Bathroom remodeling is an exciting undertaking that can transform your living space. Whether you want to create a spa-like ambiance or make your bathroom more efficient, a remodeling project is the perfect opportunity to introduce the best innovations to your lavatory.

One of the most essential steps is to consider your bathroom plumbing. Bathrooms tend to have more faucets, fixtures, and pipes than anywhere else other than the kitchen and laundry room. The last thing you want is to embark on a remodeling job that results in flooding or structural issues for your home. But given the complex nature of plumbing, how does one know where to start when it comes to the bathroom? Looking at the top factors to keep in mind can guide you as you commence your next renovation project.

Structural Considerations

The first step in preparing your bathroom for renovation is anticipating any structural challenges for plumbing. Experts recommend taking photos of each section of your bathroom and consulting with a plumber about where you wish to place certain fixtures. For example, our plumbers might advise against placing a bathtub in an area where the joists are too tight. This problem could result in difficulties completing cement-pipe connections or installing the tub with measurements of your preferred size.

Similarly, installing a new shower stall requires a shower base with the correct angles for adequate drainage. If you plan to install a mounted toilet, this fixture requires enough space for a hidden or recessed drain system. By understanding the layout and design of your bathroom ahead of time, our plumbers can determine what it takes to reconfigure any components relative to your square footage and budget.

Relocation of Plumbing Fixtures

Another major factor is the relocation of plumbing fixtures. Switching the location of fixtures can require more extensive labor and the purchase of additional fittings. It can also increase the turnaround time for your renovation project. For example, moving a toilet against a different wall will require the refitting of pipes. Our plumber will also need to move or change the vents and rework the wall to position the vents. Finally, relocating most fixtures requires modifying existing water lines and drain lines. A professional can help you determine which relocation ideas are most feasible.

Plumbing Pipe Placement

Pipe placement is a critical consideration for any remodeling project. Some plumbers prefer to place pipes along external walls to accommodate spacing or configuration needs. However, this practice is more complicated in colder areas where external pipes may freeze during the winter. If you still prefer external pipes, be prepared to keep them well-insulated during cold weather.

Plumbing Line Layout

It is also important to consider line layout. For most homeowners, this comes down to deciding whether to hide or expose plumbing lines. Hiding plumbing lines behind vanity pipes or cabinetry can help keep your bathroom seamless and neat. This is also the most common layout found in kitchens. On the other hand, exposed plumbing can help give your space an industrial feel and help make the bathroom look more spacious. Some homeowners also prefer exposed pipes since they make it easier to identify plumbing leaks that might have otherwise remained concealed behind cabinets or fixtures.

Enlarging Drain Size

As you prepare to remodel your restroom, another consideration is to think about enlarging the drain size of your plumbing. While the standard drain size is 1.5 inches, this diameter can start narrowing due to debris and hair accumulation. As the drain size becomes smaller, it can increase the risk of clogs. Upgrading the drain size to 2 inches may reduce the likelihood of repeated obstructions and maintenance calls in the future.

Piping Materials

If your house is older or you have already experienced plumbing problems, you may wish to implement new piping materials throughout your bathroom. We can evaluate the current condition of your pipes before any remodeling. Characteristics to check for include signs of leaks, tears, ruptures, corrosion, or rust. If there are any signs of damage, we may suggest introducing a new plumbing system.

There is no point in remodeling a bathroom, only to leave the same corroded lead, polybutylene, or galvanized steel pipes intact. Instead, many homeowners choose to upgrade to PEX piping. As an abbreviation of cross-linked polyethylene, PEX piping is versatile and has a longer lifespan than other traditional piping materials. It is also easy for a plumber to extend or reroute PEX piping during future upgrades.

Water Pressure

Water pressure is an essential factor to consider during the remodeling process. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the recommended range for home water pressure is 45-60 pounds per square inch (PSI). Water pressure that is too low can make it difficult to complete basic tasks, but water pressure that is too high can damage plumbing and pipes. Before renovating a restroom, ask us about installing a home pressure regulator. This device can help ensure the water pressure remains at ideal levels.

We can also check the conditioner of your main water supply line and upgrade to a larger diameter if there are existing pressure issues. Likewise, our plumbers can also check the flow rate of all fixtures. Items like rain showerheads or jet sprays may require a higher flow rate, so we can install a water pressure booster pump if needed. Finally, we can also check the condition of any water shut-off valves. These devices should sit close to any new fixtures and contain minimal bends or restrictions to water flow.

Water Heater

Remodeling a bathroom or adding new fixtures may alter your household’s hot water demands. For example, multi-jet showers or oversized tubs can require longer heating or a greater supply. Each type of water heater has its own capabilities based on size, age, and condition. If you have an older traditional storage tank heater, consider upgrading to a tankless (or “on-demand”) water heater to accommodate your new restroom amenities.

Plumbing Access Panels

Talk to your plumber about installing new access panels as part of your bathroom remodel. These checkpoints provide a convenient way to reach pipes or plumbing for routine maintenance or emergency repairs. A professional can open or close the panel with minimal damage to your property. Types of access panels include valves, drain traps, and fixtures. Shut-off valve access panels allow plumbers to reach the valve of your sink, tub, or shower to fix leaks or repair faucets. Drain trap panels help plumbers easily access the p-traps that help keep sewer gas from seeping back into the home. Finally, access panels for hidden fixtures help plumbers reach concealed wires or ducts for repair.

Smart Features

Smart technology is one of the most exciting considerations for your bathroom remodeling project. Different types of smart technology can make the functionality of your restroom more sustainable or efficient. For example, smart faucets connect to Wi-Fi systems or smartphones so that homeowners can monitor faucet operation, water output, or temperature. Smart faucets come in both voice-controlled and motion-activated varieties. Similarly, smart fixtures can include sensors and timers that help regulate water flow and temperature to reduce waste.

Contact Us Today

Remodeling your restroom is a rewarding endeavor that can transform one of your home’s most frequently used rooms into an oasis of comfort and style. While some plumbing considerations may feel overwhelming, our experts are here to help. Southport Home Services provides bathroom remodeling services for homes in Madison, WI and surrounding areas. Our plumbers offer expert help with all facets of renovation, including the installation and configuration of fixtures, sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets.

We can also re-pipe your bathroom and provide drain replacement or repair. In addition, our plumbers offer water heater services and water treatment systems to ensure the best quality. No matter the remodeling issue, we can help. Contact Southport Home Services today for all your plumbing needs.

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Thomas Suchla
Thomas Suchla


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