Undertaking a home renovation project is exciting but can also pose risks if proper plumbing maintenance is not followed. Drywall, flooring and insulation removals expose pipes to potential damage that could trigger expensive repairs or floods down the line.
Furthermore, shutting off the water main during demolition increases the risk of pipe bursts. This guide provides homeowners with essential steps to protect their plumbing system before, during and after renovation work.
From draining pipes to isolating renovated areas and safeguarding exposed lines, these best practices will help keep your plumbing intact and functioning smoothly throughout the remodelling process.
Controlling potential risks to plumbing through simple maintenance and preparation can save you headaches and costs later on. So, before breaking out the hammers and saws, be sure to follow this plumbing checklist to construction-proof your home’s water lines.
Shut Off the Main Water Supply
Before beginning demolition work, shutting off the main water supply entering your home is important. Locate the shut-off valve, typically found where the exterior water line meets the house.
This may be in the basement, crawl space or outside. The valve can be a wheel you turn clockwise to shut it off. Make sure to release any water pressure left in the lines by opening a faucet or flushing a toilet until the water stops flowing.
With the water supply disabled, you’ll prevent accidental flooding if pipes are disturbed during renovations. Be sure all household members know where the shut-off is located in case of plumbing emergencies.
Drain and Disconnect Water Lines
Once the main water supply is shut off, it’s time to drain any remaining water from the pipes. Begin by opening the highest faucets in the house, such as on the top floor. This allows gravity to drain lines throughout the home. You can also drain hot water tanks by opening the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.
Next, use a wet or dry shop vacuum to remove trapped water from lower-level pipes and purge all toilets. Then, you can safely disconnect water lines for the renovation project ahead.
Be sure to cap off disconnected pipes to prevent debris from entering the lines. Properly draining and disconnecting keeps pipes empty while work is done to avoid damage.
Maintain Access to Essential Fixtures
While much of the plumbing system will be shut down during renovation, it’s important to maintain access to essential water fixtures. Ensure that at least one bathroom remains fully functional so the home is still livable during work.
Keep the main bathroom’s sink and toilet lines intact by capping lines in other areas before they branch off. You can also isolate this plumbing from demolition areas by removing drywall and covering pipes with a protective covering like polyethylene sheeting.
Clearly label any disconnected fixtures so they can quickly be reconnected later. This allows for necessary water use like cleaning, laundry or overnight stays while preventing accidental damage to plumbing in the reno zones. Just be sure to turn the water back on cautiously and check for leaks once work is complete.
Protect Exposed Pipes From Damage
During demolition and wall removal, plumbing lines will become exposed, which leaves them vulnerable. Take precautions to shield pipes from potential impact or debris.
Use sturdy polyethylene tubing cut to size or purchased pipe protection sleeves to surround exposed copper or PEX lines where they pass through framing. You can also wrap pipes with an insulation sleeve or layer with self-adhesive pipe wrap for visibility and cushioning.
Caution workers to avoid sharp tools or materials near open pipe runs. Consider bracing or re-routing lines temporarily if they cross planned work areas.
Inspect protected pipes daily for cracks or leaks that could develop from vibrations. Immediately repair any issues that arise to prevent flooding or mould growth behind walls during construction. With simple shielding, your plumbing system will remain intact for reassembly later.
Plan For Temporary Toilets and Water Access
While renovations impact indoor plumbing, having functional toilet facilities and water sources is important for workers and homeowners staying on-site. Plan accordingly to avoid issues.
For toilets, consider renting portable units that can be placed outside near the work area. Choose durable models suited for job site conditions. Alternatively, cordon off an unaffected bathroom inside with plastic sheeting doors for temporary use.
Set up a basic handwashing station by connecting a small sink to an outdoor spigot with polyethylene tubing. Add a water tank, hand soap and towels. This allows clean-up without disrupting internal plumbing.
Clearly mark all temporary fixtures to avoid accidents. Place additional exterior spigots in out-of-way areas where water is easily accessible for tasks like tool cleaning and mixing grout or concrete.
With minor forethought, functional facilities can be maintained respecting the renovation scope. This keeps the project on track while upholding basic necessities and safety standards throughout construction.
Inspect Pipes Before Drywall and Insulation
It’s important to thoroughly inspect all plumbing lines before interior walls and ceiling surfaces are closed back up with drywall and insulation. This serves as the final check before systems are entirely concealed again.
Carefully examine all exposed pipe runs, connections and junctions for signs of leaks, cracks or other damage accrued during the renovation process. Apply light pressure along pipes, feeling for cracks or loose fittings.
Thoroughly flush all lines and check for leaks at valves, shut-offs and fixture connections. For PEX systems, run on water for 15 minutes to reveal any slow leaks.
Repair any issues found immediately to prevent future problems hidden inside walls and document completed work for records.
Taking time for a full functional inspection of the plumbing allows peace of mind that your systems remain protected long-term as wall insulation and materials conceal access again.
Reconnect Water and Test For Leaks
Now that renovations are complete, it’s time to return the full plumbing system online. But first, reconnect any water lines that were previously disconnected. Apply fresh pipe joint compound or Teflon tape to all threaded fittings during reattachment.
Open all shut-off valves slowly to restart water flow into the home. Have rags ready to tighten any fittings that initially leak upon reconnection.
Now do a full test of every faucet, shower, toilet and appliance for leaks. Run each fixture completely and inspect connection points. Check sinks by filling their basins and looking for drips.
If any leaks are detected, shut the water back off immediately and tighten fittings or joints as needed. Replace washers or parts when tightening does not fix the issue.
Once you are confident there are no leaks in the whole system, you can feel assured the plumbing is in good shape and installation is complete! Proper testing catches any final problems before trim work covers access.
Check for Cracks and Damage After Completion
Even after the dust has settled from renovations, it’s important to periodically check the plumbing for issues that could emerge over time. Installations are disturbed during work, and stresses may cause delayed problems.
In the first few months after project completion, carefully examine pipes in accessible areas for new cracks or damages not initially present. Give special attention to joints, corners and locations vulnerable to stress.
Within the first year, it’s a good idea to do a thorough inspection under sinks and near valves to visualise pipe condition. Catching flaws early avoids costly repairs down the road.
Minor issues may be repairable DIY, but professional help is best for major plumbing needs. Ongoing maintenance ensures the system installed remains fully functional for many years of service.
Keep Pipes Intact Through Your Renovation Project
Following some basic plumbing maintenance steps can help protect your water lines from damage during home renovation projects. From shutting off water and draining pipes to insulating exposed lines and testing for leaks – taking the proper precautions at each stage helps keep your system functioning smoothly. If issues arise, it’s best to consult a licensed plumbing expert.
Gold Coast Plumbing Experts offers professional plumbing services across The Gold Coast. As a licensed, insured and experienced team, we can assist with tasks like installing temporary fixtures, inspecting for issues, and repairing any plumbing problems during or after your renovation.
Taking the time to maintain your plumbing using the tips appropriately mentioned can save headaches and costs down the road. But if issues arise, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Gold Coast Plumbing Experts. Our experts can ensure your water system is construction-proofed and in good working order.