Plumbing a New Bathroom Properly

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Ensuring your plumbing works efficiently and can be maintained easily

When plumbing a new bathroom, it’s important to get it right and not be tempted to cut corners as inadequate plumbing is simply storing up potential problems. Also, planning ahead with the careful siting of fittings and junctions means any maintenance that may be required in the future can be undertaken quickly and easily.

Planning

When planning a bathroom layout, you need to consider how it will be plumbed in. Positioning of the shower, bath, sink and toilet is important from the point of view of utilising space and what looks right aesthetically, but bear in mind it’s all got to be plumbed efficiently.

Local experts such as these plumbers in St Albans can help tailor a plumbing solution to suit the bathroom space you have and your preferred layout.

Push fit or solder?

You may have heard of ‘push fit’ for connecting pipes and creating pipe junctions as opposed to the time honoured method of soldering them together. Push fit gained popularity for two reasons; it’s quick, and push fit connectors are often easier to fit in hard to reach areas.

While the technology has improved, there is still debate as to which is the better option although soldering the copper pipes is generally preferred judging by many plumbing forums. While a push fit may be easier to perform in a confined or hard to reach space, there is the concern as to what may happen if it fails in time. Because of the hard to access area, it could prove difficult to repair.

Planning easier access for future maintenance

The key to a sound plumbing installation is to try and arrange it so that fittings and joints are easily accessible rather than concealed. Going hand in hand with planning ahead for maintenance is the importance of fitting isolation taps on each unit (the toilet, sink, basin and so forth) so you don’t have to close the entire water supply down to work on one item.

Towel rails

You may be keen to install a towel rail if you’re replacing your bathroom. You might be tempted to replace an existing radiator with one thinking that you can heat the towels and heat the room with one fitting.

While you may (depending on size) be able to do more or less a straight swap plumbing-wise, you’re unlikely to heat the bathroom with the towel rail to the same extent as the radiator does. Towel rail power outputs can be misleading – it may depend on how high you heat your water.

An expert plumber can advise.

Waste pipes and drainage gradients

Usually new bathrooms are connected to a 100mm soil pipe, but where this isn’t possible a macerator and pump along with a small-bore waste pipe enables a bathroom to be fitted almost anywhere nowadays.

To avoid unpleasant odours, if the run of waste pipe is more than 2 metres, anti-siphon valves or traps may need fitting to prevent the displaced water pulling air from nearby waste traps instead of from the vent pipe.

A power shower would require a 50mm waste pipe rather than the standard 40mm to cope with the high flow rate, so bear this in mind if you’re newly fitting one.

New fittings such as a power shower or maybe a bath where there wasn’t one previously require extending the waste pipe network. It’s important to ensure the fall (gradient) of the pipe is correct so water can naturally drain away. If your previous bathroom’s fittings didn’t drain properly, then reassessing and maybe changing waste pipe provisions may be called for.

The government’s Building Regulations portal shows what the minimum fall and maximum distance to the main soil stack should be.

Your ideal design

While the logistics of the plumbing have to be considered, much is achievable with modern bathroom design and reputable plumbers are keen to help you attain the design you desire. Some inspiration can be found here.

Help is at hand

While you may possess the knowledge to plumb in your new bathroom, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. Designing a bathroom and moving fittings about to fit your preferred layout is certainly possible, but changes in plumbing layout is a significant undertaking. If in any doubt, do call a professional in.

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