PlumbingWhen you’re planning your new bathroom, it’s easy for the layout to become a bit of an afterthought. Understandably, you’ll be wrapped up in getting the design style perfect, whilst keeping the bottom line to an absolute minimum. What you might know though, is that the layout of your bathroom fixtures will affect both your renovation and plumbing bill. The fewer wet walls you have, the less your plumbing installation will cost.

So, with a bit of research and thought as to the layout, you can stop costs from skyrocketing and get a better understanding how things work in your bathroom.

First and Foremost

Before we move into the nitty-gritty of plumbing it’s worth noting that aside from the fixtures themselves, one of the most expensive aspects of your bathroom renovation is moving plumbing lines. Replacing old fixtures with new ones is relatively easy; whereas installing new plumbing rooms requires skill, planning and possibly a licence. Therefore, if you’re looking to keep costs down, then consider whether it’s possible to leave water pipes and drains in the same place!

Plumbing Layout

The layout of your fixtures is as much a human issue, as it is a plumbing one. You want the layout to reflect the way the bathroom is used, as well as how often and in what order.For example, the vast majority of people will use the toilet then the sink. Rarely will they be used the other way round. It makes sense then to position the sink closest to the door because it’s most people’s last stop in their bathroom routine. At the opposite end of the spectrum the tub and shower can be placed farthest from the door, as they’re used relatively infrequently compared to the toilet and sink.

The Networks of Pipes

In general, home plumbing systems consist of two networks of pipes: the supply system (the pipes that carry water into the house) and the DWV system (drain, waste and vent system, the pipes that carry water and waste out of the house).


The supply system starts with an underground line from a water source, which measures the amount of water entering the house. Next to this is a valve that, when closed, stops water flowing into the house. This supply line branches into two lines – one for cold water, the other for hot. The cold water pipe runs directly to your fixtures and faucets. The hot water supply runs through your boiler and then back parallel with the cold water pipes.

Drains and Vents

The drain system carries water away from the fixtures and out of the house. The vent system compliments the drain by supplying air to make sure waste moves freely out of the system. It’s important to know the location of your main vents because each new or moved fixture must connect to one of the main vents.

You may live in an area that specifies the size of your conformation of drainage, waste and vent lines. To check this, you need to consult local codes. The best bet is to hire a licenced professional plumber and leave all major plumbing work to him.

A guest post by Michael Smith from bathrooms4all – suppliers of bathroom suites.
Photo credit: jclor