Plumbing is an essential part of any bathroom, you need to supply hot and cold water to the various appliances and all wastewater needs to be quickly evacuated, preventing water damage to your stunning and well-planned bathroom.
However, there are different ways of doing these pipes, they don’t need to be unsightly or take up space snaking around the edge of the room! Providing you adhere to the current regulations you can easily reroute the bathroom plumbing to make extra space and cleaner lines.
It should be noted that you may prefer to leave this to your plumber. However, if you decide to do it yourself it’s a good idea to have the number of an emergency plumber, just in case!
Determine The Layout of Bathroom
The first step is actually to look at the space you have available. All bathroom appliances can be moved. However, it is worth noting that baths sit directly onto joists to spread the load and keep them safe, you may prefer not to move this.
While planning the new layout you’ll want to look at where the water arrives in the bathroom and where the exit point is.
Water supply can go from appliance to appliance or separate and go to each one individually.
Remove The Existing Floor
Having decided on the location of each appliance you’ll want to lift the floor and examine the joists. These provide strength to the floor and possibly even sections of the house, don’t cut them without assessing the load-bearing qualities and whether they will be satisfied.
You’ll need to remove the appliances during this stage and cut the old pipes, capping them properly under the floor ensures there are no unsightly signs of the old plumbing.
It is important to consider your new plumbing at this stage. The logical thing is to keep as much plumbing as possible in the crawl space below the floor. This maximizes room above the floor and allows you to position your appliances anywhere in the room.
However, you should note that it is not advisable to cut through joists as this will weaken the floor. If it is essential, then make sure you brace the cut joists against existing ones. Minimizing the number of joists disturbed is important to the integrity of the floor.
You should also consider the angles required for waste plumbing, it may not be possible to create the right angle in the space you have available.
Installing New Plumbing
With the floor up you can install new plumbing, ensuring pipes only come above the floor line directly under the necessary appliance. You should avoid drilling through studs for your water pipes and run them horizontally under the floor. As mentioned, waste pipes need to run at a specified angle, this ensures the waste flows smoothly away from your home without increasing the risk of blockages.
Install everything in a dry run before undertaking the install properly. This gives you the opportunity to check the angles and that everything is arriving in the right place, with minimal piping both above and below floor level.
You should be aware that the best material for pipes under the floor is either copper or plastic (PEX). You’ll want to minimize any joints to reduce the likelihood of leaks occurring and damaging the ceilings below. This may be the first sign of an issue! In general, the PEX pipes are the better choice as they are easy to position around obstacles and don’t need to have joins under the floorboards.
If you discover the old piping is lead or similar you’ll need to replace it in the bathroom and elsewhere in your home. Lead pipes allow lead to leach into your water, it’s a heavy metal that accumulates in your body and eventually causes lead poisoning.
Testing of New Plumbing
Before fitting the floor, with all the new plumbing in position, cap the end of every pipe and turn the water on. Leave it for several hours to ensure there are no leaks. If there are you’ll need to fix them.
If not you’re ready to put the floor down, hiding the new pipework and minimizing the space taking pipes in your bathroom.
Finishing the Job
All you need to do to finish is add the appliances, your toilet, sink, shower, and bath if needed. Carefully connect all the pipework up and check for leaks before stepping back to admire your handiwork. You may be surprised by how much difference it makes, despite being a comparatively easy job.
It should be noted that moving supply pipes is not generally an issue concerning regulations. However, if you need to adjust the waste stack and sewage pipes you may need to verify local guidelines to ensure you are adhering to the.
The Alternative to Rerouting the Plumbing
If you’re not comfortable lifting floors and rearranging pipes then you should be allowing the experts to do it. However, it is possible to keep the plumbing above the floor level.
You’ll still need to maintain the right drainage angles. To minimize the space that the toilet waste occupies you will have to do one of two things. Either ensure the toilet is as close to the exit pipe point as possible or you will have to consider getting a macerator pump. This does require electricity but allows you to use a smaller diameter pipe.
Once the pipes are in position you can make a small fake wall to cover them. This won’t actually make your bathroom space larger but it may feel bigger as the clean lines will hide any trace of pipes. In effect, you’ll have created a large open space.
Perhaps the most important thing is to be patient and take your time when rerouting bathroom plumbing, it will help to ensure you get everything just right.