Remodeling Plumbing

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Remodeling Your Kitchen and Bathrooms
Unresolved plumbing issues and problems can delay you remodeling project causing the cost of the job to change, most often in a increasing the cost. This is especially true of bathroom remodels, where much of the work is hidden behind walls and under floors, and where the number and variety of product choices is overwhelming.

Many contractors will readily quote a price or price range for a bathroom remodel without knowing any of the details, unrealistic expectations are set, they are hard to undo. There are too many factors and too many unseen or hidden issues to guesstimate the cost of a costly project. One of the most expensive upgrades to your home will be to the kitchen and master bathroom, you will also receive the most back when investing into these areas of your home.

Old Pipes Never Die
The age of the existing plumbing will greatly affect the cost of the upgrade work. Many cast-iron drain systems are on their last legs, but because cast iron comes in varying grades, its deteriorated condition may not be obvious. Cast iron rots from the inside out, so it may look okay but actually have very thin walls that could fail at any time. Tap the pipe somewhere other than the hubs with a steel wrench or heavy screwdriver: A change in tone frequently indicates either a buildup of solids within the pipe or thin walls caused by corrosion. In either case, the pipe may need to be repaired or replaced.

Galvanized pipes are usually ready for replacement when the bathroom is ready for updating. Plan on replacing the entire pipe run, because old threaded galvanized pipe joints are usually frozen tight from corrosion and can’t be disassembled without breaking. If you are considering not replacing the galvanized pipes, the potential problems can far outweigh the benefits of saving the pipe.

Copper supply lines can also fool you. In some areas of the country, mineral deposits from hard water will cause copper lines to corrode from the inside out, much like cast iron and galvanized pipe. This is especially true if thin-wall (type-M) copper tubing was used. Corrosion may, however, be visible at soldered joints.

Plastic water-supply pipe presents different problems. Polybutylene pipe has been banned for years in most areas of the country, but you may find existing installations that are still in use. In this case, our master plumber will know whether code requires this piping to be replaced. Newer systems plumbed with cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) have become the preferred method and is a relatively new material.

Fixtures
Sinks, vanities, tubs. Removing existing sinks and vanities is generally straightforward. Problems with pipe sizes and corroded fittings are common issues in remodeling your bathroom. Removing tubs is a little more involved, sometime the tub will need to be demolished to fit out of the doorway. And the same for the instilling the new tub, getting back into the bathroom can be a concern if it is bigger than the doorway itself.

Another problem to look out for is the sink, ensuring that it fits into an existing cabinet. This can happen whether the sink comes from a home improvement center or a specialty shop, the solution is a different sink or a new cabinet.

Often, the shutoffs are frozen open, making replacement more difficult, especially if there is no primary shutoff for the whole fixture group. Disturbing old and corroded fittings can cause problems down the line. When in doubt, plan on replacing the supplies.

Color match. One nice thing about white fixtures is that you can always match the color. Designer colors, on the other hand, seem to change about every five years or so, and matching a five-year-old color may be difficult at best and impossible at worst.

Shower valves and pans
Leaking shower valves and pans can cause tremendous damage to the structure, almost all of which may be hidden until the fixture is removed.

Crawlspaces
Inspecting the crawlspace can reveal significant problems and additional expense that later revealed would increase your budget. Most crawlspaces are dark and damp, and are accessible only with difficulty.