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Laundry In Apartment Blocks

SunriseChampion

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Something that has always bothered me is the fact that older buildings in Toronto (all of Canada?) have central laundry rooms (usually underground or ground floor) as opposed to ensuite laundry closets.

The building I grew up in was a bit of a beautiful exception. South-central Scarborough. Designed in the 80s, finished in 1990. It had a central laundry room on the 3rd floor as well as ensuite laundry in each unit. I guess the idea being that if you couldn't or didn't want to afford your own washer and/or dryer you were covered.

So, my question is: Why was ensuite laundry not a design element in Toronto apartment blocks?
 

knlaruw

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Just a guess... it's easier and cheaper to maintain a central laundry room than it is to maintain individual washer/dryers in each apartment unit. In condos, that's the responsibility of the unit owner, not the single landlord in these tower blocks. The new TCHC building in Regent Park (NW corner Dundas/Sackville) has central laundry likely for that reason too.
 

DSC

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I live in a condo building where all units have "laundry rooms" (some small). Even so I guess about 15% of units have not installed machines (or only a washer OR a dryer) and rely on the central laundry room that we also have. Some people prefer to use the space in their Units in other ways, some probably do not want to buy machines.
 

Jared Dean

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It is easy to build and maintain central laundry rooms. Back then most people only thought about how to save money, so everywhere there were central laundry rooms. But now things have changed, everyone needs privacy. So now there is ensuite laundry.
 

Northern Light

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I live in a building of a certain age, the waterlines could not handle the demand if 1/2 the units had washers going or dishwashers going.

For the oldest buildings, those amenities were rare or a new thing when many were built. I know my grandmother got her first washing machine from Sears in the mid-60s, and many Toronto apartment blocks predate this.

I suspect there was another factor at work, which is that water (as with electricity until the last decade or so) was not historically submetered in Toronto buildings.

Landlords would want some control over a cost they bare, where practical.
 

Avenue

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It's a cultural/North American thing, which may potentially be impacted by American appliance producers as well. In many parts of the world not as affluent as Canada the concept of shared laundry/laundromats simply don't exist. Interestingly, in Europe, for example, washers cost much less, are much smaller normally and A LOT more durable.
 

Bayer

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Manulife Centre has laundry rooms, but their furnished apartments have a washer/dryer. After living for years in more recent condos, I don't mind. The laundry gets done a lot faster because the machines are larger and more powerful. And also I have things I didn't have in those newer buildings - a full 240 V in the kitchen, PTAC units that allow me to switch to/from heat or air conditioning at any time, not to mention better management and, actually, more respect and faster service than I ever had in a condo either as an owner or as a tenant.
 

SunriseChampion

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Just a guess... it's easier and cheaper to maintain a central laundry room than it is to maintain individual washer/dryers in each apartment unit. In condos, that's the responsibility of the unit owner, not the single landlord in these tower blocks. The new TCHC building in Regent Park (NW corner Dundas/Sackville) has central laundry likely for that reason too.
Yeah, but there's no reason why the landlord would be providing the washer/dryer. In the building I grew up in, the space was provided but each household had to provide their own machines.
 

SunriseChampion

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I live in a condo building where all units have "laundry rooms" (some small). Even so I guess about 15% of units have not installed machines (or only a washer OR a dryer) and rely on the central laundry room that we also have. Some people prefer to use the space in their Units in other ways, some probably do not want to buy machines.
That's interesting. I've never seen a condo that had a central laundry room. When was your building built? St Lawrence, so I'm guessing designed and/or built in the 80s.
 

SunriseChampion

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It is easy to build and maintain central laundry rooms. Back then most people only thought about how to save money, so everywhere there were central laundry rooms. But now things have changed, everyone needs privacy. So now there is ensuite laundry.
I don't know about that. People are into cutting corners...er, I mean, "saving money" even more now. Compare the size of flats built in the 70s to those built now. Purpose-built rental, I'm talking.
Though, you could compare condos built then to those built now and get the same move towards hotel room size or whatever is going on. Smaller units now but include ensuite laundry.

Yo, did you guys in the 70s not launder clothing as often as the later generations?
 

SunriseChampion

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It's a cultural/North American thing, which may potentially be impacted by American appliance producers as well. In many parts of the world not as affluent as Canada the concept of shared laundry/laundromats simply don't exist. Interestingly, in Europe, for example, washers cost much less, are much smaller normally and A LOT more durable.
I'm actually thinking of buying a small dishwasher and a small washer or washer/dryer when I move into my next place which doesn't have ensuite laundry. (I mean, I applied for the flat today, hope I get it because my realtor hasn't found me anything. I'm not too pleased to be moving into a building that I lived in 12 years ago and paying 1000/mth more than I was paying then, but it beats homelessness).

Do you know of anywhere that sells smaller, portable washing appliances?

I think it's a cultural thing as well. I'm pretty familiar with central Europe and there it's very common to have ensuite laundry, even in buildings that predate Canada.
That's why I was wondering, if it's a cultural thing, then why is laundering seen as less important for tenants here?
 

SunriseChampion

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Manulife Centre has laundry rooms, but their furnished apartments have a washer/dryer. After living for years in more recent condos, I don't mind. The laundry gets done a lot faster because the machines are larger and more powerful. And also I have things I didn't have in those newer buildings - a full 240 V in the kitchen, PTAC units that allow me to switch to/from heat or air conditioning at any time, not to mention better management and, actually, more respect and faster service than I ever had in a condo either as an owner or as a tenant.
Damn, I'm starting to think I should have looked into your building when you told me to. ;)
 

SunriseChampion

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I live in a building of a certain age, the waterlines could not handle the demand if 1/2 the units had washers going or dishwashers going.

For the oldest buildings, those amenities were rare or a new thing when many were built. I know my grandmother got her first washing machine from Sears in the mid-60s, and many Toronto apartment blocks predate this.

I suspect there was another factor at work, which is that water (as with electricity until the last decade or so) was not historically submetered in Toronto buildings.

Landlords would want some control over a cost they bare, where practical.

So why was there no provision made for this in bulding design, or in later renovations?
I've stayed with family in central Europe who live in midrise buildings anywhere from 60 to 100 years old and all have ensuite laundry.
 

SunriseChampion

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Makes sense. In my experience, the 80s saw the pinnacle of multi-unit residential design. Definitely in terms of function.
 
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