Bathroom Remodeling and Plumbing

Bathroom remodeling and plumbing are often associated. When you plan a bathroom remodeling job you need to take into account from the beginning correcting all the previous plumbing issues. Unresolved plumbing issues can later cause changing in the overall cost of the remodeling job. Much of the plumbing work in a bathroom is often hidden under floors and behind walls. It is important that during the initial remodeling job planning you also have a plumbing visit and investigate the piping and fixtures in order to assess the common issues that typically affect bathroom remodels. This way you will avoid many of the common bathroom remodeling pitfalls.

Water efficiency

Toilets, showerheads and faucets have improved in design and become more water efficient in recent years. Low flow showerheads, for example, can maintain a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute, while delivering a satisfying water pulse. As for toilets, some WaterSense certified models can save on water consumption by using just 1.28 gallons per flush. If you replace inefficient old toilets, the total savings per year can go up to $100 or 16,000 for a typical family of four. You can also reduce by 30 percent the water consumption in your bathroom sink if you choose a new faucet with an aerator.

Old Pipes

Your cost of the bathroom remodeling job and upgrade work will be greatly affected by the age of the existing plumbing. Many cast iron drain systems may be at the end of their lifespan, even if their deteriorated condition is not obvious. The problem with cast iron pipes is that they rot from the inside out. That means they may look fine at exterior but actually their walls could fail at any time because they got very thin. A plumber can assess their condition by tapping the pipe with a steel wrench. Corrosion and buildup of solids within the pipe is indicated by a change in tone. In this case, your pipe needs to be replaced or at least repaired.

When you plan a bathroom remodeling job you may also replace the entire galvanized pipes run. Old galvanized pipe joints can’t be disassembled because corrosion usually makes them frozen tight. Copper supply lines may also need replaced because they might be corroded from the inside out due to the mineral deposits from hard water. This is especially happening with thin wall copper tubing.

Plastic water-supply pipes may also pose certain problems. Because pipes made of Polybutylene have been banned in most areas your plumber will have to replace them if the code requires.

When replacing the piping system in a bathroom, the plumber must pay attention to potential problems such as twisting fittings and heating joints. They may cause problems downstream or upstream. These issues may not be apparent but could cause leaks in the future.

For your pace of mind it is recommended to ask the plumber to perform pressure-testing for the new piping.


If your bathroom remodeling plans include replacing a tub unit, your plumber needs to pay attention to the major trouble spots that are usually the supply lines and the access to the drain. Be aware of the fact that a cast-iron tub is very heavy and the only practical way you may be able to replace it only by breaking it. On the other side, steel tubs and fiberglass tubs, unless they are oversize, can often be removed in one piece.

Sinks and vanities

When removing existing sinks and vanities the plumber may run into problems with corroded fittings and pipe sizes. In this case you’ll need different or extra fittings. The plumber needs also to inspect the fittings and the supply tubes under the sink. Sometimes it happens that the shutoffs are frozen open, which can make the replacement more difficult. For information on bathroom remodeling and plumbing please visit