Posts Tagged PEX

PVC You Later

As in, I’m done with the PVC drains and vents! What a relief. I had most of the rough plumbing done a few weeks ago, enough to install the subfloor & underlayment, but I still had a few things unfinished. So over the past week I rough plumbed for the tub faucet, shower head, and shower mixer valve.

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The extra notch out of the wall stud (don’t worry, this is not a load bearing wall!) is because I second guessed myself about the height of the mixer valve and shower handle. I originally put it at a height that felt comfortable when standing. But then I found that the typical standard is really really low, so I moved it down. After showering just this morning, I realized that as a 6′-4″ man, I don’t want to have to bend down to reach the shower handle. So I think I’m going to move it back up. I did decide upon a very tall height for the shower faucet. I believe it’s time to rid myself of this plague that has troubled my showering experience for the past decade:


Seriously, I can’t even remember what it feels like to wash my hair without ducking or bending half over. I cannot wait.

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I also finished the tub drain & overflow – which meant carrying sliding the tub into place – and then I connected all 3 of the bathroom drain vents and ran that vent pipe up through the ceiling. Above are the three vents coming through the floor, connecting to a main vent, and then going up through the ceiling. Once through the ceiling the pip transitions to 2″ in the attic before exiting through the roof. And then bathroom was entirely ready for wallboard!

Based on everything I’ve read, I decided upon cement board on the walls around the tub/shower as a backer board for tile, but the rest of the bathroom walls will be moisture resistant drywall – often called greenboard. My brother-in-law helped me hang a few sheets of drywall Saturday, so the west bathroom wall is covered. I’ll do the same on the east wall. The south wall is staying plaster – with some patching around where the new light switches are. The bathroom is 5’8″ wide, and the tub is only 5′, which leaves me with a narrow space on the wall opposite of the shower head. After some Pinterest searching, I came upon a great solution to use this narrow space- almost the exact size, too.

reader bath remodel with towel storage shelves built in behind shower wall, top pins on This Old House Pinterest profile 2013

Not my choice of colors for the towels, but you get the picture. It turns what would otherwise be unusable space into a little bit of storage. It will be fun framing it out, but if I do it right, it might also serve as handy access area to the back of the breaker panel in the wall behind (for future electrical updates needing additional wires).

So to recap, below shows the different stages from just about a month ago to where I am now.

bathroom 4 panel

I can almost see the finished product (thanks to the hours I’ve spent on Pinterest!).

I actually got a lot done this week – kitchen sink, tub, part drywall, purchased wall tile for bathroom. But the biggest accomplishment was not mine, but rather what Dennis was able to get connected for me. The process itself is worthy of an entire upcoming post – wet floor, curse words, and a return trip to the hardware store – but for now, I’ll leave it at a single photo and one last sentence. I have hot water.


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Give a House a Cookie — err, — Some New Plumbing

I’m quickly learning that there is no such thing as a small or contained project. A relevant example:

I’m in the midst of a bathroom renovation. One bathroom. But the way it keeps escalating reminds me of the well known children’s story, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

If you decide to gut a bathroom, you will probably decide to upgrade the plumbing.

If you need new plumbing in the bathroom, you should probably just replace the plumbing in the entire house.

While running new plumbing, you realize it’s the perfect time to replace the outdoor spigot and add a second spigot to the opposite side of the house.

When you want to run pipes to the kitchen, you realize the kitchen sink cabinet is actually metal, and the floor of this cabinet is nearly rusted away from years of leaking pipes. So if you are gonna re-plumb a house, you should probably tear out the deteriorating sink cabinet. Which means first lifting out the beautiful but extremely heavy cast iron sink.

And when you get to the laundry room with it’s somewhat “soft” floor, you should probably tear up the multiple layers of linoleum and punky plywood.

And once you have the bad flooring tore up, you realize that the original wood floor is too damaged to hold the weight and vibration of a full washing machine. So thats why if you are renovating a bathroom, you will probably need to replace the laundry room floor.

That is where the cute children’s story ends for tonight.

I finally have all of the old plumbing completely tore out, including the kitchen sink. I didn’t tear out all of these pipes right away, because it was kind of nice to use the old pipes as my straight line when running the new pex hose. The existing plumbing was a crazy labyrinth of galvanized, copper, pvc, and cast iron. And from how easily some of the connections came apart, I promise you it would have been leaking if the water was turned on.

For the new plumbing, I’ve got almost all of the new supply lines run. I now need to purchase a roll of red pex (for hot water) and run those lines to carry heated water to each of the shower, kitchen and bath sinks. The red and blue hose are entirely the same except color, but the color keeps things well organized.

I also need to make a decision on a new water heater. I’ve been researching tankless models, and I think I’ve decided on the ECO Smart brand. The prices are consistent with tank units, the reviews are good, and it seems very user intuitive. I can connect the water lines myself, but for the warranty to be valid, the electrical component must be wired by a licensed electrician.

And of course, supply lines are only half of a house’s plumbing. The other half is the drain pipes. The former mixed PVC, copper, and cast iron sections of drains had sections that had come unglued and weren’t sloped properly. Most of this I know how to do with new pvc, including traps and the correct pitch, and adding air vents for each the kitchen sink and washer drain. But the sewer stack that takes all the wastewater out of the house is the original cast iron. I’m not sure the best way to transition into this. So I’ll try asking friends for help, and if they don’t know, I wouldn’t be against hiring this part to make sure it is done perfectly correct, but it probably won’t be cheap.

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