6 Things to Ask your Plumber before Starting a Bathroom Renovation

You do not need to be a plumbing expert before embarking on a bathroom remodeling project, but you should understand the basics and know what questions to ask your plumbing specialist. Tile, color scheme, and perhaps an extra-large shower and freestanding tub may top your list of priorities for your new bathroom design.  Without a fit plumbing system to support these new fixtures, your updated bathroom will not stand the test of time. 

Before starting your project, educate yourself on the condition of your home’s plumbing system, the impact your local water supply may have on your project, and the plumbing specifications of your dream bathroom fixtures. 

Here are our top 6 things you must ask your plumber before you start a bathroom project:

1.       Do my pipes need to be updated?

Your plumbing expert can tell you if your supply and drain pipes need to be updated to ensure you have no unforeseen leaks in the future.  This is the perfect opportunity to review your pipes while you are already ripping up fixtures, flooring, and tiles.  Specialists recommend having ¾” supply pipes coming into the bathroom to support proper water flow to several outlets.  This is even more critical if you plan to have multiple shower heads or body sprays in your shower.

2.       How much hot water do I need?

Large showers top bathroom design must have list these days, but nothing beats the relaxed feel of a soothing soak in the tub.  If a soaking tub or freestanding tub like the one shown here are your idea of luxury, be aware of how much hot water is needed to fill it while also leaving enough to supply the rest of the house.  Do not install fixtures without considering water supply, as you risk leaving your home short of hot water and unable to use your new tub.

3.       Can my water supply provide the required water pressure for my chosen fixtures?

Your spa-style bathroom, master bath, or hall bath all depend on water supply to function properly.  Many popular features, like multiple showerheads, rainfall showerhead, or massaging shower spray depend on the plumbing that sits behind them.  More importantly, they require sufficient water supply to support the water pressure needed to get the most out of these features. 

A healthy spray from a showerhead requires a minimum supply of 40lbs of water pressure.  Your new shower will be in good shape if you use a municipal water supply, as this tends to be closer to 60lbs.  If your house uses a well for its water supply the pressure may be lower or less reliable, and therefore not allow for multiple showerheads to operate at the same time.  Water pressure can fluctuate if the well does not have proper pressurized storage tanks, and can impact on other appliances in your home like dishwashers and washing machines.  Make sure you understand your water supply and which features it can support before finalizing your design.

4.       Can I incorporate water saving techniques?

Use this opportunity of undergoing a bathroom remodel to change the way your home consumes water.  There are many options for including more water efficiency in your design, such as toilets that have lower water usage per flush.  These features are good for the environment while also benefiting your household budget.

5.       What heating options can I including in my new bathroom?

A new bathroom design is the ideal time to incorporate additional heating options.  Underfloor heating ensures your cold tile floor is always warm during those freezing winter months.  Add radiator style towel warmers for extra warmth plus toasty towels when you step out of the shower or bath.

6.       How much space do I need?

Extra-large showers, freestanding tubs, two sinks for a master bath, and other new features must fit into your space, unless you plan to extend the bathroom.  Each fixture has minimum space requirements, so you must understand your bathroom dimensions, how much space each feature requires, and how it all fits together. 

Use the bathroom design process to make sure you achieve a cohesive design that addresses all of these plumbing issues within your selected budget.  Your design professional is an excellent resource to help you realize your dream design.