Looking to perfect your basement and include a bathroom? Want to learn more about PEX plumbing and its advantages? How about tile your basement bathroom like a wild man? Welcome my friend. Get Fat Tire because this post is for you. Read: how to finish a rough bathroom in the basement
Rough in plumbing
The first step in any proper basement bathroom finishing project is plumbing. Maybe you already have the piping installed, maybe you don’t. If not, get ready to get used to a jackhammer because you’ll be chipping away at some of the concrete. Even if you’ve perfected your basement bathroom plumbing, chances are those pipes aren’t in the right place and don’t match your basement refinishing plan. Again, get ready to get used to the hammer drill. Moving the plumbing was something I didn’t have to worry about as we decided to put the bathroom in the basement right above our rudimentary pipe. I won’t go into depth on this as I have no experience, but if you have to move your basement bathroom plumbing, don’t let this project scare you off. Here’s a decent intro video of what slapping your concrete slab and installing bathroom plumbing will look like: topqa.info/watch?v=dKfQDiu0qhU
Basement bathroom plumbing with PEX
Let’s start right away with my decision to use PEX pipes for my basement bathroom plumbing. I made this decision for several reasons:1) It’s flexible – That means I don’t have to worry about soldering a joint every time I need to do a turn, like you would with traditional copper tubing. This also reduces your chances of having weak joints in the plumbing as you won’t have any joints! 2) Save your time – By not having to weld at every turn, you save an OPTIMIZE amount of time when installing PEX piping. If you’ve been following any of my other posts, I’d love to save some time and this is a huge time saver. 3) Save you money – PEX pipes are cheaper than copper pipes! Enough said. 4) PEX pipes are less likely to freeze – If you live in an area where you are subject to freezing temperatures, you are probably familiar with freezing pipes. Say goodbye to frozen pipes with PEX. The flexible nature of PEX plumbing allows water to freeze and defrost normally without any problems. 5) PEX has proven itself – If you check the history of PEX, this tool has been in use since the 30s. It was mainly used in commercial construction and in the 2000s it became the standard for plumbers. replace copper pipe with PEX pipe. If you have questions about PEX that I didn’t cover in this post, just join my basement completion forum on PEX pipelines.
PEX to Copper Plumbing
Chances are your current plumbing is all copper piping, and if that’s the case, here’s a step-by-step guide to tapping into your existing copper piping with PEX. First, you’ll want to define an area where you can mine your existing copper pipes. Our main floor bathroom was directly above the basement bathroom so it was easy to hit the hot and cold copper pipes leading to the sink above.1) Get supplies – Check out what I needed for my basement bathroom plumbing project. Look out for the really bad PEX curling iron that I originally bought to try and save some money. It didn’t work at all, so I ended up spending more money on the heavy duty PEX crimping tool.– Here are the tools I really recommend for your project:
- Close the pipe cutter (lower left)
- Pipe & plastic pipe cutter (bottom center)
- SharkBite Push-Fit accessory (top right)
- Heavy Duty PEX Bending Machine (not shown in the picture)
– Everything else you’ll need is as pictured but these four tools will make your basement bathroom plumbing project much easier.2) Turn off the water, flush your pipes – Don’t make this rookie mistake. Cutting into your existing pipes without turning off the water first is a recipe for disaster, one that won’t be easy to explain to your wife. – First, turn off the water then turn on all the sinks, showers, bathtubs in your home until your pipes are clean.3) Cut your copper pipes – Take your pipe cutter, open it and place it around your copper pipe. – To ensure a clean cut, tighten the cutter until you make contact with the copper pipe and spin it around the pipe. When the mower turns easily, tighten and turn around. Do this over and over until you have cut the copper pipe clean. – Be sure to get a bucket to get all the water left in your pipes. 4) Insert SharkBite accessory – My pipes have enough wiggle to allow the SharkBite joint to fit snugly into the spot where I cut the copper pipe. You can cut a small piece of pipe to make sure the coupling is in place and not causing your copper pipe to bend.
PEX in the basement bathroom
After you’ve tapped into your existing plumbing, run your PEX piping through the wall behind your sink, toilet, and bathtub/shower in your basement. Again, I opted to use the SharkBite pusher for both the sink and the toilet. The shower valve I purchased comes with a PEX barb attachment, so requires a metal ring and a crimping tool to ensure a tight and leak-free joint. I decided to run a small copper pipe from inside the wall so that instead of seeing the PEX pipe coming out of the wall, you see a copper pipe. Read more: How to deal with a good pipeThen I made one more PEX pipe run from the shower valve position to the ceiling for the shower head. You can see that I’ve also limited the hot and cold runs with a tight-fit plug that pushes the SharkBite so we can turn the water back on.Shower valve This is the part where I didn’t take enough pictures so I’ll walk you through what I bought and how I installed my shower valve. recommend both products. Check them out here: Delta Shower Valves Delta Vero Series Shower Valves This is a great video on how to install a shower valve with PEX piping along with using the crimping tool I recommend you buy. Every situation is different, but understanding what it means to install a shower valve and use a crimping tool is the most important part. Once you understand that it is a very simple project.
Install Bathroom Ventilation Fan
See more about installing a bathroom exhaust fan.
Stay tuned as I post more updates on basement bathroom finishes, including VIP bathroom tiles!Question? Join my basement bathroom refinishing forum.
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