Plumbing Woes!!

Bathroom PlumbingI asked Jennifer, with Tierney Plumbing, to answer some questions and share insights into plumbing. Like Robin and Rob, she works with her husband, Ron, in their business. Ron is a Master Plumber and has been in the plumbing business for over 30 years.

When doing a bathroom remodel, the plumbing is one of your major expenses. You have a toilet, vanity sink(s), vanity faucet(s), shower faucet(s), tub faucet, and all the drains to go with those.

I agree that plumbing is one of your major expenses, especially if you have an older house and a remodel is on the horizon. Pipes don’t last forever and they begin to deteriorate. If you are changing the layout of the bathroom, pipes and drains may need to be capped off and moved.

20130731_111725  When you are doing any kind of work in the bathroom, even if it doesn’t involve plumbing, should you have a plumber out? Why?

Yes, it’s always a good rule of thumb to have a plumber out for a quick check when doing any work around water lines and drains. For example, let’s say you want to replace the tile in your shower. You don’t like it, it’s old, grungy looking, you want new tile in there. It’s easier to have the plumber come in and check your lines while you have all of the tile out, than it is to replace the tile and find out afterwards you have a damaged line and have to rip out that new tile.

It is also a good idea for a plumber to make sure that the shower floor is floated (water flows to the drain) and the drain is in good condition. Many tile contractors don’t float the shower floor or inspect the drain before they lay tile. They are tile contractors, not plumbers.

What about the plumbing that we do not see?

Much of the plumbing you do not even see, the pipes in the walls and the pipes and drains in the slab. You will not find plumbing issues until you have demolished the bathroom or there is a visible leak. Remember those visible leaks could have been happening under that shower or behind that wall longer than when you finally see it.

Most water damage is from leaking drains and shower areas that aren’t properly sealed or the grout is missing and water finds its way. To test the integrity of your tile or shower pan, you can fill the shower area with water to see if the water level drops. But this does not test the drain. If you have access to a clean-out, you can fill it with water to see if the water level drops. This is a static test which can determine if your drain line is leaking. Use a contractor that is reputable and a plumber that doesn’t cut corners. It will pay off in the end.

20130808_115413What kind of maintenance and checks can we do to catch things early?

It is important for a homeowner to inspect their tile to ensure that grout isn’t missing and to yearly have it sealed. Check your shut-off valves underneath the sink and behind the toilet to ensure that they turn off. If you have problems turning them or the valve doesn’t shut the water off, have a licensed plumber come out and replace them. It’s too late when you try to turn them off and they don’t function properly, you ultimately will need to turn your water off to the house which for most people that is at the curb. Turning your water off at the curb is not easy.

Any other advice you’d like to offer for us?

One thing that I have learned in this business. If you are in the market to buy a house and the house is mature (10 years or more), always request a static test. We replace many drain lines/sewer lines due to roots growing into the pipes and basically causing your toilets and drain lines to back up. Most people plant a big tree in their front yard. Most sewer lines come from the curb straight to the house.

Rob is a Certified Graduate Remodeler (C

Rob is a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). When you hire a CGR, this individual is committed to continuing education, professional growth, and will bring exceptional skill and knowledge to your project as they must have at least five years of industry experience, take a qualifying exam, and must sign a Code of Ethics specific to their designation.

Universal Design

FamilyYears ago it wasn’t unheard of for families to stay in their homes their entire lives or maybe they only moved one time.  As time progressed people started moving more frequently, but now times are changing again and many are staying in their homes longer.  Instead of looking to move, many are looking to improve their current home to better their lifestyle for years to come.

Universal Design

Frequently referred to as aging in place, universal design is becoming more popular as homes are becoming multi-generational.  Today there is a greater demand for accessibility being recognized.  Physical disabilities should not interfere with the way you live your life and move around in your home; regardless if these are temporary or permanent. Subtle changes can be made throughout the remodeling process to prepare for the future, which may include:

• widening doorways to allow easier access for walkers, wheelchairs or crutches
• pull out shelves in cabinetry to allow easier access to not strain the back and/or knees
• barrier free showers to allow independent bathing or access for all ages and disabilities
• leveling at least one entrance to the home to allow for access for any and all individuals

Understanding aging-in-place isn’t just about learning a few remodeling tricks. It’s about considering the needs of the aging population and developing flexible solutions to the many challenges common homes provide. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists are not only trained in aging friendly solutions to common remodeling projects, they are trained to understand the entire aging process and its unique demands. By understanding the nature of aging, a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist is the best contractor possible when it comes to assessing your home, developing designs to make it more universally livable, and to follow through on those designs by performing the remodeling work. Whether you are currently in need of aging-in-place home improvements and remodels, or are considering a major remodel and want to incorporate aging-in-place into the design to wisely prepare for the future, the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists at Home Life Concepts can help.

Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) can be the best choice for an aging in place remodeling project or new home construction for those seniors building the home they want to age in. These professionals have taken part in a training and certification process through the National Association of Home Builders which prepares them to anticipate and meet the needs of older people.

Through the use of universal design principles, CAPS professionals can work with you to create a safe, comfortable and more independent life in your home; both now and for the future. But, it doesn’t stop with addressing design. CAPS professionals are trained in common remodeling projects and costs, accessibility issues, product recommendations, codes and standards, and the process and resources needed to provide a complete aging in place solution.

Curb Appeal Renovations, Inc., is proud to have Robin Burrill as both CAPS professional and interior designer and Rob Mathews as a registered nurse on their name.  Together they can assist you in making your home accessible for today and tomorrow…whatever that may look like for you and your family.

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