Choosing Drains and Supply Lines for a Beautiful Bathroom

From sinks and tubs to wall paint, there are dozens of important decisions that go into renovating bathrooms. And with so many design choices to make, it can be easy to get caught up in little things like toiletries and towels. Amidst all the excitement, though, there’s an element that’s often overlooked: drains and supply lines.

If drains and supply lines aren’t top of mind during a bathroom remodel, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate the floor plan. Here’s a look at why drains and supply lines are so important, and how to involve them in bathroom remodel planning.

Preparing a Bathroom for New Fixtures

As home blogger Victoria Elizabeth Barnes proves, fixtures play a leading role in a bathroom remodel. Barnes details the process she went through to choose her tub faucet, sink faucet, water shutoff, sink handles and more. But when in the renovation process should someone start thinking about fixtures?

According to Cardinal Plumbing, there are a few things to think about before fixtures become part of the conversation. For example, it’s essential to verify all existing pipe systems in a bathroom are up to code before renovating. This helps avoid any possible leakages, which can potentially cause damage to a brand new bathroom. Home Repair Tutor adds that if someone has just purchased an older house, it’s a good idea to replace the supply lines that connect the water supply to the faucet, toilet or washing machine. These are areas that typically show signs of wear and mineral buildup, and replacing them can prevent leaks.

Another thing to check for is whether or not supply and drain lines extend outside. When remodeling an older home or living in an area that experiences temperatures below freezing, QM Remodeling says that a homeowner might want to reroute supply lines to a more efficient area. This will make it possible to redirect all supply lines to the inside, which will greatly reduce the risk of pipes freezing.

When to Replace Lines

Aside from supply lines that are outdated or poorly functioning, there are other situations where a homeowner might need to replace lines.

When converting a single sink into a double, for example, it’ll be necessary to join the supply lines. Ace Plumbing, Heating and Air explains that each sink needs to be tied to the main supply line first. Therefore, it’s critical to incorporate supply lines into the design strategy before simply choosing new ones. Putting a dual sink is a smart way to upgrade a master bathroom, allowing more space for multiple people to get ready at the same time, adds SEED Property Group .

Choosing Lines

After a customer has determined that they need new supply lines, the first thing they’ll want to do is measure existing supply lines. Home Tips for Women notes that the industry standards for valves and lines have changed over the years, so measuring is essential to ensure that new supply lines fit the existing plumbing system.

Since different mounts require varying fixture styles, allow the design to inform the fixtures. From here, GM Roth Design Remodeling says that one can either pick a style and then choose a finish, or choose a finish and then pick a style.

When it comes to choosing a style and finish, Jeb Breithaupt of JEB Design Build stresses that it’s a good idea to err on the safe side with trends. Choosing something that’s trendy in the moment might make a bathroom look outdated in a year or two, making a customer wish they opted for something more timeless.

Aligning Plumbing with Bathroom Design

Each sink, tub, shower and toilet style requires a certain kind of plumbing fixture. When designing a bathroom and choosing fixtures, it’s key to ensure these two elements are aligned. For example, Barbara Kratus of Infinity Drain explains that linear drains support the needs of curbless or barrier free showers.

Alternatively, homeowners hoping to install a freestanding tub might have more work to do when replacing fixtures. As Susan and Steve Howell of Howell Custom Building Group explain, many homeowners are seeking to create more space with their remodel. This means that major changes, like replacing a bathtub or installing a shower, are common expectations for modern remodels. In this situation, it’s a good idea to double check whether supply lines need to be modified, extended or moved altogether. Plumber Rob Robillard suggests checking the dimensions of all old and new sinks, tubs and other fixtures to verify alignment.

According to Brett Primack, owner of Las Vegas Remodel and Construction, “to install a freestanding tub, one needs to plan to move the water supply lines, drain lines and flooring for the tub to sit on.” This may also involve cutting concrete or other flooring materials to make room for the new supply lines, so be sure to factor this into the budget.

Ridgeway Mechanical reminds homeowners to always switch off the water supply before starting any plumbing projects. Only then is it safe to dive into the project (or have a plumber or contractor do the work).

Brass and Copper Supply Lines

When researching and choosing supply lines, it’s important to know the benefits of each material. According to home decor site Dengarden, plated brass and copper tubing have a long life expectancy. However, these materials require special tools and skill for installation and can be more costly. They do tend to look more elegant and sophisticated than ordinary supply lines, so are a solid choice for a high end bathroom that has a larger budget.

Brushed Nickel and Stainless Steel

Other common supply line options are brushed nickel and stainless steel. These materials are versatile and can complement many bathroom designs, styles and colors. Pro Remodeler adds that in addition to matching neutral and natural colors, stainless steel and brushed nickel pick up the colors around them. This makes it easy to freshen up a bathroom with a new sink without having to change the supply lines later down the road.

Images by: Unsplash, Lisen Kaci, Renier Veldman