Basement Plumbing Projects: What You Need to Know

There are a number of reasons that homeowners choose to finish a basement. Some simply want to add square footage and give their family more liveable space. Others hope to add value and make their property more marketable. A finished basement will accomplish both of these objectives (and more), but as you may have guessed, there are certain specific challenges associated with working in subterranean spaces. This rings especially true for basement projects that involve plumbing, such as a bathroom or kitchenette. Whether you’re adding new plumbing or working with preexisting structures, here are a few things you need to know before you begin working on a basement plumbing project:

Adding New Plumbing

Countless “weekend warriors” will tell you that they regret their decision to take on this task themselves. Oftentimes, adding new plumbing to subterranean spaces means breaking through the foundation of the home. This, unfortunately, can lead to leaks, if you’re not careful. These can be subtle leaks that cause slow damage over time, or these can be the type of emergency leaks that arise when someone strikes a pipe that they did not know was hiding behind all of that cement. What’s worse is hitting a sewer line. That is an experience you will never forget.

A concrete foundation is quite unpredictable, and you can’t minimize the fact that you are doing work that is affecting the very structural integrity of your home. This project is meant to add value to your property, not tear it down.

Altering Existing Plumbing

If you’re fortunate enough to have a basement that already has plumbing in place, the last thing you want to do is attempt to dismantle and reroute that network. Any number of issues could arise from DIY plumbing, not the least of which is a fractured pipe that floods your beloved basement.

Moreover, if your pipes are copper, welding them will require the use of a torch. Our reasons for advising against this should be quite obvious; it’s a matter of your personal safety.

If you do make it past everything we’ve already mentioned, how will you address the issue of sewage? If the home’s sewage pipes run below your basement space, you’re in a much better position than you would be in if it were to run above. If existing sewage pipes run overhead, you’ll have even more to consider, in terms of whether to use an “up-flushing system” or a “sewage ejector system”. Is this a decision that you will be comfortable making without the help of a professional?

Other items to consider include budgetary constraints, permits, and the risk of discovering something terrible when you open your basement walls or foundation.

If you are planning a basement remodel that includes a bathroom, kitchenette, or other plumbing project, let us help you ensure that the process goes smoothly. Contact us at 815-515-4062 to learn more.


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