, allowing it to soak into the wood, and then wiping off the excess. It should be done frequently during the initial seal, but then maintained once a month.
Summary of How to Build Counter Over Washer and Dryer
Whatever style countertop or budget you have for a laundry room countertop, there are plenty of ways you can make use of additional space for folding clothes and preventing clothes from falling between the cracks of the washer and dryer set.
I hope you loved this post on how to build a countertop over a washer and dryer. After having this countertop for a year, I can honestly say that this installation that prevents me fishing out socks with a wire hanger has been so worth it!
If you completed this project, I would love to see your final product. Please tag me at #sengersonhome on any social feed!
Other Laundry Room Projects You Might Like
If you liked this easy tutorial, check out some of these other posts on home DIY projects you might also get inspired by:
- DIY Laundry Room and Mudroom Wall Art
- Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin
- Homemade Laundry Detergent