Grouting A Washer Base
When a hard mount washer is installed the steel base is bolted to the concrete, hence the name hard mount. Soft mount washers are not bolted down. The reason is that a soft mount washer inside tub is suspended by a set of springs / shock absorbers. Residential washers are made this way and commercial washers are available from some manufacturers in many sizes including 60# and up.
Hard mount washers need to be bolted down to a solid concrete base to prevent them from literally moving around during the cycle.
In many cases a separate steel base is purchased to be installed under the washer. This is typically made from 4″ to 12″ C-Channel and welded together.
In other cases a concrete plinth is pored and the washer is bolted directly to it. These are typically finished on the front with tile to give a nice, easy to clean look.
For the washer to work correctly, and for the long term, it needs to be level and secure. They do have a vibration sensor switch that would be triggered if the bolts came loose or some other major failure occurred.
The steel base need to be built square from the start for things to work best.
Once the concrete is cured, if a new floor was installed, the steel base is positioned and holes are drilled in 4 to 10 locations, and possibly more for vary large machines.
The base is leveled with washers or steel shims and concrete anchors of 1/2″ and larger are used to secure the base to the concrete.
In very few cases the concrete is flat and level enough that there are no gaps under the base but normally there are some spaces.
To provide the best steel / concrete connection possible and prevent any vibration due to the steel flexing over time a grout is installed between the steel base and the floor. This grout is sometimes referred to as Precision or Machine Grout. It is a non-shrink material so once it fills a gap it hardens and stays the same size.
Now there is some discussion about whether grout is needed if the floor is ” really flat” and other discussions about how thick the grout should be.
I have seen installations where the washer base is 3/4″ above the concrete and the grout is molded into place as it sets and fills the space all the way around. This does require more skill and longer time as each one has to be monitored as it sets up.
My experience is that I want to fill every gap I can stuff it into and not have to worry about it again. The extra couple of hours and $50 in grout is worth not having a machine fail prematurely due to vibrations. Or worse to have the bolts pull loose from the floor and you have to remove the washer, drill new holes in the base and concrete and start over.
The washer in the pictures needed a bearing change and I have previously noticed there was almost no grout in the base so it seemed like a good time to tighten everything up.
The grout does need about 24 hours to set so the machine needs to be off. This time will vary depending on temperature, water content, thickness and other factors.
As the washer was on the base I needed to be able to pour the grout in. I used the lid of a garbage can with a hole cut in it to act as a funnel. I also mixed the grout a little runny so it would flow in.
Once it was poured in I set to work pushing it into the gap between the floor and base. You can see this in the video.
Any extra that gets on the outside can be pushed back into the gap or trimmed away as it sets. The residue can be cleaned with a damp cloth before it completely dries.
A small trowel is used to push the grout into the gaps.
Installation in bases before the washers are set will normally use less grout as it’s easier to work it into the gaps and maintain the excess near the edges of the steel base. Pouring it in to a base with the machine on top was easier with the runny mixture and less than one bag was used so excess in the base was not a concern.
You will see a slight color change as the grout sets up and hardens and by the next day it should be set. As mentioned before there are some variables so don’t rush it. If you can leave it an extra day before running the machine or even installing the machines there is less chance of it being cracked or weakened.
A smooth service is nice if you need to clean the area in the future but don’t expect it.
That’s the basics of grouting a washer base.
Thermal Imaging Tour of a Speed Queen Dryer
As part of some dryer testing I have been doing I used my Thermal Imaging Camera to look at the dryers and some hot spots.
The link for the camera is below. There has been a lot of advancements and therefore price reductions in these cameras. The one I have is connected to my phone so you can record pictures and video or do a split screen between the phone camera and the Thermal Imaging Camera.
Check it out…
The camera is available HERE. I use a camera from SEEK Thermal. It’s connected to my iPhone (Android are also available) and uses a Free App for all of the functions.
Here’s a split screen shot I took to give you an idea. The alignment is off slightly due to the different camera locations (top and bottom of phone).
I’ll post the results of my dryer testing soon. I’me trying to find out the difference in gas usage.
Have a great day.
Questions about the Bill Acceptor Security Cover?
Need To Order?
Bill Acceptor Security Cover
The Bill Acceptor Security Cover has been designed to protect the exposed plastic parts found on some change and vending machines. This is an added layer of security.
– 3/8″ wrench and / or socket
– 7/16″ wrench and / or socket
– 5/16″ Drill bit
– File or sandpaper
Proper protective eyewear is recommended. If you are not comfortable completing this installation please contact a qualified professional.
