Design a Mudroom for Your Garage or Back Door
Dear James: We are designing a new house. We have two children and think a mudroom between the garage and the kitchen would be nice. What is the best size to build, and what features should we consider for it? -- Colin G.
Dear Colin: A mudroom is becoming a common addition to many newer home plans. In the past, the mudroom was located at the back door. Today, with our families so much more dependent on automobiles, mudrooms are more often located at the door from the garage, as you suggested.
Depending upon your budget and the size of your home, the mudroom can range from just an expanded hallway to a huge room. Some mudrooms are as large as 400 square feet, with all the amenities of other living areas in a house. These are termed "mudrooms" because of their location more than their function.
The key to an effective and reasonably priced mudroom is planning. Make a list of what activities you plan to perform in the mudroom, how many people will be in there at one time and what you plan to store. For example, if you have a dog who needs periodic baths or you work in your garden often and need to literally rinse off mud, adding a small shower area may be wise.
If your family does many outdoor activities together, so people several will be in the mudroom at the same time, plan on enough area for benches for them to sit and remove their dirty clothes and shoes. If you are skiers, you will need tall storage for the skis and a place to dry out boots, gloves and ski pants.
Plan your storage area in the mudroom so each person has a specific location for his things. This makes it much easier to locate items when they are needed, especially when the children are rushing to catch the school bus. Hooks on the walls for school bags are ideal.
Installing cabinets can keep the mudroom looking neat and clean. Benches whose seats lift up are also excellent storage. Be sure to select cabinets and benches with ventilation holes or louvers. More often than not, the items thrown into them are damp. Without proper ventilation, they will stay damp and mildew.
You have many options for flooring, such as ceramic tile, decorative stone and concrete. Even though it looks great, avoid hardwood. The dampness will eventually harm it, as will the grit from dirty shoes and boots. Concrete is one the least expensive flooring materials, and it can be tinted to make it more attractive. Whatever type of flooring you select, it should be sealed.
The mudroom will be framed like any other interior wall, but finishing it with drywall is not generally recommended. Drywall feels hard to the touch, but it can be easily dented and scratched from flying clothes, sports gear and shoes. If you really like painted drywall, apply it over a layer of plywood. This will make it stronger and provide a better base for hanging hooks, cabinets, etc.
The best wall material for a mudroom is stained or natural wood. Stained tongue-and-groove pine paneling is particularly effective and durable. It does not nick easily, and scratches are not very apparent. Beadboard is also effective and inexpensive.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about James Dulley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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