So Fresh & So Clean, Clean

Well, our new washer and dryer have arrived! And we promised to share how the installation went, what we did with the floors under them, and how we like them so far (that’s where things really get interesting). We realized a few days ago that we’ve had a whole bunch of different laundry situations. In our first house we had front loaders with a counter

In our second house we had stacked front loaders with cubbies next to them

… and in this house we’ve had top loaders with cabinetry above them. Here are the new guys sitting pretty (although not quite as pretty as the others since we haven’t tackled the rest of this nook yet).

Honestly, each of these setups have had pros and cons:

  • We loved having a counter over our first house’s front loaders, but it usually ended up cluttered with stuff (it became sort of a dump-this-here-until-we-deal-with-it-later zone). And this setup required the most bending, which wasn’t that bad at the time, but now that we’ve had top loaders a while, we definitely can appreciate less of that.
  • Our stacked loaders were nice because we had cubbies for storing everything we needed, which didn’t tend to get cluttered like the counter (there just wasn’t space to drop grocery bags, returns, and other random items there). There was still a fair amount of bending and lifting when it came to doing laundry, but again – at the time it was just fine, and we really only realized how nice top loaders were once we moved here.
  • The obvious con to top loaders is that there’s no place for a counter, which we did really like having, but we still have the top of the dryer to work with (we can put the laundry basket there for example – or lay things out to air dry). The cabinets might be our favorite storage solution (as compared to open cubbies or pull-up blinds) just because everything is tucked out of view but still really easy-access.

*Note: We got some questions on Friday’s post about why we don’t bring our appliances with us when we move. It seems to be one of those regional things. Here people tend to leave them, but it’s not like you leave nice ones without getting anything in return for them – it’s just factored into the listing price here (a seller can command a higher asking price by saying “there are new top of the line appliances” which obviously add a lot of appeal/value).

But now onto our new washer and dryer! When it came to delivery, the guys were really nice, although I did realize about half-way through it that I needed to lay down a dropcloth to protect the runner, even though they wore those nice little shoe-booties (the runner was getting dripped on by the old appliances as they came down – but it was thankfully nothing I couldn’t just wipe down to remove). With the booties/dropcloth combo it looks like a slip-n-slide situation (I begged them to take off their booties because I was afraid they’d fall) but thankfully they went slow and steady and all was fine. Turns out I’m just a worry wart.

You might remember that we couldn’t wait to get the old appliances up and out of there so we could finally replace the old pan under the washer and remove the remaining carpet scraps that were sitting under the dryer.

We decided that laying down some thick 3/4″ plywood (which is the same depth as our hardwoods) would be a nice way to give that particle-board subflooring a more finished look – especially since we could stain it to match the floors so well (we used one coat of Dark Walnut followed by three coats of SafeCoat Acrylacq to seal them). We actually added plywood under our last washer and dryer (more on that here) since we heard it was easier on them to have reinforced flooring (something about them lasting longer) so we’re hoping it gives these a leg-up.

As soon as the guys carried our old appliances downstairs we ran up into the laundry nook for a quick floor presto-change-o, which we did in a blind panic because we knew it would only take them a few minutes to get the old ones downstairs and the new ones upstairs. First we had to remove the old carpeting, which was more secure than we expected (John actually had to scrape up the staples in a mad-dash after we yanked up the carpet and underlayment). Look at him go:

Then we had to get the boards down. Here’s the first one going in. We had pre-measured them and stained/sealed them beforehand so they were all ready to slide into place when the appliances came up.

The second one went right in after the first, but there’s still a small gap that we have to fill where the molding jutted out too far for us to get a flush result. We hope it’ll look nice and complete once we slide that missing piece in (we’re just going to cut one more slice of plywood and stain it to match). Wish we had time to prime and paint that blue trim hiding in the nook while the old washers were out, but it might have to wait for a rainy day…

When you step a little further back, you can hardly tell it’s not the same hardwood flooring running under those appliances (we didn’t photoshop the crack out of this pic, it’s just barely noticeable from this distance). And we’re really happy with how well the color matches. We also plan to add some nice white folding doors (there were some blue ones hanging there originally) so that’s another reason we thought the subtle flooring change should work really well.

