Bathroom buildups and improvements may come as the handiest upgrades around the house if you want to add some value to it or to simply revamp the space in order to upraise the quality of your living to a new level. However, bathroom upgrades and makeovers are the trickiest as well, as barely anyone knows how to handle all those nasty plumbing fixtures to perfection by themselves.
You don’t have to splurge loads of money on a professional service, as we are here today to teach you how to plumb a bathroom. You don’t even have to be a seasoned DIY’er, but you should try not to lose your temper the first time an error occurs either. To err is human, to make those pipes and fittings in your bathroom match impeccably, divine.
A Brief Outline of What is Required
If you are a keen DIY’er and have already done some replacing or plumbing, the following won’t feel daunting at all. However, if you feel like you are no expert, it may seem baffling only reading through these guidelines. Don’t let anything discourage you, as we are assuring you that your bathroom will be tucked away with new pipes and fixtures in about 5 days at worst.
- Measure the bathroom and decide which fittings you would like to install.
- Reckon the number of pipes and fittings for your bathroom and calculate the number of stop ends to occlude the pipes provisionally.
- Determine whether there are any metal pipes and double-check do they need bonding. Unprotected RCD circuits will definitely need some!
A basic skill for plumbing is to join two pipes together. Yet, to make them embed one into each other you have to know which fittings are adaptable to the pipes in your bathroom. For example, you will need compression fittings for plastic, chrome, and copper pipes, solder fittings for copper pipes only, while push fittings are compatible with plastic and coppers pipes. The only exception for copper pipes being well-suited into chrome pipes is only when the end is removed from chrome plating before fitting.
Before removing any bathroom furniture, make sure to sort out lighting and ceiling first and to isolate the water supply. Once this is done, you should start by removing the furniture. Possibly, you will see some of the pipes missing out isolation valves.
If this is the case with your bathroom, we would highly recommend you to fit the valves before taking the furniture back. Kids somehow find valves with handles interesting to play with. If your youngsters are a bit frisky, go for the simpler valves, which need to be fitted with a screwdriver.
Now that we gave you a couple of clues on how to start the plumbing project, we will break some of the most important factors you should consider before getting straight to the main mission.
Does the Framing Accommodates Bathroom’s Needs?
If you are about to turn a spare room in your home into a bathroom, you want to make sure it is suitable for a makeover. However, even if you are redesigning the old space, check on the existing plumbing and see whether it fulfills criteria needed for new installations. You want to remove any plaster and drywall from the areas you are about to plumb or re-plumb.
Hot Water System
The type of hot water system in your bathroom can additionally affect the type of fittings you are about to purchase. The most common domestic water system is the low-pressure gravity-fed system. The higher the cistern is installed above the shower, the more water pressure will be generated. Yet, there is no guarantee gravity-fed systems would always provide sufficient pressure.
Now, we have an unvented hot water system. A heating coil or an immersion heater are designed to heat water. This system provides solid pressure and the flow rate is satisfactory as well.
The final type of hot water systems is the one without a cistern or a hot water cylinder for storage. Alternatively, there is a combination boiler and the system provides the main feed, which results in high water pressure.
Keep these things in mind when you would be changing shower fittings or tap mixers in your bathroom, as this sometimes comes as a crucial step when working with plumbing systems.
Drain and Vent Lines
Drain and vent lines matter the most to your home’s sewer system. This part of the plumbing project may occupy your time the most, but, if you prepare the base right – you will give your bathroom’s plumbing finished in one-two-three afterward. The task involves plumbing and carpentry skills, it is hard, but it will take no more than 4 days from start to finish.
Note: Drain and vent lines are always installed previous to the supply pipes.
Materials you will need are PVC primer, cement, PVC pipes, and fittings, while the required tools include pipe strap, level, power saw, and some basic carpentry tools.
Sometimes, you will run across an obstacle straight away. Don’t let this make you call a plumber right away. Consider the following options:
- You may expect the toil drain in your home is connected to the vent directly, but this is now always the case. All you need here is a 45-degree street elbow and a reducing Y.
