How to Relocate Plumbing when Remodeling a Bathroom

How to Relocate Plumbing when Remodeling a Bathroom
  • Opening Intro -

    If you wish to rearrange your bathroom fixtures during a bathroom remodeling, that will not be a problem. Relocating the pipes and drains is what is problematic.

    A major plumbing work has to be done in order to move the toilet only a few inches.

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Before you contact your contractor or plumber, you should know that there are three possible scenarios for this situation.

1) Ground-floor bathroom, raised foundation.
This is the simple scenario, because new pipes can be run under the floor joists, which are accessed via basement or crawl space. This is the simple scenario.

2) Ground-floor bathroom, concrete slab.
The concrete will have to be broken in order to have the new drains installed, which will cost you a bit more. That is the tougher scenario.

3) Second-story bathroom.
Sections of the first floor ceiling will have to be torn apart and rebuild in order to run new pipes under the floor joists for a second-story bathroom.

Let’s Begin

Before you start relocating the fixtures, make sure that your plan is actually manageable.

  • Does your new bathroom configuration suit your existing home drainage system? Beneath the bathroom floor are supporting joists that you cannot cut for the purpose of installing new drains. Your new configuration system should be designed to that new drainpipes are placed parallel with the joists.
  • Check your local building code before determining the fixture setbacks. You will probably have to adhere to setback measurements if you are required to pull a bathroom remodeling permit. All sides of your major bathroom fixtures should be allowed an adequate amount of room.
  • Unlike toilet plumbing which only requires lifting the toilet from the floor flange, and sink plumbing which can be accessed in the cabinet below, future access panels should be provided for shower or bathtub plumbing. The only access is usually from an adjoining room (an inconspicuous place or a closet). Plan to put the access panel in the sidewall in the bathroom if it’s available, advise us the people behind Force Plumbing & Heating.
  • The water supply is usually located in a utility room. In case of an older home, the meter shut off could be outside your premises. Turn it off before you begin relocating. Remove the bathroom fixtures, and disconnect the drains and water feeds. All old water feeds should be sealed and capped with special caps for PVC tubes, while copper tubing can be crimped.
  • After sealing the old ones, install the new water feeds between the studs, bringing the cold and hot water up from below. Try not to drill through studs and avoid running feed horizontally.
  • Different fixtures should have an adequate slope on their drains. For example, waste drains require a minimum slope fall of ¼ inch per 4 feet of linear drainpipe. Shower and sink drains require a 2-inch drainpipe, while a 3- or 4-inch one goes for the toilet. In order to prevent liquid from outrunning solid waste in the pipe, avoid using a slope with more grade than it is recommended.
  • Before you start placing the fixture, make sure you pressurize new water feeds. Cap the drains, and cap off the ends of all cold and hot water tubing. Turn on the water source so the pipes get filled with pressurized water. Leave them like that for a few hours. Check whether there are any leaks before you install all the required fittings.
  • Connect the drains and the water feeds to the new fixtures. Check for leaks around faucets, and make sure that cold and hot feeds are installed correctly.

As you can see, relocating plumbing is a difficult and costly work. This is sometimes necessary, in case you are to remodel an old house bathroom to make the most of the space, or if a bathroom had its fixtures improperly arranged by previous owners.

You can find many online guides on plumbing issues. Please give this article a quick comment/share and then jump over to our plumbing secion for discussions on plumbing related issues.

Never try to set up or move plumbing fixtures by yourself, because it is very dangerous, and also illegal. Be sure to consult a professional contractor or an experienced plumber.

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