As for leak protection, since these guys are on the second floor (and we REALLY REALLY don’t want them to cause damage to anything below them, we were sure to place the washer in a plastic water-catching basin and also upgraded to those nicer reinforced steel water lines instead of the plastic ones.

The crazy thing is that during installation there was actually a small leak where it was attached to our water line, but we caught it while the installer was still here, and he ducked back there and fixed it by tightening things a little. The lesson? Check those lines!

So now onto the fun stuff: how we like our new washer and dryer! Well, we LOVE the dryer so far. It has been quieter, has a much larger capacity, doesn’t shrink things nearly as much as our older one did (that one practically “burned” things and this one has a heat sensor so it doesn’t over-dry). I also love the charming little chime sound it makes when it’s done (which can still be silenced, but it’s so much better than the loud buzz that our old one made).

We also really like the digital setup of the washer and the dryer. It’s easy to see things, like how long each cycle still has left.

The washer’s capacity is also really awesome. It fits a lot more than any of our previous models (especially the old one we were replacing).

And now for the womp-womp. Remember how I worried that bad things happen in threes? Well, our new washer is broken. I’ll pause for effect, as I quietly weep into my dirty laundry pile. The installation just included starting it to make sure there were no leaks when it filled up, but they didn’t stay to watch it run a full cycle (which is completely understandable… that would be close to an hour of washer-watching time).

So imagine our surprise when we ran our first real load of laundry well after they had pulled out of our driveway and heard a crazy-loud grinding sound during the wash cycle (whenever the agitator is moving, there’s this jarring metal-against-metal sound). You can hear it all the way from downstairs with the TV or radio blaring.

I woefully called Home Depot to tell them we already had a problem and they told us to call Maytag, who told us they could get a tech out in seven days. Ack! A full week without a working washer after buying a new one and expecting it to run without issue? I sweetly asked if they could get that service call moved up a bit since we were expecting a working machine upon delivery (our laundry had built-up a bunch already, so the prospect of another seven days of waiting stunk) and they said we could call Home Depot and see if they could do anything. I explained that I called them first, but would try one more time.

Well, when HD heard it was going to be a week until Maytag could make a service call (which might not even fix things, it might just diagnose that I needed a new machine, which then had to be ordered) – I could feel them trying to work something out for me, which I really appreciated. They had mercy on my sweet laundry-missing soul and agreed to take back the first one and deliver a new one on Thursday.

I’m really happy with Home Depot’s customer service (I’m sure it’s a lot easier for them to just say “call Maytag, it’s a mechanical issue that they’re supposed to handle) and I have to be honest that I wish Maytag had been able to come out for a service call within 48 hours or so, which is what I expected when my brain reached that “oh snap, our brand new washer is broken” moment.

So that’s where we are. Still sleepless in Seattle washerless in Richmond, but we love our dryer and the new flooring under it. And here’s hoping that by Thursday I’ll be whistling while I work that new washer. I’ve never looked forward to doing laundry this much in my life! Have you guys had any unexpected delivery or new-appliance issues? We’re happier than ever that ours have a one-year warranty given this little curve-ball, but we hope this third house snafu means we have all of our bad luck out of the way for a while…


Sidenote: We’d love to see you guys this weekend at the Richmond Home & Garden Show! We’re speaking at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday (with a book signing following Saturday’s talk). You can get half-price tickets online right here. Oh and they gave us the shock of our life when we were driving down the highway and saw our giant faces on a billboard.

Seriously, we screamed so loud it probably scared other drivers. It’s exciting, unbelievable, and terrifying to see your own mug that big.


    • Jeff says

      also, I’d be surprised too if i saw my face on a billboard! Were you aware that you would be up there?

    • says

      Nope, no idea! We also just heard our names on the radio when someone was talking about the show and we were like “did the radio just say “John and Sherry Petersik?!” – so crazy!


    • says

      When you agree to speak at a home show you provide an image of yourself, knowing they’ll use it to promote the show, but you never know where it’ll pop up! We never imagined they’d do billboards, but we don’t mind at all – it was just a shock at first! Haha!


