Essential Steps for Plumbing Upgrades in Your Remodeling Project

Written by devteam@omgkitchens / Plumbing
May 9, 2024 / 7 Minute Read

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When you’re remodeling your home, it’s easy to focus on the fun stuff- like choosing paint colors or picking out new furniture- and forget about the plumbing. 

However, a well-functioning plumbing system is the backbone of your home. If it’s not up to par, you could be setting yourself up for some major annoyances down the road. We’re talking leaks, lukewarm water, and constant plumbing issues that can get under your skin. 

But before you start ripping out walls, it’s important to plan things out carefully to make sure your home plumbing renovations are hitch-free. In this post, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to plan any plumbing upgrades for your remodeling project.  

Let’s dive in!

When planning plumbing upgrades for a remodeling project, consider the following steps:

Planning ahead is the key to success in a plumbing renovation. With proper prep, your plumbing updates won’t just meet your current needs, but also adapt seamlessly to your remodeled space. 

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of what to consider.

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1. Create a Plan

Start by mapping out exactly what needs to be done. Think about the end goal of your renovation, and how the plumbing will fit into this vision. Sketch out what you want to change and where new fixtures or pipes might go. Your plumber can use this detailed plan to stay on track and make sure nothing is overlooked.

2. Check for Permits

Never skip this step! In Florida, you’ll likely need a permit for remodels involving plumbing work. Getting this sorted out before you start work will keep you from running into legal issues and delays. Contact your city or county building department to find out what you need before you start work.

3. Hire a Licensed Plumbing Expert

This is not a DIY job. A licensed plumber brings expertise and adherence to codes that you simply can’t replace with enthusiasm and a YouTube tutorial. They can foresee and troubleshoot potential issues for a smoother project flow. Hiring a professional also means the work will be guaranteed, giving you extra peace of mind.

4. Schedule an Inspection

Have your existing plumbing inspected by a professional before you begin. A thorough inspection can reveal problems like old or damaged pipes that could complicate your renovation. Address these issues early on to prevent disasters during and after your plumbing installation.

5. Use High-Quality Materials

Opt for the best plumbing materials within your budget. High-quality materials might cost more upfront, but they last longer and offer better performance, which, in turn, reduces the likelihood of future repairs. Discuss your options with the plumber to understand which materials are best for durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of installation.

6. Assess Your Existing Plumbing System

Take stock of your existing setup to see what’s salvageable and what needs upgrading. Use this assessment to make informed decisions about where to invest in your plumbing system.

7. Plan Your Plumbing Layout

If you’re remodeling a space extensively, you might need to rethink your plumbing layout. For instance, if you’re moving the location of the kitchen sink or installing a new bathroom, you’ll need to consider how the pipes should be laid down. A well-thought-out plumbing layout allows for efficient water flow and accessibility for future repairs.

8. Plan for Future Maintenance and Upgrades

Design your home plumbing with future access in mind. Include features like access panels and shut-off valves in convenient locations to make future repairs and upgrades easier and less invasive.

9. Prepare for Emergencies

A busted pipe can cost you a fortune in flood damage repairs. Save yourself the headache and expense by including safety features in your plumbing plan, such as easy-to-reach shut-off valves and flood detection systems.

10. Identify Your Goals

What are your key objectives for this plumbing upgrade? Are you aiming for efficiency, better water pressure, or cost savings in the long term? Having clear goals can guide your decisions throughout the project.

11. Budget Wisely

Establish a realistic budget for your plumbing plan and stick to it. Don’t forget to include a contingency fund for unexpected expenses. A detailed budget helps prevent overspending and lets you cover all necessary costs without compromising on quality.

12. List Rooms that Need Water Access

Identify which areas of your home will need water access, besides obvious places like the bathroom and the kitchen. For instance, you’ll need running water in your brand-new laundry room or outdoor kitchen.

13. Evaluate Existing Plumbing Lines

Decide whether to replace, reroute, or extend your existing plumbing lines. Sometimes, using existing lines can save money and time, but only if they’re in good condition.

Consider these common challenges when upgrading plumbing during a remodeling project:

Home plumbing upgrades come with their fair share of challenges. The good news is, understanding these roadblocks can help you prepare and plan better. Here’s what you might need to consider.

1. Hidden Issues

Often, the biggest surprises in plumbing renovations come from what you can’t see until you start the work. Once the floors and walls are opened up, you might discover leaks, mold, or outdated wiring that can throw off your timeline and budget. Hence, it’s smart to include an emergency plan for unexpected repairs.

2. Limited Design Flexibility

Plumbing can sometimes limit your remodeling designs. For instance, the location of the main drain lines might affect where you can realistically place a new bathroom or kitchen sink. You’ll need to have a flexible mindset and work closely with your plumber to understand what can be done within the constraints of your existing plumbing system.

3. Cost Considerations

Plumbing upgrades can be expensive, especially if you’re moving fixtures or installing high-end materials. The cost of materials, labor, and potential surprises add up quickly. Budget wisely and always have a financial cushion to handle unexpected costs that arise from issues like hidden damages or changes in project scope.

4. Old Pipes

Outdated piping can be a major concern in older homes. Materials like galvanized steel or lead are no longer recommended for plumbing, and replacing these can be a big job. Worse still, old pipes might not meet current codes and can pose health risks/safety problems.

5. Energy Efficiency

Upgrading plumbing is also a chance to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Consider installing fixtures that reduce water use, such as low-flow toilers/showerheads, or more efficient water heaters.

6. Compliance with Building Codes

Every aspect of your plumbing upgrade needs to comply with local building codes. Always check with local authorities about the codes applicable to your remodel, and see that your contractors are familiar with them.

7. Coordination with Other Contractors

Remodeling usually means you’ve got more than just plumbers working on-site. Coordination between different teams—like builders, electricians, and decorators—is essential to make sure that plumbing upgrades don’t clash with other aspects of your project. Poor coordination can lead to delays and increased costs.

8. Electrical Upgrades

Plumbing often interacts closely with electrical systems—think of your boiler, shower pumps, or complex heating systems. Any plumbing upgrade might require changes to your electrical setup, which means bringing in an electrician for safe and correct work.

9. Drainage Issues

If your remodel involves adding bathrooms or expanding your kitchen, you may need to upgrade your drainage system. This could mean bigger pipes or additional drain lines to handle the increased water flow. Always assess the capacity of your current system and make necessary adjustments to support your remodeled space.

The Bottom Line

Reconfiguring your plumbing can really boost both the look and function of your home remodel. While it might sound like a big deal, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The trick is to take some time upfront to walk through the necessary preliminary steps and put together a solid plan. Doing this will help make sure that the actual work goes smoothly, and your entire project turns out great. 

Transform your space with expert plumbing renovation services from OMG Kitchen & Bath! Whether you’re planning to revamp your home or start from scratch, we’re here to help every step of the way. Get in touch to learn more!

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