When remodeling your home, you might discover some plumbing problems and issues that cause a lot more hassle then you had planned on. This is especially the case when talking about bathroom remodeling where a lot of the work done is hidden behind walls or under the floor.
Below are some of the plumbing pitfalls that are most likely to rear their ugly heads while in the process of remodeling your bathroom.
Depending on how old your existing plumbing is can greatly affect the cost of your bathroom remodeling project. If you have the cast-iron drain system, it might be on its last leg. Because cast iron comes in several grades, it may be hard to notice any deterioration until you get down to the remodeling. Cast iron will rot from the inside out, so you might think it’s fine, but it could have thin walls and could also fail at any moment. Tap the cast-iron pipe with a heavy screwdriver or steel wrench. A change in the tone indicates there is probably a buildup of solids inside the pipes or the thin walls have caused internal pipe corrosion. In either case, the pipes will need repairing or replacing.
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If you have galvanized pipes, they are usually ready to replace when you remodel the bathroom. The threaded galvanized pipe joints will need to have the entire pipe run replaced because the joints are usually clamped tight with corrosion and cannot be taken apart without breaking them. Never try tying into the older pipe because the potential for even more problems is great.
If you have copper piping, you might find that the mineral deposits left behind by hard water caused your copper pipes to corrode on the inside. This is truer if thin-wall copper tubing was used initially. You might also find corrosion at the soldered joints of the pipe.
You will run into a different problem with plastic water supply pipes. Polybutylene pipes have long been banned in the country, but if you have an older home, you might find your existing pipes are this type and still in use. New plumbing codes require that you replace this piping.
While remodeling the bathroom, removing your vanities and sinks should be pretty straightforward. If you run into problems it is usually with the pipe sizes and the corroded fittings that need different fittings than what the instruction book calls for. You can also run into a missing vent, a problem that tends to exist when the entire space was gutted out.
You might run into problems when replacing the sink as well. First, the sink might not fix properly in the existing cabinet space. This happens often if the sink came from a specialty shop or home improvement store. You might have to buy a new sink or cabinet. You also must inspect the fittings and pipes under the sink for potential problems. In many cases, your shut-offs are frozen open which will make replacing them difficult, especially if you don’t have a primary shutoff. You have to remember that disturbing the corroded and old fittings can cause even more problems with the plumbing. When in doubt, it is always better to plan on replacing all the supplies.
Remodeling can uncover a world of plumbing problems for any homeowner. If you feel uncertain about how to repair the problem, always call a professional plumber.