  1. Brittany says

    Oh I need to know what that noise is! We moved in our home about 6 months ago, and our washing machine has been making almost that same noise since we have been there. The machine works fine, but it sounds like someone is beating our house down, or a robot is trying to climb out of the machine.

    Hope it gets fixed quick!

  2. says

    Arrghhh! I would have literally cried when I heard the grinding noise. You guys are amazing for pulling off the floor switch-o-roo so fast. I’m super glad HD handled it for you. I dream of the day we can buy a new energy efficient washer!

  3. Ashley says

    Do you ever want to “name drop” when you experience an issue like this? In the spirit of Reese Witherspoon’s “you’re about to find out who I am.”

    • says

      Oh man, never! I’m shy about having complaints, so I like to be as anonymous as possible when making these sorts of calls (I’m the girl who apologizes when I’m making a return, haha!). John is even more shy, so I’m known as the “negotiator” around here, but I just like to use logic and see what they can do for me (ex: this washer is new, I thought it would work when it arrived and I’m sad that it’s broken). I think it would actually be really lame if companies helped us out just because of who we are – they should help anyone out who has an issue with their product!


    • Ashley says

      I 100% agree with you and have had nothing but awesome customer service from Home Depot (and Lowes). So glad that you’re getting your washer fixed/replaced. That’s also why I always get the extended warranty- it definitely pays for itself especially with all of the electronics, buttons, and panels that can fail on these fancy new machines.

    • betty says

      I apologize about returns too!! when i’m mad, i’ll have my fiancé deal with it. even when im soooo frustrated, I cant stand being anything but polite to someone. I guess that’s a good thing haha

    • says

      I disagree about the extended warranty. Consumer Reports says these are “notoriously bad deals,” since a product that’s going to break usually breaks within the regular warranty period (like this new washer just did). ( Also, on general principles, I don’t think it makes sense to buy insurance (which is basically what an extended warranty is) to cover a risk that you can afford to take. Yes, you risk having to pay for a repair, but a repair isn’t going to bankrupt you. Plus extended warranties tend to be loaded with exceptions, so there’s a good chance a repair won’t even be covered.

    • says

      Yes, I’ve read that in Consumer Reports too (it’s why we don’t usually buy them – and in 8 years of our old washer and dryer we never needed any extended help). But after this debacle I can see how the peace of mind would be nice. I think it just depends on the person and what they feel most comfortable with :)


    • kim says

      I would stay anonymous on the phone too unless I had bad customer service. Then I probably would have hollered “my face is on a flippin’ billboard.” I forgot about Reese Witherspoon- too funny!

    • says

      Fingers crossed! I keep saying to John “can you imagine if the new one comes and it does the same thing and it’s an entire bad shipment or something?!” – I like to think since it’s a third bad thing that our luck will turn around though. Here’s hoping!


    • Kristin says

      That’s funny- maybe we just have bad luck with Whirlpool washers, but I bought a Duet washer and dryer from Lowe’s with the offered extended warranty and exactly 1 month before the warranty expired, it completed died. I ran into some issues because we purchased both items at an incredible sale price so Lowe’s would have lost money by replacing the washer and they just wanted to cut us a check, but eventually I convinced them to replace the unit. They gave me another Duet washer and 1 year and 2 months later, the digital panel broke (exactly why I cringed when you said you searched for that feature). I didn’t realize that the second machine didn’t come with the same extended warranty (idiot). Lowe’s suggested I contact Whirlpool since it was so close to the manufacturer’s warranty, but no dice. Eventually I think Lowe’s took pity on me (being overly pregnant and chasing my 2 year old around their store) and offered me a brand new unit that was a bit bigger and better at the cost of the upgrade (~$100). With our luck, I was happy to purchase the extended protection again. I much prefer to deal with the stores than the manufacturer’s and Lowe’s has officially won all of our future appliance purchases!! I <3 Lowe's.

  4. says

    What a huge letdown to have dealt with everything and be left with a broken washing machine.

    My washing machine is a hand me down from when my mother switched out to front loading ones. It’s ancient and dribbles a little water out with each load. However, it’s in an unfinished basement and leaks next to a floor drain, so I live with it.

    It would be nice to have something pretty, but I’ll take functional over pretty any day of the week.

