Since you have chosen to update the tile in your bathroom, this is a perfect opportunity for you to address the plumbing behind your walls and underneath the floor. You have already inspected the framing and found it to be in good condition or you have made fixes where you located wood rot. After the waterproofing layer is built, and the tile is installed, it will be too late to see the running pipes and make any updates if they are needed.
Your homes plumbing is an important piece of your bathroom remodel. Always inspect the plumbing that leads into and out of the bathroom. Homes that are on a raised foundation or bathrooms that are located on a second floor have a better chance to see running pipes. For homes that are set on a concrete slab foundation, there will be limited opportunities to see if hidden piping has gone bad without breaking into the slab. Factors that you need to consider during inspection, are drainage and water supply lines leaking or made of out dated materials. Choosing the right shower drain that leads into the drainage pipes could save you a lot of money and frustration. Home owners typically update shower fixtures during a bathroom remodel, since these and all the internal parts are exposed during the demolition process.
You should not pass on the chance to inspect the entire section of plumbing around your bathroom and gather information that you will need to make better decisions. This is the best time to see if your homes pipes are leaking or if pipes are in deterioration. Pre-1960s homes with original plumbing will have cast iron pipes for drainage leading out and galvanized steel or brass pipes for water supply lines leading in. If your lucky, your homes plumbing pipes were updated to modern materials, like PVC or ABS pipes for drainage leading out, and copper pipes for water supply lines leading in. If your not so lucky, be prepared to plumb the entire house or the partial piece that effects your bathroom remodel.
Your homes drainage system, or drain-waste-vent system, connects your shower, hand wash, and toilet fixtures. Drainage systems serve two purposes, they perform the job of transporting waste coming from these fixtures to the sewer system or septic tank, and keep sewer system gases from entering into the home. How does the drainage system keep gases out of your home? Your shower drain, sink, and inside the toilet are attached to or contain traps.
These traps allow for a fresh amount of water to enter and exit, pushing waste down the drainage pipes, while still allowing for a sufficient amount of water to remain in the trap, blocking any gases from entering your home. As waste is heading towards the sewer system or septic tank, vents reaching through the roof allow air to enter the pitched pipes, therefore, efficiently allowing for the exit of the waste.
Your home gets a fresh water supply from the city or municipality water system running at the edge of your street. Depending on whether your home has had an update to the water supply lines leading in, these pipes can be of galvanized steel, plastic, or copper. These pipes distribute the water supply through-out your home, including into the bathroom’s shower valve, shower head, hand shower, toilet, and sink faucet. Included in the water supply system are appliances, notably the dish washer and washing machine, but more importantly the water heater, which gives your bathroom a supply of heated water.