Two of the most rewarding home improvement projects are renovating the kitchen and bathroom, and there’s such a thing as the ‘joy factor’ when it comes to remodeling these two areas of the home. According to The GoodHome Report 2019, 73% of people who are content with their home are also content in life. With participants from 10 countries in Europe, The report found that improving the kitchen and bathroom gives the biggest boost in happiness in terms of home improvement.
But while there’s an ROI in terms of happiness, the process can be tricky as both projects work around plumbing. Plumbing problems aren’t always in plain sight and many are often not what they seem at first. And so, if you’re planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation of your own, here are some plumbing considerations you need to make:
Cast iron and galvanized metal pipes are now a thing of the past. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes are what today’s water-saving setups require. These materials are both easy to install and affordable, but may only work for hidden plumbing, aesthetics-wise. If you prefer exposed plumbing, it would be better to use copper, as they look more appealing. They’re also more expensive and more difficult to saw and fit, compared to the more flexible PVC or PEX. Regardless which material and setup you choose, consider insulating your pipes to reduce the amount of heat lost when water travels from the heater to the shower and faucets.
Before buying any fixtures — like a new kitchen or bathroom sink, toilet, or bathtub — consult first with a contractor or plumber regarding the most feasible layout for your kitchen and bathroom. Existing water and drain lines usually dictate the location of fixtures, and the supporting beams beneath the floor usually can’t be cut in order to install new drains. So, there’s no guarantee you can achieve your dream layout, as you’ll be forced to work around these limitations. But you can always have options — a Trendir post on kitchen designs can help you with more ideas. In addition, so can these rustic bathroom designs on Country Living.
It’s crucial to monitor water pressure while renovating, and even after. Detecting whether it’s too high or too low can identify an issue early on before it becomes a bigger problem. There are several reasons why you might find a change in your shower and faucets, as pointed out in a HomeServe post on low water pressure. One culprit common in many DIY renovations is restrictive valves on the showerhead. You may have chosen a low-flow showerhead designed to save water, but it can sometimes be too restrictive. Meanwhile, older homes might have a problem with clogs in the water system — whether it’s rusted old pipework, or gravel or sand from your renovation entering the pipes. In this case, it’s best to call a professional to replace or flush out the system.
On the other hand, high pressure may feel great in the shower, but not when you see your water bill. A guide by The Spruce on fixing high water pressure recommends using a water pressure regulator, a common plumbing valve that controls the pressure of the water coming from the main line into the home. It brings the pressure down to a safe level before water passes through the plumbing. Using a water pressure gauge attached to any male threaded faucet, you can check if the pressure is within the ideal range of 40 to 60 PSI.
A renovation may call for a water heater replacement or upgrade. Water heaters normally last 10 years, but if what you have is the conventional type, you might want to upgrade to a tankless or demand-type water heater. It’s smaller and supplies endless warm water only when you need it, compared to the conventional type with a tank of hot water whether you need it or not, which can drive up energy costs. Though tankless heaters are more expensive, they can be worth the investment as they save more energy.
For more décor and design ideas, head on to our collection of tips by Denisa.