CLA Connect Open Forum

Subject: Build and design of service islands?

1.  Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-21-2017 12:43
If I was looking to rehab another store, who would you contact to design and build the service islands (if that is even the correct term) behind the banks of washers?

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Chris M
Norfolk VA
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2.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-21-2017 15:28
They correct term is bulkheads.  Duncan Fabricating Co.,  and High Mark Manufacturing Inc.,  and Caco  Manufacturing Corp. are the ones I know of.  They are all CLA members in the manufacturers directory.


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Nathan Brown
Store Owner/ Employee
Gloucester U-Do-It Laundry
Gloucester VA
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3.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-21-2017 18:55
Chris ,
why don't you consider build bulkhead yourself , it's easy ,fast ,least expensive ,last longer ,more sturdy  and very convienice when it come to service behind your washers. Get you a small "Lincoln " or "Miller "welding machine ,7018 welding rods and build it on site  ,you will love . If you ask me how much its cost me to build my own let say 20 feet long 2wide ,I would say $300 and 25 hours . Ask some welder in your area for a quote and make sure tell him no bolt weld only , you will surprise
All the bulkheads I built  will last a lifetime .
Fo9BzMyTrCtLSdDKHmiQ_IMG_1650.JPGoBTEnbdFSvyH9cpmmyeg_IMG_1649.JPGbbfLUy9yQrGV2dDF1lPp_IMG_1652.JPG
  hfS7TdOR6eAYaSy1MNbw_IMG_1647.JPG

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Linh Nguyen
Store Owner/ Employee
Mobile AL
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4.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-21-2017 19:57
I built one last year, mainly because I wanted it super thin so we could squeeze the units tighter. It's work, to be sure, and you need some skills, but it's all doable. And cheaper than buying.

But, and did I mention this already, it's a lot of WORK! Most of us just don't have the time to allocate to that kind of fabrication. That being said...I've got my eye on creating more hallway space in other stores, do I am getting my welding shop setup together at my warehouse for more of that pesky WORK!

P.S. The Pride in Accomplishment is massive, however. I really enjoy being good at stuff!

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QBdvokPTcqSkgUQRRRiA_IMG_7672.JPG

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Paul Pettefer
Store Owner/ Employee
Laundry World
Lake Charles LA
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5.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-21-2017 20:47
thumbnail image
I agree with building your own. I have all copper pipe and valves along with all electrical overhead. 3k for both units all in including labor and the copper.


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Peter H. Mayberry
Golden Horse Laundry
Council Bluffs IA
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6.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-21-2017 21:57
Edited by Michael Walsh 08-21-2017 21:59
I think building ones own framework can be a really good option like Linh & others suggest.  I agree with the variety of reasons.  What confuses me is when you talk about lifetime & mild steel 7018 welding rods is ... how do you avoid the possibility of rust?

We customized some of our bulkhead framework but when we did ... we used aluminum welding for some areas & bolting the aluminum with stainless steel bolts in some other areas.  We used aluminum because of it being more rust proof.  We would like to redo more of our 2x4 & 2x6 wooden (ugh) original framework & are even considering stainless steel to make it even more long term than aluminum ... although aluminum as long it is not continuously in soap & bleach water seems to be a winner.

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Michael Walsh www.kingkoin.com
Store Owner/ Employee
King Koin Laundry, Car n Dog Wash
Bismarck ND
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7.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-22-2017 00:15
Michael,
7018 welding rod is one the best welding material for many marine ship building including Navy war ship ,oil rig ,pipe line .etc .. its hold extremely well even in salt water .
 The bulkhead in double bank of washer I build it with 1/2" aluminum  flat bar , so it won't get rust .
 The bulkhead in single bank of washer I build it with mild steel angle it may get rust ,but if you take a closer look in that picture you may see all the legs didn't touch the concrete floor which mean no contact to water , I weld all the legs on side wall of washer's base and all welding in vertical position so there is no chance for standing water on my welds that's mean hard to get rust .
BTW , not all weld are the same its still depend on welding machine,welding material, wheather,weld position and especially welder

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Linh Nguyen
Store Owner/ Employee
Mobile AL
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8.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-22-2017 09:15
Steel studs are another option. Easy to work with and can be screwed together. One suggestion, your electric should be at the top. Above the water lines.

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Chris Mirisciotta
Store Owner/ Employee
Canon Coin Laundry
Canonsburg PA
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9.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-22-2017 09:49
  |   view attached
Chris,

I design and build my own bulkheads.  Proper design is most important followed by using durable materials.  I used 2x8 framing at the top as this is the area that houses the electrical lines and the hot and cold water lines.  I use a 12" wide trough drain built into the floor to handle waste water.  The top section is supported by 2x4 legs spaced so that they do not block access to the rear of any washer.  The electrical panel is on the outside of the bulkhead at one end.  The main hot and cold water lines come into the bulkhead from the floor on either side of the electrical panel.  The opposite end has a large door held onto the frame with a piano hinge and locked with a slide latch.  A LED light fixture is centered in the bulkhead with a switch next to the doorway.  See photo.

