Bathroom Remodeling Ideas: What you Need to Know About Plumbing

A bathroom renovation is the perfect time to update your shower, tub, tile, vanity and more.  Color schemes, and even practical considerations like storage accessories and the best toilet style, will feature heavily in your search for the perfect design.  What sits behind these design features is a plumbing system that must be up to the job to support your new fixtures and stand the test of time. 

You do not need to be a plumbing expert before embarking on a bathroom remodeling project, but it helps to understand the basics and to know the questions you should address with your plumbing specialist.  Use our checklist to help you get started:

1.       Do my pipes need to be updated?

A bathroom remodel is the right time to update your supply and drain pipes if necessary to ensure you have no unforeseen leaks in the future.  You are already ripping up fixtures, flooring, and tiles, so take this chance to review your pipes.  It is recommended to have ¾” supply pipes coming into the bathroom in order to have proper water flow to several outlets.  This is even more critical if you plan to have multiple shower heads or body sprays in your shower.

2.       How much hot water is required?

If you love a luxurious soak, you may decide to include a separate bath like a freestanding or whirlpool tub.  Be aware of how much hot water is needed to fill that bathtub while also leaving enough to supply the rest of the house. Do not leave your home short of hot water and find yourself unable to use your new tub.

3.       How much water pressure do I need?

Extra-large showers, multiple showerheads, and body sprays have transformed today’s shower into a spa-style feature within your home, like the ones pictured here.  Behind the rainfall showerhead and massaging shower spray is the plumbing and more importantly the water supply required to support it. 

A healthy spray from a showerhead requires a minimum supply of 40lbs of water pressure.  Municipal water supplies tend to be closer to 60lbs, so well able to handle your new shower.  If your house uses a well for its water supply the pressure may be lower or less reliable, and therefore not allow for multiple showerheads to operate at the same time.  Water pressure can fluctuate if the well does not have proper pressurized storage tanks, and can impact on other appliances in your home like dishwashers and washing machines.  Consider your water supply and find out what features your water pressure can support before finalizing your design.

4.       Can I incorporate water saving techniques?

A bathroom remodel may also be the perfect chance to change the way your home consumes water.  There are many options for including more water efficiency in your design, such as toilets that have lower water usage per flush.  Incorporating these features into your design can be good for the environment while also benefiting your household budget.

5.       Can I include features for heating my bathroom?

A new bathroom design is the ideal time to incorporate additional heating options.  Underfloor heating ensures you do not have to set foot onto a cold tile floor during those freezing winter months.  Radiator style towel warmers like the ones shown here can be easily added to a design for extra warmth plus toasty towels when you step out of the shower.  What could be better!

6.       How much space do I need and how does it all fit together?

Extra-large showers, freestanding tubs, two sinks for a master bath – all of these features may be part of your dream bathroom.  The reality is that they have to fit into your space, and each fixture has minimum space requirements.  Understanding your bathroom dimensions, how much space each feature requires, and how it all fits together is a critical element of designing a new bathroom. 

The bathroom design process can address all of these issues, while helping you achieve a cohesive design that meets your needs within your selected budget.  Consult a design professional who can walk you through these issues and help you realize your dream design.