A Guide to Bathroom Renovation


Remodeling a bathroom can be a daunting task. Read this article for helpful information.

Common Sense and Safety

Before undertaking any plumbing project, please review these safety notes:

Safety glasses or goggles should be worn when using power tools and when chiseling, sanding, scraping, or hammering overhead.

Wear ear protectors when using power tools, as some of them operate at noise levels which damage hearing.

Be careful of loose hair and clothing so that it does not get caught in tools.

A proper respirator or face mask should be worn when sanding or sawing or using substances with toxic fumes.

Keep your blades sharp. A dull blade requires excessive force, can slip, and causes accidents.

Always use the right tool for the job.

Repair or discard tools with cracks in the wooden handles or chips in the metal parts that could fail and cause injuries.

Don't drill, shape, or saw anything that isn't firmly secured.

Oily rags are flammable. Take care when you store and discard them.

Don't abuse your tools.

Keep a First Aid Kit on hand.

Do not work with tools when you are tired. That's when most accidents occur.

Read the owner's manual for all tools and know the proper use of each.

Keep tools out of reach of small children.

Unplug all power tools when changing settings or parts.

Plumbing Codes and Standards

Standards have been established in the plumbing industry to protect the health and safety of the community. Faulty plumbing can result in serious health and safety hazards, such as noxious gas backups, back siphoning, bursting pipes, floods, or electrical shorts. To ensure that these standards are obeyed, we have plumbing codes and permits.

Although there are several model plumbing codes in print, regulations regarding design, methods, and materials may differ between municipalities. Most use the Uniform Plumbing Code Book.

The main areas of code enforcement include:

The size of drain and vent pipes,

Size of supply lines,

Type of materials allowed,

Distance from trap to vent arm,

Slope of drain,

Height of drains above the floor,

Number and type of fixtures sharing a vent or drain pipe,

Height of horizontal section of vent pipe above floor,

Distance between pipe supports, and

Placement of clean-outs

Contact your local inspector for a copy of the codes and permits you will be required to follow, as local codes always supersede model codes. Materials are of great controversy and are constantly being updated. In some areas, plastic pipe is prohibited entirely, while in others it is permitted for the drain/waste and vent system only. Some areas may require insulating your water pipes or puffing vacuum breakers on your outside hose bibs.

All areas are different and change quite often. Before beginning any work, ensure that your plans conform to all local codes and ordinances. Discuss your plans with the local building inspector and obtain the necessary permits at the same time. Determine what work you may do yourself and what must be done by a licensed plumber. Be certain to follow these codes to the letter or you will run the risk of having to rip out all of your hard work.

Plumbing Inspections

Your plumbing work may require inspections at several different stages from the rough to the finished work. Inspection officers can be tough on plumbing, as faulty work can cause health problems. A licensed plumber may be required to attach your pipes to the public sewer line and water supply.

Usually, the plumbing is inspected in the rough and finished plumbing stages. The code office may require that you fill both supply and waste system with water or air under a specified pounds per square inch of pressure to check leaks. They will check the entire waste system for:

Size of pipes and pressure rating,

Number of fixtures on a drain or vent pipe,

Slope of pipe,


Fittings used in an improper way,

Height of drains,

Height of the horizontal runs of the vent pipes, and

Air gap fitting on dishwasher waste line.

They will also check the supply system for:


Vacuum breaks on outside hose bibb valves,

Size of pipes,

Galvanized pipe touching copper pipe, and

Air cushions (chambers) installed on supply lines to prevent banging.

Never cover your rough plumbing pipes until they have been inspected.