Fixture It


Modern sink fixture

Waypoint Real Estate Group understands that a home make over can sometimes make a world of change. If you are looking to spruce things up a bit and want to go beyond a flower vase, but not so far as knocking out a wall, consider updating plumbing fixtures. New fixtures are a beautiful way to add a sparkling new touch to a home.

The simplest way to do this is to call your favorite contractor.  But, if you are an adventurous DYI advocate, bust out your handyman gloves. This is serious business.

There are some major considerations when installing a new fixture in your home.  Here are some guidelines to get you started as published by Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

A: Do the pipelines and connections already exist for your fixture? If so, great! You have an exceptionally easy install.

B: Do you need to install a new supply line? If so, we have some planning to do.

  • Apply at your local building department for a permit. Ask about any and all codes for your area while you are there. These will be important.

Fixture Plumbing Diagram

  • Map out where your existing lines run. If you have blueprints of your home this should be fairly easy to do. Chances are your home will be set up similar to the image to the right. You’ll notice that many fixtures may be clustered around what is called a “wet wall”. The “wet wall” is generally a bit thicker in order to accommodate the main pipe or “stack” that runs through it to the roof.  If you are unsure how your lines run, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so don’t hesitate to call a contractor. Waypoint Real Estate Group would be happy to help you find a contractor if you are looking for a good recommendation.
  • Understand your system. All of your fixtures will need to drain either directly into the main stack, or into a sloped horizontal run that leads to the main stack. Fixtures that are more than a few feet away from the stack may require a “revent” or “circuit vent”. A circuit vent is a loop that goes back up to the main stack. You can see this in the photo to the right from the bathroom sink. Sometimes a new fixture may be large enough to need it’s own new stack, such as a new shower. If you aren’t sure if your fixture needs a new stack, revent, or circuit vent look up the building codes for your area.
  • Plan your new fixture. The closer you go to the existing main stack the less wall damage you will have. If you will be installing a new stack then make sure you are considering that you will need a thick wall to do so.
  • Vent. Picture a stack as a two-way chimney. The waste and water have to go down, but you also need to let gas escape up. Improperly ventilated fixtures can be very dangerous. There are a couple different types of vents to consider.

Option 1 –  a unit vent is when you install a new line on the main line. For this type of vent you want to install fixtures on opposite sides of the wet wall, with drains at similar heights.

Option 2 – wet venting uses a section of one fixture’s drain line as a vent for another. Not all codes permit this so be careful. If neither of these options works for you, the only solution may be to                      install an entirely new vent line. If your fixture is close to the roof this could be a relatively simple task.

  •  Inspect and enjoy. Installing a new fixture isn’t a lazy job. It’s a challenging job, but also a rewarding one. Make sure you have someone from your local building department come check all of your work before you put the walls back on.

While installing a new fixture might be a bit trickier then purchasing a throw pillow, the enhancement value and the feeling of a job well done are worth the work. Just think, now every time you wash your hands you can beam with pride at your handiwork. Celebrate good times…come on!


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