2. Open door of Change or Vending Machine
3. Remove the bill acceptor by removing the existing mounting nuts. A 3/8″ wrench or socket can be used.
4. Set bill acceptor on top of hopper using caution not to pinch or cut wiring. If this is not possible remove the connectors or secure the bill acceptor with tape or another method.
5. Tape Bill Acceptor Security Cover Installation Template (Figure 1) securely in place aligning with existing opening.
6. Mark location of two new holes.
7. Drill holes using a 5/16″ drill bit.
** Use caution when drilling to prevent injury and avoid getting any metal pieces in the hopper or other parts of the changer or vending machine.
** Follow all safety precautions when using drill.
8. Remove any sharp edges with a small file, sandpaper or other method if needed.
9 .Place Bill Acceptor Security Cover in place with studs inserted through the new mounting holes.
10. Install and tighten nylon lock nuts (included) on threaded studs.
11. Open and close door to confirm there are no interferences with hinge or other parts of the changer or vending machine.
12. Reinstall bill acceptor. Check alignment and clearance before tightening bill acceptor nuts.
13. Check bill acceptor wiring is installed correctly.
14. Turn on power and test.
Congratulations. You have just completed the installation of the Bill Acceptor Security Cover.
Add graphics if desired.
Bill Acceptor Security Cover – Patent Pending
All images, documentation and information is the property of K-Bar Inc. No reproduction shall be made without the express written permission of K-Bar Inc.
This cover is designed for additional security. No guarantee is made or implied that it will prevent all forms of damage or theft when installed.
As mentioned in the Sept 2016 Planet Laundry- “Floor It” edition in my latest store I used an Epoxy / Polyurethane combination for the flooring and a spray textured coating on the outside entrance area.
The textured finish was sprayed on to provide a slip resistance surface.
I have had a variety of floor finishes in my Laundromats but this is by far the best I have seen. Everyone that enters the store comments on it, it’s easy to clean, hides dirt and is holding up great.
Sealing Around Laundromat Dryers
The dryers in a Coin Laundry become a part of the wall when they are installed. Just like any wall they need to be sealled and insulated to reduce air leakage around the dryers. The better the seal you can make the less air will trsnafer between the conditioned and unconditioned areas (between your store and the dryer maintenance area).
One method I have found is to use a backer rod. This can be bought at most building supply stores in the concrete section.
Normally used to fill large gaps in concrete projects but works great for this application.
It ‘s round, closed cell foam and is 1/2″ or 5/8″ diameter and about 20 fet long. It can be cut to length and pushed into smaller cracks.
And don’t forget the gap below the dryers. The dryers are leveled on each of the coners with a bolt, type level. Depending on the slope of the floor you could have up to an inch of gap below the dryer.
If you have a new store or an older one take some time to find the air leaks and get them sealed. Check to make sure the edges of your dryers do not get hot enough to melt the foam or cause a fire.
Any other tips on sealing cracks? Please comment below.
There are a number of items that can impact the construction or retrofit of a Coin Laundry.
The intention of this post is not to scare you but to make you aware of issues that need to be addressed.
If you are hiring your own contractors or purchasing a turn-key store your level of involvement with these issues will vary but they will help you understand the details involved.
• Not matching the store to the location. Sometimes the location won’t support a laundry as large as the owner wants to build, or the laundry is way too small for the location.
• Failing to secure the required permits. For your business to operate, a Certificate of Occupancy may be required by your city or town. So be sure to check. The permits that you and your contractor initially file with your local authorities are the documents which, when final inspections are completed, will facilitate your store’s being granted the Certificate of Occupancy. Make sure you receive and maintain copies of these permits. Contractors sometimes fail to file for such permits, even though they have collected the appropriate fees from you prior to beginning work.
• Improper equipment mix. It takes some experience to lay out a laundry correctly – the right amount and capacity of machines, along with ample aisle space, customer service areas, etc.
• Not making sure you have adequate utilities available. If you don’t have utilities close by, it can be almost impossible to open your laundry.
Your store’s utilities are the lifeblood of your business in many ways. After all, water, gas and electricity are, in essence, what you are truly providing your laundry customers. Therefore, whether you are building a store from the ground up or converting an existing building into a self-service laundry, you’ll need to know whether you can get enough of each of these utilities to meet your business’ needs.
Typically, a letter to the utility companies that supply these essentials will be answered within a four to six weeks (this will vary widely depending on area) and will provide you with information on availability, procedure and estimated costs.
• An insufficient set of architectural drawings. Those drawings need to show isometrics of plumbing, plumbing sizes, electrical service and ventilations. It shouldn’t be just a couple of pieces of paper scratched out showing some machines here and there. There should be some detail.
• Not having enough money left over for your grand opening. You can’t spend your entire budget on just the construction phase alone.