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Larry Adamski
Muskegon Laundromat
Spring Lake MI
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10.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-22-2017 10:58
Larry's proper design followed by durable materials is right on.  I suppose cost when it comes to stainless steel work could also come to play.  One of the reasons why we want to get away from wood is the extra volume of space it takes & also we would like to eliminate as much combustible & potentially insect (no no never us no chance!) harboring material.

A welder we have worked with in the past has a technique where he uses a special rod to successfully weld stainless to ordinary steel.  That could allow for the stainless only used at the base where occasional rust causing water could be.

One reason why I was not visualizing Linh's design with what I had in mind was the fact that his bases were different than our "forever" concrete bases.

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Michael Walsh www.kingkoin.com
Store Owner/ Employee
King Koin Laundry, Car n Dog Wash
Bismarck ND
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11.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-22-2017 13:21
What type of material/fasteners do you use to cover these bulkheads.  I have a section of bulkhead that is missing from where some top loaders uses to be and the previous owner used plywood to cover it.  Looks very amateurish compared to smooth fiberboard.

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Chris M
Norfolk VA
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12.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-22-2017 17:05
Edited by Larry Adamski 08-22-2017 17:32
Chris,

Back in the day, we used to cover the manifolds with a nice, wood-grained Formica.  However, we found that the edges/corners would chip rather easily and the chipped off piece often became lost making a nice repair of a minor chip very difficult.  Today, I use 1/2" plywood (very good on one side) to sheet the entire bulkhead as required.  The exterior (very smooth side) is then, trimmed out with 5/16" x 1/2" molding and then filled, primed and painted.  I find this makes a reduced maintenance bulkhead that even allows for any future color scheme changes.  My two bulkheads were built in 2008 and were repainted in 2014 for redecorating purposes.

I believe in making things low maintenance and adaptable.  What makes good sense today may be in my way tomorrow.  It may not be a good idea to fasten anything down too hard - given the way this world is changing.

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Larry Adamski
Muskegon Laundromat
Spring Lake MI
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13.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-22-2017 19:12
I had a horrible experience with Highmark manufacturing both on their bulkhead and trough.   Numerous problems, expensive and caused delays.

I would suggest building your own and perhaps working with a local cabinet shop to do the finishing work on panels exposed to the customers.

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Charles Measley
Store Owner/ Employee
Fluff and Fold
NJ
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14.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 08-23-2017 11:23
There is an art to bulkhead building.  After 50+ years we've made almost every mistake.

This isn't an advertisement, for I also understand those that are somewhat handy wishing to reduce cost and time by building your own, just make sure your'e actually doing that when building your own.

There are reasons we don't use plywood for laminate on our bulkheads.  Wilsonart and Formica to this day still recommend MDF/industrial flake/particle board in lieu of plywood for expansion/contraction issues, humidity compatibility, and delamination resistance.  It is important to assemble correctly.  Though many top covers look the same, they may not be produced the same.  Laminate edge banding goes on FIRST, not last.  As well, water barrier on the bottom side is mandatory.

If you care for your bulkhead to last, I recommend against wood frames.  Some use tubular steel, some aluminum, we've found that angle iron not only produces a solid frame but retrofitting and modification is much easier with angle than other metallic materials.

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John Duncan
Manufacturer Employee
Duncan Fabricating Co Inc
Birmingham AL
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15.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 11-10-2017 12:07

At the point that I will be rebuilding the bulkheads for ascetics, function/access and safety.  Recently had to change a pressure tube on a Dexter on a machine that was on the end of the row closest to the access door.  Job took 1.5 hours due to poor access.  Next had to swap out one shut off valve and it took over an 1 hour.  I had to lay on top of the bulkhead and the space was so cramped I could barely get two wrenches in and could only turn them a fraction at a time.  There are also many frozen valves, rusted clamps holding copper lines, exposed electrical and lots of dead electrical lines.  The shot off valves to each bulkhead are frozen open.  Drain pipes look fine but some venting pipes are old cast iron and rusted out so it is really venting into the bulk head.  Plus is is so cramped there is no way I could get into it to access the back of the machine.

The mat was originally filled with top loads and the original metal frames are completely rusted out and prior owners built over existing with wood at least 2 times while never removing any old frames.

The prior post are very helpful and I am leaning towards Larry's design simply because of lower cost and my carpentry skills are far superior to my non-existent metal fabricating skills.  The existing wood has been there a long time and there is minimal signs of rotting so I feel comfortable with this as a long term option.  For the shell, I will probably go with painted plywood or dense particle board.

What I would like to know is tips on running water supply and electrical lines.  What works, what doesn't work, etc.?  Lesson' learned? Ie, in another post Paulie suggested a shut off valve for washer normally used as a hose bib for exterior house.   Seems more durable than the big box silver valves.

