Why should you buy your appliances and fixtures BEFORE you remodel your kitchen or bathroom?
Always choose your appliances and fixtures before you start a remodel. This is especially important when you are tackling your own remodeling project. If you have a general contractor, they already know this information and will make sure you’ve chosen all of your appliances and fixtures for your new space before they bring in the sub-contractors.
In Billings, we are lucky to have several nice plumbing showrooms with samples, books and stock of fixtures and appliances for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms and any other plumbing needs. These plumbing showrooms are at Mountain Supply, Ferguson, The Water Closet (Northwest Pipe) and a few others. They may have to special order your choices and that could take nearly 6 weeks. Or they may have your needs in stock, and they can hold on to them for you after your purchase if you don’t have room for them at home during the first phase of the remodel.
It is especially important for plumbers, electricians and cabinet makers to know the specifications for the products so they know what is going in before you start to remodel.
Let’s start with a kitchen:
A gas range, for example, needs to sit all the way back against the wall, so no grease or anything gets behind it, so it’s easier to clean, and the only way that can happen is for us to see the specifications (“specs”) of that appliance. The specs show the plumber and electrician where to put the gas lines and outlet so the range can slide all the way back. There are specific recesses for both the gas lines and electrical connections. If we have the specs in advance then we can make it all fit.
Kitchen sink: If it’s a remodel in an older house, the kitchen sinks aren’t as deep as our newer sinks are. They often didn’t have disposals, which make the drain from the sink higher If you don’t consult the plumber first, you won’t know how low the sink and disposal will go. If done too late, then the drain may be to high to accommodate the disposal. Then your sink and p-trap may be higher than your drain and it will never drain all the way.
Refrigerator: Plumbers just need to know if you need an ice-maker line put in. Of course, you’ll also need to know the width and height for the cabinet builder.
Dishwasher: The plumber and the electrician will need to coordinate this so it’s next to the sink and will fit into the cabinetry.
Sink: Does the sink vanity have legs on it or does it have a toe kick? (That’s the part where you kick your toes.) If you have a vanity like a piece of furniture, with legs that are open underneath, then you want the pipes to go into the wall, not into the floor where you would see them under the vanity.
However, if it has a toe kick and goes all the way to the floor, then you can put the water lines directly into the floor, so you can’t see them.
Toilets: The type of toilet you choose will determine where the water line will go – will it come through the wall or the floor? It can be a disaster if we rough in a water line for a standard toilet and later they order something unusual, and the water line is in the way of the toilet. Then we have to move the water line. Note: any time we have to move a water line, it’s more expensive for the owner. Also, we may have to cut and dig up freshly-laid tile or a nice newly-painted wall. Then the tile work or the painting have to be redone.
Showers: Will you have a slide bar with a sprayer? It’s best to screw a slide bar or grab bars into wood that is positioned behind the tile, before the tile is up. Otherwise, it won’t be as sturdy. Grab bars will be much stronger if they are attached to a stud or a piece of wood behind the tile. If you don’t plan ahead then we’ll have to use a toggle bolt, a winged bolt, to attach it to the wall when there is nothing to screw it into. Not as sturdy or as safe.
Also for showers, what types of valves will you need? We’ll need to know your preference for where the bathroom valves will go. (Note: A valve is the part behind the wall that the handle connects to – where you turn the shower on and off, or choose hot and cold.)
The bottom line is that you will save time and money if you consult a plumber before you start any remodel that involves plumbing. Call for anything with pipes for water or gas lines. I’d be happy to consult with you to help you plan the most efficient, effective, safe and attractive remodel.
Give me a call at 855-7131.
Bill Manske, Master Plumber and Owner