Plumbing Considerations For Your Next Bathroom Remodel

June 15, 2018

remodeled bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the most expensive home remodeling projects, largely because of the plumbing considerations. However, an updated bathroom is one of the projects that may increase the value of your home.

It's a matter of personal taste – and a lot of fun – to pick out the cabinets, tiles, and faucets. However, you should think through the less glamorous aspects of plumbing if you want to avoid unnecessary costs and potential delays.

Essential Plumbing Factors

When designing or working with existing plumbing, it's important to plan ahead and consider the following issues:

Placement of your toilet tank

This should be one of your first considerations – especially if you're moving the placement of your toilet or opting for a mounted tank this time around. Mounted tanks require hidden and/or recessed drain systems. You should plan them well in advance, especially concerning the placement of your other furnishings.

Choosing your drain size

You may not think about this any other time, but the standard drain size is 1.5 inches. It will likely narrow over time as hair and other debris inevitably collect on the sides. However, if you upgrade to a 2-inch drain, the cost up front is not that much more, and it may save money later down the road in maintenance calls.

Installing a shower floor drain

Tiled shower units with floor drains are increasingly popular. If you want to install a shower floor drain, the shower base will need the right angle for adequate drainage. Make sure that your installer knows how to properly slope the tiles.

Additional plumbing requirements

If you choose to install a bidet, you should know that some bidet bowls are completely separate while others have additional water lines that drain through the toilet. In either case, you will need additional plumbing.

Pipe placement

Sometimes plumbing pipes are placed along an exterior wall due to space or special configurations. This is not generally recommended if you live in a climate like New Jersey with cold weather because your pipes can freeze. If you must have pipes running along an exterior wall, ensure the walls are well-insulated, and your pipes are heavily wrapped.

Basement or slab

If your house has a basement or crawl space, you probably won't have any special issues with re-doing your plumbing. However, if your house sits on a slab, changing the plumbing system that runs through that slab can be very expensive; it may require jackhammering through concrete, re-doing the system, and then re-pouring the concrete. Either way, it's best to budget accordingly.

Placement of cabinetry

Your vanity style and placement are greatly affected by the drainage pipe assembly. If you want recessed cabinets, make sure your vanity pipes don't need to be installed where you want to put the recessed cabinet.

With any of these issues or any plumbing-related remodeling projects for your home, it's best to consult a professional plumber in your area. Investing in professional plumbing installation can save you from future headaches and unnecessary expenses.

FAQ for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

Now that you know the main considerations for your bathroom remodel plumbing, we can answer some of your most common questions about this project.

How Can I Confirm My Bathroom Has Enough Water Pressure?

If you want plumbing fixtures with optimal water pressure and flow rate, you should take note of these recommendations in your bathroom plumbing diagram:

  • Main Water Supply Line: Check the line's condition. Upgrade to a larger diameter, with leak-proof construction.
  • Fixtures: Add up the flow rate of all the fixtures. Rain showerheads and jetted tubs use higher flow, so you may need an additional water supply. If necessary, you should consider installing a larger water heater or a water pressure booster pump.
  • Shut-Off Valves: When you install valves, try to avoid adding too many bends or restrictions to water flow. Place the valves close to the fixture, and confirm they can fully open.

Can My Water Heater Handle the Increase in Demand?

Before you start to carry out a plumbing plan for a bathroom, you should confirm that your water heater plans can handle an increase in demand. Water heaters have varying capacities, depending on size, age, condition, and efficiency. Consider your water heater’s recovery rate as part of your calculations. 

If demand exceeds the ability of your water heater to provide hot water, you may have frequent changes in water temperature as the hot water stops. 

To avoid water damage in the bathroom and other inconvenient problems, consider upgrading your water heater to a tankless or hybrid model. These options give you a continuous hot water supply whenever you need it. In some cases, you may benefit from installing a second water heater.

How Do I Choose Ventilation for My New Bathroom?

You need proper ventilation as part of your bathroom renovation, to prevent the accumulation of moisture, mildew, and mold. Sufficient ventilation can also minimize corrosion of your plumbing fixtures. You may consider the following options:

  • Ceiling Exhaust Fans: Ceiling models offer the most common choice, with ventilation that draws out air and moisture and vents them through a duct.
  • Wall-Mount Exhaust Fans: Wall-mount options often work better for a small bathroom, as they can be installed on an exterior wall.
  • In-Line Exhaust Fans: For quiet operation or use in multiple bathrooms, in-line exhaust offers a convenient alternative. These fans are installed in the attic or another location, with a duct that leads to each bathroom.
  • Window Ventilation: If you need additional ventilation, installing a window that can open and close may provide extra support. This option usually doesn’t provide sufficient ventilation on its own, however.
  • Additional Features: You can find many ventilation systems with additional features, such as heating, lighting, or humidity sensors that allow the system to turn on automatically when necessary. Compare options to determine which one offers the best features and performance.
    For each of these exhaust fan types, you should confirm that you’re buying the right size for your bathroom’s square footage.

For each of these exhaust fan types, you should confirm that you’re buying the right size for your bathroom’s square footage.

Should I Install Access Panels as Part of My Bathroom Remodel?

Access panels give you a convenient way to reach difficult pipes, fixtures, or other parts that you need to access for maintenance or repair. You can open and close the panel without having to cut into the wall or damage the fixtures. You may consider installing access panels for one or more of the following:

  • Shut-Off Valves: Install access panels to the shut-off valves for the sink, tub, shower, and more. With this addition, you’ll have easy access to find a leak or replace a faucet.
  • Drain Traps: Drain traps keep sewer gases from rising to the surface, but they often need clog removal. Access panels simplify this regular maintenance task.
  • Mixing Valves: Mixing valves usually sit behind the shower or tub faucet, to mix cold and hot water. An access panel can allow you to reach it for repair or replacement.
  • Hidden Fixtures: To get access to pipes, wires, ducts, and other parts of your bathroom plumbing behind the walls, an access panel can be the most convenient option.

How Can I Make My Bathroom Remodel Easy to Upgrade in the Future?

To keep plumbing for a new bathroom as adaptable as possible, consider adding these to your home improvement plans:

  • PEX Pipes: These flexible pipes simplify the installation, repair, and replacement process. PEX pipes have a longer lifespan; you can easily extend or reroute them in future upgrades.
  • Smart Faucets: Smart faucets connect to your Wi-Fi to allow you complete control over your faucet operation, temperature, and more. You can control them with voice, touch, or motion.
  • Water-Saving Features: Install low-flow showerheads, faucets and two-flush toilets. Adding aerators, sensors and timers can help you minimize your water consumption without decreasing the efficacy of each faucet.

Call AJ Perri for Plumbing Help

AJ Perri has a team of professional plumbers, ready to assist! Give us a call today at 732-733-2541 or schedule service online. Our experts can answer any plumbing questions or considerations you might have.

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Last Updated: May 24, 2024