The current layout is similar to Larry's pic with washers in a row beginning at the wall.  Both water and electric lines run above the drop ceiling and is feed down through the same interior wall the washer butt against.  Water lines then run the length of the bulkhead and are about 3' off the ground and dead center in the bulkhead.  Hence the reason I could never get in there.  For the electric, some of the lines go into an individual J-box with a shut off switch (standard home light switch) before connecting to the machine.  Not sure if that is the best design or even safe.  The 120v machines are plugged into a quad-box with some of the outlets not being used.

Would appreciate any tips and especially pictures.....I love the pictures.  Happy to provide email address if it's easier to send.  Just PM me.

Thanks

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John
Store Owner/ Employee
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16.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 30 days ago
7lGxDSPwSHiouYxWW3z7_IMG_2017.JPGHere we go John ! Simple,thin and open as it can get.
 Two service doors
 less frame as possible
 Stand the frame in between the two washers not in the middle of a washer , all the brace can be removed as needed.
 Top panel always easy to lift up
 everything must be able to support your body weight or at least 250 lbs .
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 Y13MboqLQFW4aTqRVDJE_IMG_2019.JPGnAbtN5rKSzOySWxCw9va_IMG_2022.JPGWs1Mwg2QqOPQmeofm6zw_IMG_1687.JPG

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Linh Nguyen
Store Owner/ Employee
Mobile AL
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17.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 29 days ago
Linh & others,

Good work!  I do have something inquisitive about your statement:

" Top panel always easy to lift up everything must be able to support your body weight or at least 250 lbs"

It appears you used 1/2" plywood for your top panels & each removable panel seem to have a maximum of 2' x 5'.  Am I wrong.  It seems like another material even stronger, thinner, lighter & more permanently attractive could be put in the plywood's place.  Not sure what that material is & how expensive it is ... for that purpose ... including possibly the end doors ...  but it seems like it might be available.

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Michael Walsh www.kingkoin.com
Store Owner/ Employee
King Koin Laundry, Car n Dog Wash
Bismarck ND
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18.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 29 days ago
Thanks Linh.  Pictures help a lot.  I like the stained wood.  I will send some before pics for laughs.  It's pretty bad.

The existing copper pipes and fittings look fine but could be 20 years old.  Does it make sense to reuse what I can or is that just a problem waiting to happen?  As you know, copper is $$$$$.  Was considering PEX but it seems like there is not enough readily available product in my area.


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John
Store Owner/ Employee
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19.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 28 days ago
Linh,

Good job.  Decisions over subjective semi-essentials (bulkhead covers) can bog down laundromat construction/retrofit, and it looks like you've produced what you feel works and looks the best without overdoing it or spending a fortune.

Lines of questioning to me on bulkhead cover appearances usually end with me saying something to the effect of "You want something durable, and what you want to look at in your laundromat.  Trust me, no one will walk in with a bag of clothes and say, 'Yeah, ya know... if you had only gone with laminate or at least a different color I'd wash my clothes here, I don't like your choice in paneling, so I'm gonna wash elsewhere'."


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John Duncan
Manufacturer Employee
Duncan Fabricating Co Inc
Birmingham AL
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20.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 28 days ago
Linh,
Why do your drains tie into a common PVC, instead of individually emptying to pit?  Seems like more restriction, and more work to unclog a machine.
Brian

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Brian DeCoster
Store Owner/ Employee
Laundromania
Iowa City IA
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21.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 27 days ago
Michael,
yes they are 1/2" finish plywood,29 " wide ,5' &7' long . And yes another martial is super light weight,extremely strong and every expensive ?it is aluminum panel ,we use this panel to build all the rooms for NAVY war ship , google or YouTube LCS  "littoral compact ship " even numbers  2,4,6,8 etc build by Autal USA in Mobile Al . They may not show inside ship but you will enjoy the videos .
John M ,
 nothing wrong with 20 years old copper pipes ,actually the copper pipes in my pictures is +35 years old and still working like first day , I'll definitely reuse it .
John D,
You right about that .
Brian ,
The best option is to let individually emptying on the pit but in this case  the pit is too wide (32") thus very hard to keep it clean and over the time it will get nasty and to the point that no one want to step on it and I don't want go to behind the washers with disgusting stuff especially when washers in use, I don't think the common PVC pipes will create any problems or affect the draining system because it very short distance only 3 washers on right side and 4 washers on left side and I also want to try something different to see how it works .i will post a picture of nasty pit in a store that I have visited and you will know why I'm doing this way .




​​

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Linh Nguyen
Store Owner/ Employee
Mobile AL
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22.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 27 days ago
Brian this what I'm try to avoid , I can't believe what's I'm seeing
PbzenrHRS65UOQWorffx_IMG_1906.JPG


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Linh Nguyen
Store Owner/ Employee
Mobile AL
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23.  RE: Build and design of service islands?

Posted 27 days ago
Ok. That's just nasty. That must reek too.

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John
Store Owner/ Employee
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