Tips on Remodeling a Bathroom

Having just added the information about bathroom remodeling to our website, I stumbled on this article this morning.  I though it was more than appropriate and wanted to share it.  Thanks so much to our friends over at The Plumbing Info for sharing this.
Enjoy!

Hello all, so we were thinking back on the many crazy situations we as plumbers run into on a day to day basis. The one thing that kept creeping back up into my head that may sound simple but continually poses problems to both the professional plumber and do-it-yourself homeowner is the rough-in and trimming of a bathroom. We know, we do this everyday it shouldn’t be difficult right? In the following article we’re going to give you the difficulties that can and will pop up from time to time on both the professional level and in the home.

O.K. so you’ve been asked to put a bid on some bathroom remodeling for a school in your area. Most times in this situation you’d receive a set of bid documents in order for you or your company can put together pricing for the job. For this article we are going to focus on the fixtures and trim and we will start with the lavatories because quite honestly its the part of the job with the most inconsistencies.

Lavatories – So the plans are asking you to provide new lavatories for the project here are the questions you have to ask yourself before providing a bid and or doing the work.

**As a side note the things mentioned below happen quite often. They are not uncommon in fact we see these issues on a weekly basis so it is a good practice to have these questions in an accessible part of the brain.

  • What type of lavatories are in the existing space? Are they wall hung? Are they drop-in? Are the existing bowls integral to the counter top (are the lavatories molded into the counter i.e.Corian or terrazzo?)? Why is this and issue? Because many times a set of drawings will have inconsistencies with what is to be installed and what is existing, for instance the drawings call for all new drop-in lavs but the counter top is to remain. However when you look at the job you find that the lavs are integral to the counter. This means the entire counter needs to be removed.
  • Another huge issue is lavatory size. You may see a specification call for wall-hung ADA lavatories which can be quite large, if the proposed bathroom is fairly old the existing lavs maybe small. Check the dimensions of the bathroom to see if you have enough space in the room  to accommodate the new lavs.
  • If the existing counter top is to remain and you’re just removing the existing lavatories and replacing with new, make sure the new lavatories fit in the existing opening. This applies to both undercounter mount lavs and drop-in lavs. Check the specifications.
  • Take extra precaution when dealing with lavatory faucets. Make sure the spread of the faucet matches the spread on the lavatory i.e. having an 8” center widespread faucet specified for a 4” center lavatory bowl or having a 4” center faucet specified for counter top that has existing 8” center holes drilled.
  • Depending on where the new lavatories are being installed, are there thermostatic mixing valves specified? They are code almost everywhere but are missed quite often on specs. Ask the question from the architect or engineer. Just let everyone know you’ve got it covered or that it isn’t specified so you’ve excluded it from your proposal. Either way you’re covered.
  • Is p-trap, stop and supply insulation kit specified? If the lavatories are ADA compliant insulation kits will be required. Make sure you have it covered or that it isn’t specified so you’ve excluded it from your proposal.

Water Closets/Toilets – There aren’t quite as many issues with water closets but there are some and here are the ones that will make your life miserable on occasion.

  • Make sure you know the rough on the existing toilets. Are they 10”, 12” or 14”. The waste rough in dimension on a toilet is the measurement from the center of the waste opening to the finished wall. Putting a 10” rough toilet on a 12” or 14” rough opening isn’t pretty and most times if the opposite happens the toilet won’t fit.
  • Many times when remodeling a commercial or institutional bathroom the owner will want to change out tank type toilets and install water closets with flush valves. As plumbers we love the thought but most buildings will need to have the branch piping upsized to accomodate the increased need for water.
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Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Plumbing, Plumbing Repairs | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Housing Starts Down Slightly, Remodeling Activity Continues Climb

Since we offer both New Construction Plumbing Services as well as Remodeling and Repair of older products, I thought this article was quite telling of our industry…  (thanks to Plumbing and Mechanical magazine for sharing!)

Nationwide housing starts edged down 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 604,000 units in July, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department today. The slight decline comes on the heels of significant gains in housing production in June and was attributable to a moderate drop-off on the single-family side while production of multifamily units continued upward.

