Floors

Published on April 17th, 2013 | by Henri

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Floor vibrates under washing machine

Q.    We have a heavy-duty front-loading washing machine and dryer on the 2nd floor of our house. The 1st floor room below it has a plaster ceiling, and we’ve noticed a number of cracks forming since the washer was installed. The house is about 100 years old; the plaster may be 20. Short of moving the washer, is there anything we can do to reduce the amount of vibration from the washer, perhaps some sort of motion-absorbing mat?

A.    The vibrations may be caused by one or more conditions. The washer may not be sitting solidly on the floor (check and adjust the feet if needed); there may be a problem with the washer itself; or the framing of the floor may not be sturdy enough to take the weight of the two appliances and their contents (this is quite likely in a 100-year-old house).

If you can verify that the first two conditions are not the cause of the vibrations, try the following to reinforce the floor: If you can get a full sheet of 3/4-inch thick AA or AB plywood (do not substitute this with thinner plywood of a lesser grade)    in the room where the washer is, place it under both the washer and dryer. Screw the plywood through the floor and into the floor joists using 3-inch deck screws spaced every 6 inches. This should stiffen the floor considerably and reduce the vibrations due to inadequate framing.

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