How to Install a Floor Drain for the Laundry Room

Installing a floor drain in your laundry room is an excellent way to protect your floors from overflowing sinks or washing machines. A properly installed floor drain provides an exit point for water to drain away rather than pooling on the floor. Installing one yourself is a manageable weekend project for a handy homeowner.

Choose a Location

When deciding where to put your laundry room floor drain, consider the following:

  • The drain should be centered between the washer and dryer to catch water from both appliances.
  • Place it near the wall to connect to existing plumbing.
  • Allow enough space around the drain for the drainpipe – usually 12-18 inches.
  • Ensure the subfloor slopes slightly towards the drain for proper water flow.
  • Avoid high foot traffic areas so the drain cover isn’t constantly stepped on.

The ideal location is in a back corner of the laundry room. This allows you to tie into waste pipes in the wall while keeping the drain accessible but out of the way.

Select a Floor Drain

There are several types of laundry room floor drains to choose from:

Round drains

These basic drains have a round nickel bronze or plastic grate over the drain hole. They come in 3-4 inch sizes and are the most economical option.

Square drains

Square drains have a removable square grate over the drain hole. The grate is usually nickel bronze or plastic.

Trench drains

Trench drains are long, narrow drains that will catch water across a larger area. The grate runs the length of the drain body.

Stainless steel is the most durable option for any drain type. Plastic is prone to cracking over time. Nickel bronze offers a nice middle ground of aesthetics and affordability.

Other considerations are the drain style and water volume it can handle. Opt for a drain with a flange that will overlap the hole for a secure fit. Check the gallons per minute (GPM) rating to ensure it can handle the output from your washing machine.

Gather Tools and Materials

Installing a laundry drain is a moderate DIY project. Make sure you have the following tools on hand:

  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Safety glasses and work gloves
  • Hammer
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Reciprocating saw (for cutting drain hole)
  • Drill and hole saw (for drilling drain hole)

You’ll also need:

  • Floor drain
  • Drainpipe and fittings
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Pipe primer and solvent cement
  • ABS or PVC cement (depending on pipe material)

Cut the Drain Hole

Once you’ve chosen the drain location, use the following steps to cut the drain hole:

  1. Measure the flange diameter of your drain. Add 1 inch to this measurement. Draw a circle of this diameter where you want the drain.
  2. Put on safety glasses and work gloves to protect yourself.
  3. Use a reciprocating saw or a drill with a hole saw bit to cut along the drawn line. Cut through the flooring and subfloor.
  4. Make relief cuts from the drain hole to the edges of the circle. Use a hammer to tap the waste piece free.
  5. Vacuum the hole to remove all debris.

The drain hole should now be neatly cut and ready for installation.

Connect the Drain Pipe

With the floor open, it’s time to connect the drain pipe.

  1. Measure how far you need the drain pipe to extend into the wall to connect to the waste line. Cut the pipe to length with a hacksaw.
  2. Dry assemble the drain body, pipe, and elbows to ensure proper fit.
  3. When ready, apply plumber’s putty around the drain flange. Set the drain in place and press down firmly to seal.
  4. Glue the drain pipe joints with ABS or PVC cement per the manufacturer’s instructions. Let cure completely.

The drain pipe should now extend into the wall cavity to tie into the waste line.

Connect to the Waste Line

Connecting to the waste line involves three main steps:

Step 1: Tie into the line

  • Cut into the waste line with a reciprocating saw.
  • Use a hub-and-spigot connector to tie the drain pipe into the waste line.

Step 2: Slope the pipe

  • The drain pipe must slope 1⁄4 inch per foot towards the waste line.
  • Use a level to achieve the proper slope angle.

Step 3: Support the pipe

  • Use metal brackets to securely attach the drain pipe to floor joists.
  • Avoid sagging by placing brackets every 2-3 feet along the pipe.

With the drain pipe securely tied in and supported, you’re ready for the final steps.

Test for Leaks

Before closing up the floor, test your work:

  • Plug the drain and fill with water. Mark the water level.
  • Return after 30 minutes. If the water level dropped, there is a leak.
  • If leak free, unplug the drain to empty.

Finding and fixing any leaks now prevents bigger problems down the road.

Complete Flooring Repairs

You’re in the home stretch! Follow these steps to complete the flooring:

  1. Apply a thin layer of floor leveler compound if needed to achieve an even surface.
  2. Make any repairs to subfloor panels, replacing damaged sections as needed.
  3. Install new flooring material, cutting pieces to fit around the drain flange.
  4. Seal flooring seams with waterproof caulk or seam tape.
  5. Replace baseboards or trim molding around the floor. Apply caulk along the bottom edge.

Once repairs are made, you can enjoy your new, properly installed laundry room floor drain!

Floor Drain Maintenance

Proper maintenance keeps your new drain clear and prevents backups. Follow these tips:

  • Remove hair and debris from the drain weekly.
  • Flush with hot water monthly to clear grease buildup.
  • Use a drain stick or plunger as needed for serious clogs.
  • Avoid pouring grease down the drain. Catch and discard food grease instead.
  • Use a drain screen to catch hair and debris. Clean the screen often.
  • If using bleach, flush thoroughly with water to prevent corrosion.
  • Call a plumber immediately for persistent clogs or backflow of sewage.

Regular maintenance extends the life of your drain and plumbing.

FAQs About Laundry Room Floor Drains

Still have questions about installing a laundry drain? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How much does it cost to install a laundry room floor drain?

The total cost is $200-$500 depending on the drain type and complexity of the installation. The drain itself ranges from $50-$150. Simple installations can be DIY. Complex jobs require a professional plumber at $75-$150 per hour.

Where does the laundry room floor drain go?

The drain pipe connects to the sanitary waste line and out to the municipal sewer or septic tank. The drain should never flow into a storm drain or onto your property.

What size drain and pipe should I use?

A 3-4 inch drain is sufficient for home laundry rooms. Use 2-inch diameter ABS or PVC pipe. Measure your appliances’ GPM to size the pipe accurately.

Can I drain my laundry room floor to the outside?

No, all laundry waste water must drain to the sanitary sewer system. Draining outside violates plumbing codes and can contaminate your yard.

How do I clean a smelly laundry drain?

Remove debris from the drain grate. Flush with hot water and baking soda. Use a drain cleaner monthly to break down buildup. Call a plumber if odors persist. Avoid pouring grease into drains.

Should my washing machine drain into the floor drain?

No, washing machines must drain into a standpipe, not directly into the floor drain. Connecting to the floor drain may overload and clog it.


Installing a laundry room floor drain is a worthwhile DIY project for any homeowner. A properly placed and installed drain prevents water damage and unpleasant odors. With the right tools and preparation, you can tackle this project yourself in a weekend. Follow drain and pipe installation codes for long-lasting results. Then practice regular drain maintenance to keep your laundry room dry and fresh-smelling for years to come.

How to Install a Floor Drain for the Laundry Room

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