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Proper Ways to Relocate Plumbing When Renovating a Bathroom

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Proper Ways to Relocate Plumbing When Renovating a Bathroom

Renovating your bathroom can be a major undertaking. If you’re just changing the tiles and fixtures, things will get messy, but it isn’t something to call a plumber over. If you want to move the bath or the toilet, even just a little bit, it will take serious plumbing work. A lot of things also depend on which floor is your bathroom located. It’s easiest if the bathroom is on the ground floor, everything else means the ceiling will have to be torn apart. Here’re a few tips on how to do it most efficiently:


Depending on how large the remodeling project is you might need a permit to do it. This frustrates most homeowners because it seems like something you do with your own home, but there are safety related reasons for it. If the project requires changing the blueprint of your home, it’s important to report it to the proper authorities. Changing the electrical wiring is also something that can be done only with the right permit. Also, if you plan to change anything connected to the sewer, you need to get a license as well.

Drainage system

Make sure your new bathroom layout is compatible with the drainage system you already have. Supporting joists are located beneath the floor and you can’t just cut them if you want to install new ones. Either you need to prepare your new configuration so it can fit the old one or you should install new drains for the new bathroom. This is a cost versus reward problem. If your plumbing is already old and corroded, maybe you should add new pipes and deal with two issues at the same time.

Access panel

Access panels for the toilet and the sink are usually pretty easy – the toilet just needs to be lifted up and the sink is accessed through the cabinet below. “The trick is to create access for shower and bathtub plumbing”, says a seasoned plumber from Hazlet. You can put it in the sidewall of the bathroom if it’s available or (which is more often the case) put it in adjoining room, you don’t use that much. Closet is the best solution if you have one.

Turning off the water supply

This is something that has to be done before you start with actual work. Turn off the water supply, which is usually located in the utility room. If the house is a bit older it can be outside the premise entirely. It’s simple to do – there is valve you need to turn. It sometimes requires a wrench, but it doesn’t have to. After that, remove the fixtures and disconnect the drains. The water feeds should be sealed before you start as well. Old ones need to be capped with PVC tubes you can get at your local store (or the professional can provide them) and the copper ones need to be crimped.

Slope for draining

New fixture should have an adequate slope for draining. For waste drain, the slope fall is one quarter of an inch for every 4 feet of drainpipe. Shower and sink need 2 inch drainpipes and the toilet needs a 4 inch drain. It’s also a bad idea to have a larger slope than recommended, because that way the liquid will outrun the solid waste in the pipe.

Relocating plumbing can be a time consuming and hard work. That’s why you should only do it if you have prepared beforehand and if you have confidence in the professionals you chose to do the job. But take comfort in the fact that once it’s done, you won’t have to think about it for a long time.

Guest Contributor, Lillian Connors