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Bathroom Remodeling Plan

Building Codes: Before you begin a plan for your bathroom, check your state and local building codes. Plumbing codes are often written and enforced at the city or county level. Many small towns or rural areas have no building codes at all. These areas may depend on county health departments, which are more interested in well and septic guidelines, than plumbing.

Permits: If you are planning to install a water heater or make an upgrade in your plumbing that will require changes or additions to your piping, visit your building inspector and apply for a permit.
You will need to fill out a permit application, which will be a guideline for your inspector.

Inspections: Generally you will need two inspections; one after the rough in work is completed, and one after the project is completed. The rough in inspection will check on all plumbing and repair work before you cover it with plaster walls or tile.
New home inspections will require an inspection of underground water service and sewer lines, after the installation of an under-slab or basement floor, the rough in inspection, and the final inspection.

Layout: When planning your bathroom, there are a number of factors to consider. The first is where is your current plumbing? It is a good idea to cluster your plumbing together, near your main stack of pipes. It can be very expensive to run piping far from your main “zone” of plumbing. Toilet drains, especially, are costly and time consuming to move. One of the most efficient methods of planning your plumbing is to put two bathrooms back to back where toilets, sinks, or tubs share a common wall.

Next, you need to know how much room each fixture will take. Most fixtures come in standard sizes, but if you order a custom piece, be sure and get the rough in measurements from the manufacturer.

Plumbing Layout - Toilet: Most toilets fit in a 22” space, but code requires a 30” opening in which to fit the toilet. Even if you don’t have a code, you will want to follow this suggestion; as cleaning a toilet in a tight space can be very cumbersome. When planning where your toilet drain will go, ensure there is 15” on either side of the center of the drain to the nearest wall or cabinet. The center of the flange should be 12 ½” out from the back stud wall or 12” from a finished wall.

The water supply for the toilet can come up through the floor or from the back wall. For a floor water supply, it must be centered 6” to the left of the drain and 3” in from the back wall. A wall water supply requires it to be 6” to the left of the drain and 6” from the floor.

Sink & Vanity Layout: Drains can be centered inside the vanity space, allowing the drainpipe to extend about 18” off the bathroom floor. Hot and cold water pipes can be installed 2” on either side of the center line of the sink top, making them 4” apart, and should extend about 24” into the vanity. Don’t make the mistake of mixing up your hot and cold pipes. Cold is on the right, hot on the left.

Although the standard height of most vanities is 32”, many people prefer a higher vanity height, up to 36”, for ease of use. To add the height to a standard vanity, simply place it on a frame of 2x4’s and adjust the height of the fixtures accordingly.

If you are installing a 2 sink vanity, divide it into two sections and treat them each as a separate vanity for plumbing, as they will each require their own water outlets and drains.

Plumbing Layout: Check your manufacturer’s specifications, as the sizes of bathtubs vary with design. In any case, measure the drain in the center of the tub, cutting and 8x12” opening into the floor to accommodate the waste and overflow assembly, as this can be bulky to install. The P-trap should be installed after the overflow assembly.

Standard height for a tub faucet valve is 28” off the floor, but if you have your tub on a platform, remember to allow for the height of the platform. Place the water outlets 8” apart, or 4” from the center. If you are installing a shower in your tub, the height of the shower head can be placed anywhere from 72” to 76”, depending on your preference.

Shower Layout: New showers can vary in size from 32” square to as much as 5 or 6 feet square, depending on your preference. The larger showers eliminate the need for a shower door or curtain; both of which are mold and mildew collectors, so you may want to consider a larger shower for easier cleaning.
Standard shower valve height is about 48” above the floor, with the shower head placed anywhere between 72” and 76” high. Shower plumbing should always be installed in a side wall for easier access, never a back wall.

Drain placement is usually centered to the shower floor; however, if your shower is large, you may wish to place the drain closer to the shower stream.

The floor opening for the drain should be 6 to 8” square to allow for the pan or 1 piece stall before connecting the P-trap.


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