It’s more likely than not that your plumbing system is a necessary part of your new construction project. Proper planning and doing your homework is key, because poor installation of your plumbing system can result in big problems (or a little problem that may turn into a big problem) if not executed correctly.
A leak, for example, may seem benign until it’s not detected quickly enough or handled properly. Then it becomes a costly problem that can start eating away at your walls, cause mold issues, and result in expensive repairs.
In this blog we will highlight four areas that can help ensure a successful outcome with your new construction plumbing project on the Outer Banks.
Choose a Licensed Professional
A licensed plumbing professional (or licensed building contractor, for that matter) separates themselves from non-licensed individuals by way of training and certifications in their area of expertise. They are also more familiar with local building codes and requirements for safety. This is particularly important during plumbing rough in. Rough in means all water supply and drainpipes have been run through holes in the studs and other framing material, and that all pipe connections have been made. This is also the point at which drainpipes and water lines are tested (before sinks, faucets or other fixtures are installed).
Testing is particularly important during this phase so any issues can be resolved before walls go up.
By hiring a licensed professional you can count on drains being sized accordingly, and venting installed properly so water will drain correctly. With their experience and training, a professional knows how to avoid mistakes like a cross connection – this is a situation where the hot and cold-water lines are installed in reverse. This can be very dangerous if the cold water is meant to be turned on, but scalding hot water comes out instead.
Proper Planning & Preventing Leaks
As mentioned earlier, proper rough-in of plumbing pipes will help prevent leaks from occurring. In addition, leak tests at the joints will help identify any problems that are occurring. Thoughtful design of your plumbing system is vitally important. When it comes to drainage, accuracy is job one. Being meticulous about installation and proper sizing and placement can ensure efficient drainage and trouble-free performance.
Working with an experienced plumber like Action Plumbing on the Outer Banks will help to ensure correct installation. Clearly outlined drawings and a couple of meetings is all it takes to make sure everyone is on the same page. This is not to say that issues will not arise, or that changes can’t be made, but the more prepared you can be up front, the better off you will be in the end. On the plus side, if you are working with individuals that you know and trust, it is likely they will be working hard to make sure you are satisfied when the project is completed.
Choosing the Right Fixtures
Your plumbing fixtures include components such as faucets, handles, nozzles/sprayers, shower heads, bathtubs, washers, and toilets. These are parts of the plumbing system that get used on a regular basis, many even multiple times per day by multiple users. This means the fixtures will need to be able to stand up to the constant use and abuse. Particularly if the dwelling is a vacation rental property, where the fixtures are being handled by a wide variety of users, and not necessarily with the greatest of care.
Not only should these fixtures be durable, they should also boast water efficiency. If you see the WaterSense label on any of these products, you know they are deemed to be 20% more water efficient than average products in the category, and of acceptable performance as described by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Buyer Beware (of Off-Brand Products on the Internet)
Always choose quality, name-brand products for lasting performance and easily available repair parts. In our area, Delta, Moen and Kohler are extremely popular brands and are known for quality and durability. Widely-known brands also translate into a consumer-friendly warranty and spare parts availability, which makes it easy to repair should a problem occur.
Beware of unknown brands sold online. When it comes to plumbing, cheaper isn’t always better. Quality products should be a priority with your new construction project. If you’re buying fixtures or other materials that are not mainstream products, you may not have the power of the manufacturer behind you. You may also have difficulty finding replacement parts or even run into stumbling blocks if the installation instructions are difficult to understand.
Teaming up the Pros
To ensure your project is executed smoothly, make sure your builder and plumber have discussed the scope of the job and understand the flow. Once construction begins, unanticipated issues may cause delays or even make it impossible to make changes (depending on how far down the road the project is at that time). For example, is there enough space to conceal the pipes, or will some need to be surface mounted? Keep in mind that once concrete is poured, it may be extremely difficult – even impossible – to move drains later.
There is a lot that goes into a plumbing project with new construction, so it makes sense to do your homework. Speak with the professionals, obtain references, and have a clear understanding of what they can do and how they will do it. Remember, once the drywall and tile are up, it will be difficult to get behind the walls. It’s worth connecting with a professional and paying a little more to have it done right. You’ll want to make sure that what’s hidden beneath your floor and between the walls is sound and solid.
Have a new construction project you’d like to discuss with us? Looking for a builder? Contact us for recommendations.