  5. Erin says

    If you never had a working washing machine, then what were you drying to know that your new dryer already doesn’t shrink things as much as your old one?

    • says

      The clothes that were in the washer were wet when it made the noise and we shut it down, so I turned it off (it drained) and put that load of wet clothes in the dryer so they weren’t just sitting in the washer getting moldy :)


    • Heather says

      So in one load your clothes didn’t shrink? Isn’t that pretty much normal? I don’t think you can give an honest review of the dryer just yet (other than liking the chimes and the display). If you normally shrink a lot of clothes after one wash/dry then you guys are doing it wrong. :)

    • says

      The cotton shirts of mine that I sleep in (which I always had to stretch out before sliding them over my giant prego tummy) didn’t need to be stretched out this time! It certainly isn’t an exhaustive review – and probably isn’t even much of a selling feature of this dryer – it’s just that my last dryer was so hot and it sort of “burned” everything so it would need to be stretched out before wearing, and this one thankfully doesn’t do that. It has a sensor so it shuts off when it can tell things are dry instead of frying them :)


  6. Kristen P says

    This happened to us TWICE with our top load just like this but whirlpool before we bought our house. It broke a week after we got it – the lid locked shut halfway through a cycle with a water filled tub. Yikes! And again a few months later. We had to come up with a way to crack open the lid so we didn’t ruin our clothes because they wouldn’t come out to diagnose for a week! It was so awful and I also was never so excited to do laundry. When we bought our house it came with front loaders (also whirlpool), and knock on wood, they’re still going strong a year later. Hope this gets fixed soon! I feel for ya!

  7. Kiera says

    Sorry that its been so rough! Hopefully you are on your way to clean laundry bliss. I have a quick question on your washer. Does it auto lock as the cycle starts? I think all models do these days but it REALLY makes me want an old one that did not do that. I’m constantly dropping that one item on the way to the laundry room and needing to throw it in quick after the cycle started and I actually like to add detergent after the water has filled. Darn safety standards!

    • kathryn says

      My Maytag Bravos (top loader) will pause the cycle if you hit “pause” and unlock the top, but not drain. That way you can soak things (mine doesn’t have the soak setting) or add detergent if you want. If you cancel/stop the cycle it will then drain. I agree about the lock – I feel like I am constantly running in slow motion to get the random sock I just found into the machine before it locks. I never win ;)

    • Rose says

      I agree Kiera, I hate the new standard on washing machines! I really don’t remember hearing about that many washer related deaths, for one thing, and as a child-free couple my husband and I *really* don’t need that blasted lock. I have a pause function that I can push to release the lock without draining the water, but I’ve timed it and it takes something like 15 SECONDS before it will let me open the lid to drop in that last item. Sometimes I just want to take a crowbar to it. /rant

    • Linda says

      I know the auto lock is annoying, but….it’s a safety feature. And, I beg everyone who’s reading who has children or pets – before you turn on that washer or dryer, BE SURE you know where those kids/dogs/cats/bunnies are. Be absolutely, positively sure, please.

  8. says

    You guys are like magicians swapping out that flooring in between appliance moves! It looks awesome!

    I would’ve FREAKED and told them to bring me a new washer ASAP as soon as I heard that noise. I’m not laid back like y’all! LOL But I’m glad they agreed to replace it anyway and not make you do a repair. I don’t know if you guys got extended warranties but we did through HD on all of our appliances and they’ve paid for themselves 5x over. On major appliances, it’s a must for us. We would’ve racked up $1800 in VERY minor repairs this month alone. Our warranties expire in 3 weeks so I’m SOOO glad we got them for $100!

  9. Brooke says

    MAJOR bummer about the washer! :( I saw your billboard when we were up in Richmond about a month ago and my husband didn’t understand why I was so excited and squealing!then he said, oh are those the house love people? :) We live in Williamsburg, so I’m hoping we can make the trip up to see y’all! So fun.

    • says

      Ahhhh! It’s so crazy! And we only thought there was one and then we were going the other direction one day and saw another one and got scared all over again! Haha!


  10. cheri s in iowa says

    Where there any transportation screws that needed to be removed before running? We’ve had a problem similar to this, but luckily an easy fix!

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