When you’re busy picking out new cabinetry and paint colors, it’s easy to overlook one of the most critical parts of a bathroom remodel project: the plumbing. A well-designed plumbing system is a big part of what will make your new bathroom a relaxing oasis rather than a source of constant frustration. A little guidance from a plumbing pro will help ensure the job goes smoothly.
1. Know Your Pipes
The type and condition of your pipes significantly affect the cost of your bathroom remodel project. Find out what kind of pipes you have and what condition they’re in. Many of the cast iron systems still in use are overdue for replacement. Galvanized pipes can work reliably for 60 years or longer, but cheaper versions often fail after 30 years. Copper pipes can last as long as galvanized ones, but corrosion caused by hard water can shorten their lifespan. Depending on your local building codes, you might have to replace old plastic pipes.
2. Upgrade for Efficiency
Keeping up with the trends isn’t the only reason to upgrade your plumbing fixtures. If your faucets and showerheads are more than 15 years old, they’re not only nearing the end of their life expectancy but also wasting water. While your toilet might still be in good shape, it’s also likely to be less water-efficient than a new model. Consider replacing your older fixtures with new models that carry the EPA WaterSense label. WaterSense-labeled showerheads use 20 percent less water than standard models, which helps cut down on your energy bills, too.
3. Rethink Your Water Heater
If you’re constantly running out of hot water in the middle of your shower despite having modern, water-efficient showerheads, your bathroom remodel is a good time to upgrade your water heater. Most families need at least a 40-gallon tank. Your family might need something bigger. A tankless water heater is a great option, but the number of fixtures or appliances one tank can supply simultaneously depends on the tank’s size.
4. Choose Your Shower Wisely
Curbless showers are in style now and popular for their ease of use. However, installing one isn’t so easy. Unlike a standard shower base, which can sit on a flat floor, a curbless shower requires a sloped base. Building one usually means removing the floor first. The drain position is also critical. If the slope isn’t correct or the drain is in the wrong place, you’ll end up with water all over your bathroom. If you want to install one, it’s definitely a job for a professional and will cost more than a standard shower installation.
5. Work With a Pro for a Bathroom Remodel
A bathroom remodel or renovation isn’t the place to skimp on professional services. If your DIY (do-it-yourself) project goes wrong, you could destroy a pricy new fixture and cause extensive water damage. To minimize problems, talk with a licensed plumber early in the planning process. Professional plumbers can identify potential trouble spots you might have overlooked and advise you on choosing new fixtures. During the remodeling work itself, they’ll know exactly how to position and connect pipes, fixtures, and drains so they run trouble-free.
Before you dive into your bathroom remodel, con