COULD YOU DO THE PLUMBING YOURSELF?
Thinking about maybe plumbing yourself? It may seem a bit overpowering, but plumbing yourself can not only be a money saver, but also quite the adventure! Have you ever hired a contractor, paid the big bucks and thought “Hey, I could have done that!”
Well, plumbing has never been easier … and many people are learning about plumbing … including the parts, tools and materials because they not only save money, but get a real satisfaction in the outcome. Today, we have lots of online resources and professionals at the retailers to walk us through any remodeling project. Like anything else, though, starting is the hardest part.
When you decide to do the plumbing yourself, you should contact your city or county building department and see what the codes are concerning homeowner plumbing remodels. Talk to someone in the plumbing department or ask whoever answers the phone exactly who you need to see.
In some states, plumbing jobs (those behind walls and under floors) need to be done by a “licensed, bonded and insured” plumber.
If your city or county doesn’t allow you to do the plumbing yourself, so be it. But professional plumbers may welcome your help with some things, and money saved is money saved. You’ll learn a few things and have a little fun. In fact, you may be able to find a plumber who will allow you to do most of the work yourself, then charge you to check your work before the inspection. Ask before you hire.
If your city does give you the go ahead, you’re on your way! You’ll be issued a Plumbing Permit (similar to the permit shown right), then set your budget, learn the symbols, peruse the big boxes and talk to anyone who’ll talk to you.
Clicking around this site on anything and everything having to do with plumbing is a great start. You can print pages and copy the parts you need to work with.
Depending on your level of commitment and enthusiasm, you will be amazed at how easy plumbing yourself can be. Whether its a motivated husband and wife team or a group of friends working together, a plumbing remodel can be fun and you will feel like you’re on top of the world once the project is finished.
You’ll want to work with PVC mostly, because its up to code in every jurisdiction, easy and inexpensive. If you make a mistake you can usually just cut the mistake off and throw it away.
HOW TO WORK WITH PVC
Once you have the materials – PVC pipe, fittings and adhesive – the only tool you’ll need is a saw (a hacksaw works well) with a blade made for cutting plastic and a sheet of 150 grit sandpaper for cleaning the cut and preparing the PVC parts for joining. Here’s how its done:
• CUT: Cut the PVC pipe with a handsaw. You can use a jigsaw or sabre saw as well, but why get complicated. Deburr and clean the cut all around to remove burrs and roughness. A finger in a work glove works on pipes 3/4″ and larger. Lightly sand the areas to be joined.
• DRY FIT: Put the pipe and fittings together (no glue) to make sure they’re going exactly where you want.
• MARK: Use a Sharpie or medium fine tip marker to make any marks and draw positioning lines on the pipes and fittings.
• GLUE: Apply PVC Cement (available where you buy the pipes and fittings) around pipe ends and the insides of fittings, one at a time. The PVC Cement comes in small cans with a built-ln applicator and dries reallyfast.
• ASSEMBLE: Immediately assemble the glued pieces together, making sure the positioning marks (if you made any) are aligned. Slightly twist back and forth as you’re pushing the parts together.
• VOILA!: Hold the assembly together for as long as it takes you to slowly say “Bod-a-Bing, Bod-a-Bang.” There … a permanent, water tight joint!
If you’ve never done this before, cut a few lengths of pipe (3” to 4”) and gather a few fittings (tees are good, as they have 3 openings) and glue away. If you’re smart enough to read this, you’re smart enough to do this. Once you feel comfortable enough to do it for real, start plumbing!
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