Plumbing Tips

Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Marland via Flickr

Remodeling your bathroom gives you the opportunity to make beneficial plumbing changes. Unfortunately, the process can also lead to a plumbing disaster if a knowledgeable professional isn’t consulted. A bathroom remodel represents a very large, and potentially very expensive, home improvement project. When major fixtures (sinks or toilets, for example) change location, it is very likely that you will also need to rework the plumbing in this area of your home. Before you decide how to remodel your bathroom, consider the following key factors, which are commonly overlooked when a bathroom is redesigned.

Hiding Fixtures – Or Not

We’re starting off with a consideration for style that has minimal effect on a plumbing redesign. Water lines attach to appliances (think behind a sink) and can either be hidden or left out in the open. If you leave them exposed, they can give a rustic or industrial feel. Leaving them hidden gives your space more of a modern look (We’ve seen both around Denver and think they work equally well). A plumber can shorten or lengthen lines, depending on which of these options you choose. For an experienced professional, this is a quick and easy task. However, it is not a choice that can be easily reversed. Make sure your design direction is set before making a decision. 

Choosing a Shower

Bathtubs and traditional curbed showers are being forgotten in favor of curbless showers, or showers with no step up when you enter. If you’d like to install a curbless shower, and we think they’re great, you should know ahead of time that the job is difficult.

The biggest challenge is that this type of shower requires a sloped shower pan. On a wooden floor, this is accomplished with a pre-made pan, but in order to install a sloped shower pan over concrete floors, you will need to remove old concrete and have a new shower pan poured. In either situation, it’s crucial to make sure your pan slope is one-quarter inch per foot of shower. Failure to do this will allow water to leak out of your shower and cause extensive damage to the surrounding floor.

Moving a Toilet

Moving the toilet to a separate private room is a popular request when doing a bathroom remodel, but many Coloradans are unaware of what is required to move a toilet. Three main obstacles to address are the waste pipe, vent pipe and water lines.

To move the waste pipe and toilet flange will require a rework of the plumbing connection to the main drainage system. It starts by ripping up the floor, cutting and refitting pipes, and then running plumbing so that it does not interfere with your floor’s foundation. If the distance from the main waste stack is substantial, this can be quite the task.

Water lines are much easier to reposition. They’re smaller, and unlike waste pipes, they do not carry unsavory materials. An extension of external lines will often suffice if the toilet relocation isn’t dramatic, but reworking pipe behind the wall and off the main supply line may become necessary.

You’ll need to check your Denver locale’s housing code regarding vent position, as the requirements differ from one township to the next. Put simply, your toilet must vent into the home’s main vent stack, but specifications on vent position, slant, and size can all vary. This may require removing the interior of your bathroom wall to rework vents, depending on how far the toilet is from its original position.

Increase Drain Size if Possible

Increased drain size can help avoid chronically clogged sinks or showers. Ask your plumber if a drain upgrade will work with your proposed design changes. In certain cases, it might not be a viable option due to preexisting plumbing, but in other cases, it can make a world of difference.

Before you make any decisions during a bathroom remodel, we encourage you to consider these four factors. It can save you money and also ensure that your bathroom turns out the way you’ve envisioned it. Be sure to hire a quality plumbing service that is aware of small details, such as local regulations and proper drain slopes. Failure to do so can be both costly and destructive.

If you’re looking for a high quality plumbing service in the Denver area to assist in remodeling your bathroom, give us a call. We’re here to support you in the decision-making process.