Homeowners often look to capitalize on the summer months for their renovation and remodelling projects, since the outside weather is amenable and the project will (hopefully) be done before winter stalls everything. At Mister Plumber, we definitely see our fair share of plumbing projects that happen in tandem with a larger, summer remodelling project – and it makes total sense. Your bathroom, for instance, is already ripped up and the walls are often opened during renovation, so why not use this opportunity to make sure your plumbing is in tip-top shape.
It can be easy for homeowners to fall into the trap of simply remodelling for aesthetics, or to fix only glaringly obvious structural problems, but plumbing issues – subtle though they may be – need your attention as well. Often, your pipes will give little warning until it’s too late, and then you are in a “need to fix” situation. You can avoid those emergency plumbing jobs if you proactively hire a local Toronto plumber to inspect your plumbing during your renovation.
In this article, we’ll focus primarily on washroom renovation, since that seems to be the most popular form of renovation you see (along with the kitchen). If you are renovating your bathroom and tearing up walls, after demolition, all drain and water pipes have to be inspected by licensed plumber. Oftentimes, these old Toronto homes have pipes that absolutely have to go, and putting that off can be a costly oversight.
According to our statistics in Toronto, a lot of houses still have their old original pipes, despite multiple renovations having been done in the past. Many people, when they opt to do renovations, perhaps don’t properly budget for the inspection of their old pipes, and potential installation of new pipes. This leads to trouble down the road, in the form of back ups, leaky water and wastewater. You might say to yourself, well, that’s no big deal – it probably won’t happen in my house anyways. Well, let’s take the example of old cast iron pipes, which are quite common in Toronto houses.
If your bathroom’s main soil stack – that is, the vertical drain pipe that carries waste from sanitary units like the toilet – is made of cast iron, it could cause problems. The main soil stack starts from the basement and is terminated above the roof as a vent. While the top portion of pipe that serves as a vent might be in satisfactory condition, because only air is being circulated there, the bottom portion of stack that serves as a drain is heavily affected by corrosion. As a result, such pipes get hairline cracks, causing wastewater leakage. Imagine putting all that money into renovations to make your bathroom look good, only to have leaking wastewater!
Another problem with cast iron pipes is corrosion, which creates build up and reduces the inside diameter of the pipe significantly. See, what happens with cast iron is that hydrogen sulphide gas in the wastewater oxidizes, forming corrosive sulphuric acid; when that sulphuric acid starts to rust the pipe, the rust flakes chip off and form in a single section of the pipe (along with other common clogging culprits). This causes back ups, as well as slow drainage. Again, not things you want happening over top of a beautiful new renovation.
If you’re doing bathroom renovations, allow Mister Plumber to come in for a drain inspection and, if need be, replace your old cast iron pipes with something a little more modern, like lightweight ABS. Short for Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (which is quite a mouthful!), ABS is a smooth, thermoplastic resin that doesn’t rot, corrode or catch unwanted waste, making it perfect for a well-flowing bathroom. They’re also lightweight and easy to install, so having us come in will be very easy.
There is only one small disadvantage of these plastic pipes, and that is that they’re noisier when compared to cast iron. You can often hear the rushing water in them. But this can be easily fixed by having Mister Plumber’s plumbing services in Toronto install soundproofing insulation around the pipe and inside the wall. With insulation in place, the pipes will be quiet as a whisper.
Old water pipes can also be upgraded with crosslinked Polyethylene pipes, or PEX for short. This non-rigid material is perfect for bathroom installation, because its flexibility allows it to snake around 90 degree corners, and it needs fewer fittings. For renovation projects, these pipes are ideal because less damage is required to the wall and floor to install them. Like ABS, they don’t corrode when faced with acidic water, so they’ll last you for a long time, but unlike ABS they are relatively quiet.
Of course, before you can settle on a new type of pipes, call Mister Plumber for a thorough drain inspection. We’ll use CCTV drain cameras to give you a quick and efficient diagnosis of your drains, and record it so that together we can make an informed decision based on the content. Are the pipes corroding or cracking? Are they leaking or building up with unwanted debris? Depending on what we find, we’ll work with you to brainstorm options, and give you the best possible plumbing experience.
To conclude, Mister Plumber has message to homeowners: if you are renovating your bathroom, and are already going through the process of ripping up drywall, you have the perfect opportunity to make sure that your plumbing and drains are up-to-date and in good working order. You’re about to go through all this trouble to install new appliances, or new tiling, and it would be incredibly frustrating if some of your pipes started to leak after the installation. Get your bathroom started on the right foot by getting a free plumbing estimate anywhere in Toronto from Mister Plumber.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a summer project, but your renovation plans should always include plumbing inspection. Whether you replace your old cast iron pipes with durable, non-corroding ABS or flexible, quiet PEX, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your bathroom looks good and runs smoothly.