- In case the drainpipe is parallel to the vent wall, a street elbow and a 45-degree reducing Y will help you install the vent exactly where you want.
- Don’t start panicking even if the vent wall is on the opposite side. It only looks like you can’t make it. A reducing Y and a street elbow will come handy again.
And, finally, these are the steps you should undertake to install drain and vent pipes:
- Install a 3-inch pipe so it reaches the basement,
- Align it with a Y-fitting and a low-heel vent fitting,
- Once you dry-fit the assembly, place it into the hole and check whether the pipe slopes to ¼ or 1/8-inch down,
- Mark where the assembly align with fittings and disassemble it,
- Place a horizontal pipe right next to the existing pipe and make a cutoff mark where the pipe is sloped at ¼ or 1/8-inches per foot,
- Drill the holes in the floor plate,
- Dry-fit and install the horizontal drainpipe,
- Install fittings,
- Prime and glue the pieces together,
- Install a sanitary tee (ideally 18 inches above the finished floor),
- Connect the assembly to other pipes,
- Plug the drainpipe at the lower end and pour some water into it to check for eventual leaks,
- Let it sit for a day.
If there are no leaks – congratulations! You made the biggest step towards a new plumbing system in your home. From this moment on, the rest of the installation tasks could almost be done with your eyes shut.
Installing Copper Pipes in Your Bathroom
Hard copper pipes are not so annoying to work with as it seems at first glance. Once you get the studs behind the wall, you will realize you were resistant to this task for no reason. It is true, copper pipes are stiff and hard to bend. Yet, copper pipes are still not so rigid you can’t cut them. Make sure to drill a hole in the wall of your bathroom and attach special fittings thereafter.
Choose between T-couplers, 90, and 450-degree elbows. In order to create a strong bond, you would have to sweat-solder the pieces together. Yet, the final result would be – joints so strong as the copper itself.
Where Does The Waste Water Go From Your Bathroom?
Wastewater always runs down to large pipes/pipe and descends into the main drainage system. Depending on the fact if your house was built in the mid-60s or in modern times, you will notice two individual pipes (one for the wastewater and another for the soil) or a soil stack (single pipe system).
In a modern system, all upstairs toilets, baths, showers, and basins go to the soil stack directly, while in the older systems a small pipe drains wastewater and toilets run into a soil pipe.
Ideally, there will be one single soil pipe. However, as certain locations simply make it out of the question to connect your new bathroom to a single pipe. Yet, you can make the arrangement viable thanks to a pump with macerator and a small-bore waste pipe. We are not going to lie – you would have to add this to the list of additional expenses, even though, in this case, you would also get much greater benefits than the actual calculations would show.
A Loft Bathroom
If you were wondering how to plumb a bathroom when converting the loft, then you can be laid-back. It would be best to connect a new bathroom to the existing soil pipes of the bathroom on the first or the second floor. Branch hot and cold water supplies from the floor below, too.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t connect to the soil pipe. Remember the small-bore waste pipes and a pump unit we mentioned above? This combination would come handy with the loft bathroom as well.
In case this is not doable for any reason, then things can get a bit messy. You would have to add a new soil pipe, which is indeed tricky, and your DIY skills may go by the board.
Plumbing and Installing Bathroom Amenities
In this article, we wanted to explain each detail on how to plumb a bathroom. That is why we will move on with the explanations of how to install the main bathroom amenities, starting off with a shower valve.
How to Plumb a Toilet
The great thing about plumbing a toilet yourself is that you need no power tools at all. You will need a toilet (go for the one with minimum 1.6gallons/flush), wax ring, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, torpedo level, stainless steel washers, toilet connector, and closet bolts.
If you are replacing an old toilet, you will notice some nasty wax ring underneath, so scrape it right away. Make sure the flange is not cracked, even though it doesn’t take much to replace it in case it is broken.
Self-adjusted closet bolts are your friend when plumbing a toilet, as you won’t have to cut or snap any excess lengths. Slip them on both sides carefully. Then, put some wax ring on the flange. You may read somewhere it is better to put it underside, even though we don’t recommend this step.