Single-family housing starts declined 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 425,000 units in July, on par with their second-quarter average. Multifamily starts rose 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 179,000 units, their highest level since January. Issuance of building permits, which can be an indicator of future building activity, fell 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 597,000 units in July.

“Overall housing production held relatively steady in July, with construction of new multifamily projects showing greater strength due to higher demand for rental units,” noted David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “Going forward, we expect housing production to show modest improvement through the end of this year, particularly in select markets that do not have large inventories of distressed homes and where economic stability is more apparent.”

Starts activity was mixed across the four regions in July, with the Northeast’s 34.7 percent gain countered by a 37.7 percent decline in the Midwest, a 5.6 percent gain reported in the South and a 3 percent decline posted in the West.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for August indicated that builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes is unchanged from the previous month.

“Builders continue to confront the same major challenges they have seen over the past year, including competition from the large inventory of distressed homes on the market, inaccurate appraisal values, and issues with their buyers not being able to sell an existing home or qualify for favorable mortgage rates because of overly tight underwriting requirements,” said Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman and a home builder from Reno, Nev. He noted that 41 percent of respondents to a special questions section of the HMI indicated they had lost sales contracts due to buyers’ inability to sell their current homes.

Remodeling Reaches Record Levels In JuneEven as the economy continues to struggle and home sales sag, the remodeling industry continued to be a bright spot in June, according to BuildFax, which tracks building, remodeling and repair data on more than 70 million homes nationwide. The BuildFax Remodeling Index shows that June 2011 became the month with the highest level of remodeling activity since the index was introduced in 2004.

“The first half of 2011 brought pain to many sectors of the economy including home sales and jobs, however Americans continue to invest in remodeling,” said Joe Emison, vice president of research and development at BuildFax. “With so many Americans unable to sell their current home, it is apparent that they are planning on staying in their current residences and are making renovations and upgrades.”

The June 2011 index rose 23 percent year-over-year to 129.5, the highest number ever in the index to date. The West (7.3 points; 6 percent), the Midwest (11.2 points; 13 percent), and the South (<.1 points; <1 percent) all had month-over-month gains, while the Northeast saw a decline (3.7 points; 4 percent). However, the Northeast was up 1.6 points (2 percent) from June of 2010, as was the West (24.4 points; 24 percent) and the South (7.6 points; 8 percent).  The Midwest was down slightly year-over-year (1 point; 1 percent), but much less so than the previous month (10.6 points; 11 percent).

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Energy Star Qualification Now Available For Multifamily High-Rises

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that new multifamily high-rise residential buildings are now eligible to qualify as Energy Star buildings (www.energystar.gov/mfhr). Expanding the Energy Star eligibility to such properties will allow property owners the opportunity to increase the asset value and offer tenants comfortable homes.

An independently licensed professional engineer or architect is required to verify that the program’s requirements are met through on-site testing and inspections conducted throughout the construction process. In the past, only single-family homes and units in low-rise multifamily buildings were eligible to earn the Energy Star designation.

To qualify for Energy Star, new or substantially rehabilitated multifamily high-rise buildings must meet energy-efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and be designed to be at least 15 percent more energy-efficient than buildings that meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers energy use standard. Qualified buildings feature a combination of energy-efficient improvements, including:

    • Effective insulation systems.
    • Properly sized heating and cooling equipment.
    • Tight construction and ducts.
    • Energy Star-qualified lighting and appliances.
    • High–performance windows.
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Welcome to Defosses Plumbing and Heating Blog

Check back soon for updated articles and helpful hints on all kinds of plumbing and heating topics.

Our services include:

  • Water heaters(gas,gas tank less, oil & electric)
  • kitchen and bathroom faucets
  • bath tubs and tub valves
  • showers and shower valves
  • kitchen sink
  • bathroom lavatory sink
  • toilets
  • whirlpools
  • urinals
  • well pumps
  • sump pumps
  • circulator pumps
  • sewer ejector pumps
  • water filters and purification systems
  • gas piping
  • gas fireplaces and gas appliances
  • gas & oil boilers
  • gas & oil furnaces
  • baseboard heating systems
  • radiant floor heating systems
  • kitchen and bathroom remodeling
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Posted in Heating, Hot Water Heaters, New Construction, Plumbing, Plumbing Repairs, Pumps & Wells, Water Filtration | Leave a comment