Understanding the plumbing implications of bathroom design decisions

blue bathRearranging the layout for a bathroom overhaul isn’t a simple task, and drastic changes to infrastructure can lead to renovation sticker shock.

Contractors might try to point out expensive alterations you’ve added to the plans, but follow these simple tips and you’ll minimize “behind the wall” costs for your bathroom makeover.

Dealing with antiquated or aging pipes

In older homes, ripping out the shower, toilet and sink may necessitate the replacement of corroded or outdated piping – even if you do not plan to rearrange the location of your fixtures.

Always plan for the worst and allocate funds to pay for a full overhaul should it be required.

Pro Tip: Even if your contractor says the old pipes are “OK”, it’s often a smart move to upgrade anyway. Just because your pipes aren’t in dire need of replacement now doesn’t mean they won’t be 5 years down the road.

Installing a complete walk-in shower experience

From dual shower heads to body jets, massagers, misters and more, modern fixture technology can convert your shower into a spa-like experience. However, all this good stuff requires water pressure within the 30-80psi range.

While installing a water pressure tank is a reasonably easy fix for a low flow home, it is an additional expense. The good news is that most municipal water supplies provide around 60psi so this is generally a non-issue.

Along the same lines, if your new setup requires substantially more water you may consider replacing ½ inch pipes with ¾ inch for peak performance.

The big soak

Luxurious stand-alone tubs and whirlpools are an excellent addition to any bathroom but an extra-large tub might also require a larger water heater to meet your needs.

Note that additional usage in the bathroom could lead to availability issues for simultaneous hot water usage in the kitchen or laundry room.

Then again, this could be a great time to upgrade to an energy-saving on-demand system!

Your ace in the hole

An alternative solution to low pressure or hot water shortage is to install efficient WaterSense fixtures and toilets.

Just look for the WaterSense label and you’ll be doing your part for the environment while lowering your water bill and reducing the risk of unforeseen renovation expenses.

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