8 plumbing questions to answer before your next remodel
If you’re looking to remodel your bathroom, you’re in good company. The number of people remodeling is on the rise after the real estate market recovery; and, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, US families are spending, on average, $16,000, per bathroom, to do it.
With that kind of money on the line, it’s important not to make expensive remodeling mistakes. In nearly every case, those mistakes come from failing to think through your plumbing needs, or buying the wrong plumbing products for the job. So, before you sign on the dotted line for your next project, consider these not-so-insignificant details:
#1– How big are your drains?
Sure, 1.5 inch drains are the industry standard and what is put in most new constructions. But consider, in a bathroom the size of your drain gets diminished by hair and debris. Upgrading to a 2-inch drain is not a big cost consideration, but it can cut down on your maintenance down the road.
#2 – Do you want recessed medicine cabinets?
Medicine cabinets that are recessed in the wall can be huge space savers and provide a more polished look for your bathroom. But, if you’ve installed your vanity pipes running straight down the wall behind the vanity, you won’t be able to have them. If a recessed cabinet is on your wish list, plan in advance to have your pipes routed through a different area.
#3– Do you want hanging toilets, or traditional floor mounted toilets?
Last minute decisions on this question are not practical. Think this one through in advance. Wall mounted toilets have hidden and recessed drain systems that traditional toilets do not have. Choosing your toilet should be one of the earliest decisions you make.
#4– Is your shower floor properly drained?
With so many people putting in tiled shower floors, many forget that you need a properly angled slope to drain the water at the right rate. Make sure you ask the right questions of your tiling professional, and plan your drainage system well.
#5– What kind of under cabinet storage will you have, and how will that interact with your vanity pipes?
Consider carefully your choice of vanity. Many bathroom remodels have been scuttled by pipes that protrude too far into a vanity’s undercarriage. We often recommend that customers either get the most compact pipe assembly possible, or they buy a vanity with drawers instead of doors. It is easy to cut out drawers around pipes while still getting the most of your storage.
#6 – Are you putting a bidet or a water softener system?
Some bidets are separate bowls entirely from the toilet, and others have an additional water line that snakes into the toilet bowl. And water softeners can also require extra plumbing, as well. Make sure you think through those decisions before your bathroom remodel gets too far along.
#7 – Are your pipes to the bathroom running along an exterior wall?
This is something that’s not generally recommend. Pipes on an exterior wall are far more prone to freezing in cold weather. However, if there is no other alternative in your design plan, then make sure your walls be heavily insulated and the pipes wrapped to shield them from the elements.
#8– Are you installing that bathroom in a basement or in a home that is on a slab?
Plumbing changes that have to run through the floor of a basement can be the most costly plumbing work of all, often necessitating jackhammering of your concrete floor, and the installation of entirely new drainage systems. During the process, homeowners often discover that the plumbing lines running to the outside of their home and to the sewer have collapsed or become compromised with tree roots and the like. If you are embarking on this kind of renovation, it is wise to budget in extra money to deal with nasty renovation surprises.