Money is not going to come in that fast when you first open up. You’ve got to have extra cash. Some people misjudge how much it really takes to get into a laundry. It’s very capital-intensive, even without owning the building – just the leasehold improvements are a big factor. And it’s not that easy to finance leasehold improvements. In fact, about one-third of the total cost of a laundry is those improvements you put in to make it a laundry.”
It’s not wise to attempt to get into this business on a shoestring.
When you build a new store, it needs to look like a new store. You don’t want to put in all new equipment and then have an unsightly or dim lighting.
• Creating bulkheads that are too narrow. Although you design the store mainly with the customer in mind, don’t forget about the person who must maintain your washers.
When designing a store, it’s always in the back of your mind that you’re making dollars per square foot, so you want to put as much money-making equipment into the available square footage as possible without compromising the workflow. However, in doing so, some laundry owners end up compromising the size of their bulkheads.
On paper, a three-foot bulkhead looks like it would be easy to get into to repair a machine. But the plumbing comes up through there, and pretty soon three feet doesn’t seem like all that much. In fact, four feet sometimes is not enough.
• Not allowing for a sufficient amount of makeup air. This will cause the dryers run inefficiently and can even ignite a fire.
As a general rule, one square foot per dryer pocket is considered sufficient for the proper combustion of your dryers. However, falling short of this figure and depriving your dryers of makeup air is an all-too-common problem.
• Installing inadequate floor drainage. Floor drains are something that several laundry owners tend to skimp on, and it’s something you need to have. You’re in a place that invariably is going to have water on the floor – sometimes an inch or two – and you’ve got to have somewhere for it to go. Floor drains should be on a separate line than those that hook into all of the washers.
• Undersizing the utilities. The size of the gas line, power, water supply and drains may seem too big but you have to factor in the busy times. I have seen customers load four or five washers and hit the start buttons all at once. You don’t want to take 10 minutes to fill the washers because your pipes are too small. Your customers don’t want to wait and you want to get people in and out and free up the washers for the next customer.
• Shortchanging the project, as far as the quality and thickness of the concrete. “If you start bolting down machines to concrete that’s not the right thickness or quality, and the bolts start pulling up, you can have real problems.
• Inadequate floorplans. The flow of people is key in a Laundry. Is there enough room in front of the dryers for people who hang up items straight from the dryer? Will somebody loading a big washer be blocking the doorway? Review the floor plans with your distributor and anybody else that understands layouts.
• Working with uninsured contractors. There shouldn’t be anybody allowed to work on the project unless they have a certificate of insurance and workers’ compensation insurance, especially if the store is on the investor’s property. If there were to be some sort of accident or injury on the site, there could be serious liability for the owner. Proper insurance is a must.
• Overlooking any toxins on the property. What’s the history of that location? Are there any toxins left over from a previous dryc leaning business or a former gas station? Do your research.
If you have any comments please post them below.
I’m building a new Laundromat and posting ALL the details at HowToBuild.Laundromat.com
As part of the conversion of the Large Capacity washers and dryers at Washin Anniston to Quarters, Dollar Coins, and Tokens I needed to have an efficient way to to separate them to be put them back in the changer.
I talked to American Changer and they explained how their counters are built for years of use. American Changer is the Parent Company of Hoffman Mint, the token manufacturer and they use the same coin counter in their factory to count the orders before shipment. So they probably put more through in a month than most Laundromats will in years.
I ordered one and had a look at ow they sort and count and, as t would be stationary in the store, decided the best way to install it for ease of use.
Have a look at the video where I explain how I mounted the coin counter and some things to look at when you install yours.
The Links I mentioned are:
American Changer: http://www.americanchanger.com/
American Changer CC-302 http://www.americanchanger.com/Products/product.asp?ProdID=61
Hoffman Mint http://www.hoffmanmint.com/
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Don’t miss the chance to join the Members Section of LaundromatHowTo.com where we have open discussions about all aspects of the Coin Laundry business.
Just click on the picture below and I’ll see you there.
How To Build A Laundromat
You have arrived at this site at a unique time. A Laundromat is about to be built and you have the opportunity to join the construction as it happens.
All of the information will be available and your questions will be answered as we go.
When I first started in the Coin Laundry Industry I asked questions from some other owners, read all of the material I could find but there was still a lot of things that I had to learn as I went along. Some were expensive and not in the original budget because I Just Didn’t Know.
It’s time to change that. I am about to start construction on a new Laundromat and I want you to see behind the scenes as it’s done.
Watch the video below and then click on the link to join the exclusive group behind the scenes.
Join Me Here Before Time Runs Out…
—> CLICK HERE <—
I’ll see you on the inside.