When people start planning a bathroom remodel, they often focus on aesthetics but not on practical points of the process. You may spend hours agonizing over whether you want a basin sink or a waterfall faucet and choosing the style of bathtub, but overlook the functional aspects of this process.
Kitchen remodels often have similar issues. You may end up so excited about that boiling water on demand tap or the ice-maker in the fridge that you fail to consider if your plumbing will support the gadgets you covet. All too often, people overlook a critical aspect of the functionality of kitchens and bathrooms: the plumbing. Rather than falling into this category, keep the following tips in mind and be sure to keep plumbing at the top of your list of considerations during your home remodel.
Don't Set a Budget Until You've Talked to a Plumber
One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning a bathroom or kitchen remodel is planning a budget that doesn't reflect all the work beneath the surface. While you don't want to overwhelm yourself researching the details of kinds of piping and the benefits of different products, you want to inform yourself about what's going on beneath the surface.
Much of the work and expense involved in upgrading and updating a bathroom actually comes from plumbing. If you're on a fixed budget, it's generally a better plan to invest in quality upgrades to your plumbing and slowly make aesthetic changes in the future as you can afford them. After all, what good is that fancy shower if your old pipes leave you with subpar water pressure?
Don't Assume Pipes Are Fine Because They Look Okay
One pitfall for many homeowners is that they assume the existing pipes in their kitchen or bathroom will suffice. Just because you haven't had a leak and can't see any signs of damage doesn't mean your plumbing doesn't require an upgrade.
Cast iron drains, for example, can experience high levels of interior deterioration while appearing okay on the outside. That means pipes that look healthy could fail at any moment, ruining your freshly remodeled space. Galvanized pipes in general don't have an incredibly long lifespan. Anytime you need to update your bathroom, you likely need to replace the galvanized pipes as well. Often, this means the whole pipe run, as joints will freeze due to corrosion, making piecemeal replacement impossible.
Copper pipes have a longer life, but their appearance can be deceiving. If you have hard water, mineral deposits can result in copper pipes corroding from the inside out. If your plumbing included news PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) piping, those may not need replacing. Professional evaluation is still recommended.
New and Existing Fixtures May Require Plumbing Upgrades
Even if you already have water supply and drain pipes in place for a tub or a water-dispensing fridge, those pipes may require replacement or upgrades. In areas around showers, tubs and other applications prone to water leakage or damage, flooring and other surfaces may require replacing as well. Sometimes, the damage isn't clear until the old tub gets moved, and then you realize that you need not only new flooring but also structural repairs to ensure the safety and structural integrity of your home.
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