If you’re planning major renovations, chances are you’ll be making changes to your kitchen and bathroom. It makes sense to consider the ramifications to your plumbing if you’re planning to remodel these two important areas.
In fact, bathrooms and kitchens are the two rooms Australian homeowners spend the most money and time renovating.
Redesigning a bedroom or family room can be simple enough, but when you’re upgrading the kitchen or bathroom it’s likely to have an impact on your home’s plumbing, so you’d better plan ahead in detail. If you fail to take plumbing into consideration, you’ll derail your budget.
The first piece of advice is to consult a fully qualified plumber before you get started. Here are five more plumbing considerations to think about before you set off on your renovation journey.
- Are You Moving the Shower, Bath or Sink?
If you are intending to move your bathtub, shower, kitchen sink or dishwasher, you’d better be prepared. Obviously, it’s not as simple as shifting a couch or a table.
Knowing which walls of the home have plumbing access is important. There are always limitations to any renovations, and there’s a big difference in cost if your design involves extensive plumbing changes to accommodate your vision.
And it isn’t just the mains water you need to worry about. If you have a rainwater tank that is plumbed into your system, that will need to be included in your plans as well.
- Consider a Tankless Hot Water System
While you’re in the mood for making changes, why not consider a tankless hot water system?
Traditional storage tank hot water systems have been around for a long time, but many people are now choosing energy efficient options such as continuous flow or solar-powered heaters.
These systems are compact and only heat water when you need it, rather than wasting energy on a permanently heated tank of hot water. Of course, if you opt for a solar-powered system you will need to install solar panels on the roof, which is a bigger expense up front.
Continuous flow (or instantaneous) hot water systems are more energy efficient than tank storage systems but are best suited for small to medium-sized households.
- Is Your Drainage Up to Standard?
Before starting, you need to know your drainage system and how well it’s working. Is it in optimal working condition or does it need to work to bring it up to standard?
If you don’t know how your drainage system is laid out, you might damage a water line or even a sewer line in the renovation process.
Your local council should have a detailed diagram of your drainage system, although this could be inaccurate if there have been major changes since construction. A licensed plumber will be able to determine if the diagram is still accurate. It’s also advisable to update the diagram for future reference if you are relocating any pipes.
- Do You Need a Building Permit?
Most renovations won’t require a building permit from your local council but it’s advisable to check. If you’re conferring with a building contractor or qualified plumber, they should be aware of what is required.
If you are building an extension to your bathroom or kitchen, you could well need a building permit. If you are moving internal walls for your renovations – which could be necessary if your plumbing is being altered – you might require both a building and planning permit.
If you’re in doubt, give your council a call to ensure you’re not breaking any regulations.
- Stick to Your Budget
Major changes to the bathroom and kitchen can get out of hand quickly and lead to a budget blowout if you don’t have a plan and stick to it.
Remember to stick with what you need rather than what you want. Luxury items are nice to have but it’s often a novelty that wears off quickly. Be practical in your planning and ask yourself plenty of questions. For example, do you still take baths? If not, remove the bath and put money towards a better shower.
There’s nothing wrong with splurging if you’ve got the funds to do so, but make sure you take a practical approach so the kitchen and bathroom are fully functional and suit the needs of you and your family.
To sum it all up, before starting you should:
- Know which walls have plumbing access
- Consider a more energy efficient hot water system
- Get a diagram of your drainage system
- Check if you need a permit for your renovations
- Plan ahead in detail and stick to your budget
The final rule to follow is to consult a fully qualified plumber before undertaking a major renovation involving plumbing. It will cost you upfront but save you in the long run.