Guest Blog by Tom Masters, Anytime Plumbing

One all-too-common remodeling mistake is forgetting to think through the impact your project will have on your home’s plumbing. As an online renovation planner, the Renovation Roadmap brings together all the details you need to remember, so you can start your project on the right foot, be informed and don’t have to worry about facing additional costs caused by plumbing problems down the line. Tom Masters brings to our attention potential problems and his recommendations on how to avoid them.

If you’ve recently undertaken a home remodel (or are planning one in the near future), your home’s plumbing may not even be on your radar screen. Homeowners often only focus on the aesthetics of what their finished project will look like, and often neglect the functional aspects (like plumbing) involved in a renovation.

Whatever stage you are in with your project, here are 5 ways bad plumbing can ruin your home remodel:

#1: Burst Pipes

The last thing you want is water flooding into a space you are renovating, damaging it and other areas in your home. When you’re remodeling, it’s essential your plumbing contractor is always mindful of the location of all water pipes. Otherwise, they may break into a wall (or even a floor such as your basement slab) and inadvertently damage a water or sewage pipe.

For this reason most knowledgeable contractors will turn the water off to your home before starting any work. However, if you’re going to be living in a portion of your home while a defined area within it is being remodeled, turning off the water at the mains may not be a viable option. In this scenario, it’s important your contractor look over the blueprints, plans or past permits for your home (if you have these) so they do any demo work in a careful and deliberate fashion. If they don’t address this, ASK them to before they start work. Any reputable plumber or plumbing service will gladly show you their plan and explain to you in detail what their approach is.

#2: Uncovered Damage

More common than a pipe being broken accidently, is discovering damage during your remodel. Unfortunately, over time old plumbing can degrade and leaks can happen due to fittings coming loose or pipes getting clogged from hard water and other minerals. This is especially true for older homes, where the plumbing system has been in service for quite a few years. Your contractor may find leaking pipes or faulty fittings, which have allowed water to drain into spaces in your walls or other areas.

It’s always a good idea to perform water tests, and if you have a hard water well you should consider a water softener system. This system can save you a huge headache 10 to 20 years down the road. Once you discover a leak or one occurs, find the source to fix the problem before mold becomes an issue. Because of the potential health risks leaks can cause, you should hire a professional plumber to address the issues and a general contractor to repair drywall and perform remodeling touch-ups.

#3: Uncovered Deficiencies

While your contractor may not find a leaking pipe, they may see deficiencies in the design or choice of materials used in the plumbing system. Unfortunately, it’s Impossible to predict these problems before they begin opening up your walls, and you may find your plumbing needs some serious updating. Some of your pipe runs may be at risk to fail at any time, or a flaw in the overall design could be causing you issues. To be prepared for this kind of unexpected expense, it’s important to be realistic when developing a budget for your remodel. Don’t cross your fingers and hope for the best. This type of smart financial planning will help you to more easily weather this type of common renovation pitfall. The Renovation Roadmap can help mitigate these issues and educate you on the questions to ask to avoid some of these pitfalls.

#4: Drywall Damage After Completion

Though no one likes to hear about an unexpected cost to fix any faulty plumbing discovered in the course of their remodel, not finding an issue that’s present is even worse. Why? When the defective plumbing inevitably fails down the line, your beautiful new drywall will be the one to pay the price. If a pipe begins leaking (or even fails completely) the water damage to your freshly remodeled room could be significant.

To ensure this type of renovation nightmare scenario doesn’t happen to you, it is always best to have a qualified plumber do a full inspection of your system once the walls are opened up. This is the perfect opportunity, as during the renovation your walls will be open and an inspection of the various pipes should be straightforward. If your general contractor doesn’t have this as a line item in their project timeline, that’s a red flag. A qualified plumber should come with recommendations from your area and have verified reviews from Google, FaceBook and/or the Better Business Bureau.

#5: Fixture Damage Due to Water Issues

The final way bad plumbing can ruin your home remodel is by doing damage to your brand new fixtures. Whether it’s an expensive new faucet in your kitchen or a new shower head in your bathroom, too much water pressure or rust can ruin them. If your house has old galvanized steel pipes with rusting issues, some experts recommend repiping your home before moving forward with any cosmetic aspects of your remodel. Repiping an entire home is a large job that can eat up a lot of your budget. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, then get an expert’s advice on how best to fix the leak and clean up the pipes as a short-term solution.

By being aware of these 5 potential ways that faulty plumbing can make a mess of your new remodel, you’ll be better able to protect yourself from problems. Always be sure to discuss possible plumbing complications with your general contractor or the project manager before they get started and the first hammer swings. Using the services of an experienced plumber who can inspect the area being remodeled and independently advise you helps protect your new investment. This type of careful and considered approach to your remodel should ensure that your beautifully renovated space room will be free of water damage for years to come.

About Tom Masters

Tom is a carpenter and home handyman expert. You can find out more about the plumbing services offered by his company, Anytime Plumbing at

About the Renovation Roadmap

The Renovation Roadmap is your online partner in helping you navigate a remodel from conception to completion. Along with sample contracts, expert advice and guidance from design and industry experts, you also gain access to an online community of homeowners just like you.

Learn More About The Renovation Roadmap

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