Take the toilet you already assembled and firmly press in against the floor. Level it up and eventually add a few pennies underneath (but shhh – don’t tell anyone about this). Now that the toilet is set, attach the bolt caps to the closet bolts.
Now, you would want to attach the toilet to the supply line. You will, almost certainly, need a 3/8-inch connector here. Getting nearer to the end of the project, open the supply valve to check for any leaks. Let the tank fill up and if there is no leak – that means you are good. After all, leaks can pose a threat to your safety, as falls in the bathroom usually end up in serious injuries and potentially, mobility issues.
How to Plumb a Shower
Even though many people nowadays still use tubs, seems like showers are carrying the day in most modern homes. Here is what you need to do to supply your family with nice and fresh baths.
The showerhead is connected to the water pipes in our bathrooms. To do the connecting job, you would need a steel hose. If you already have an old shower and want to replace it with a stylish one, you probably have hot and cold water pipes made of galvanized steel. Water pressure tends to diminish with years, so we kindly recommend you to consider replacing those.
Once you turn the knob on, hot or cold water from the supply line, through the pipes, and get into the showerhead finally. You should locate hot and cold water supply pipes now. Turn off the water supply and cut new pipes by ½-inch tee into each one.
Sometimes, plumbing a shower requires some drilling so you can pass the pipes through easier. Yet, this is just a rough-in. Fit the pipes to see whether they would suit the holes you drilled.
Now, the rest of the job is mainly related to a shower valve, which is the crucial part of the shower plumbing and we will give it an honorable place as an individual section in this article.
How to Install a Shower Valve
For starters, remove the old valve (the plastic cartridge especially) and sand off the existing copper pipes. We don’t want any burs or solder out there.
It is always better to cut the copper as close as possible to the old valve, as you would fit the new one much easier. Yet, this requires making certain adjustments. If you would have to cap the valve (when the valve will go directly into a shower), position it right. Soldered copper has to cool down a bit, so wait for a couple of minutes before moving on to the next step.
Then, reinstall the shower cartridge the way you removed it, making sure the valve is turned off. Otherwise, you would get yourself sprayed with water. Finish things off by installing the trim and handle, and screw on cartridge sleeve.
How to Install a Pedestal Sink
Pedestal sinks are so stylish and space-efficient, even though nothing beats the simplicity of the installation process. Before you get into action, don’t forget to turn off the water supply and disconnect the water lines. There will be some excess water running out, so place a bucket below the sink to gather it.
Cut the sealant holding the backsplash and remove it from the top of the vanity as well as from the bottom. Screws are relatively easy to loosen. Once the base is free, pull the vanity away from the working area.
Now, you will see all of the plumbing attachments and hardware that need to be replaced. Let’s get to work.
First of all, mark the height of the new sink you are about to install on the wall, but remove drywall so that you can see studs. The studs are important as you will attach the support board to them. Once you have installed the support board, mark off the centerline of the sink 10 inches from the wall. The level would help you ensure the sink is positioned right.
Here comes some drilling (of course). Drill a couple of holes for the anchor and pedestal on the wall and floor and secure it all with the hanger bolts but try not to overtighten them.
The biggest deal is already finished, and the only thing left is to assemble the sink. Attach the faucet and drain, tighten the cap nuts to ensure the bowl is secure, and reattach the new lines to the existing plumbing lines. Now, you can turn the water supply on and run water down your new pedestal sink.
Remodeling your bathroom will certainly increase the value of your home if you ever decide to put it on a list, even though once you get the project done – it would be hard cheese to give it over to someone else. Whatever your goals for the bathroom area – there is no way to skip the plumbing part. However, the great news is that you won’t have to blow your budget if you decide to handcraft fittings, joints, and pipes.
Today, we wanted to give you a couple of useful hints on how to plumb a bathroom and each amenity separately. We got you covered! Now, it is up to you to send us pictures and leave comments about how this DIY project came through.
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