I am adding a bathroom to an empty room upstairs. There is no plumbing
upstairs, but there is a bathroom right below the new bathroom. 1920's
I repeatedly asked the contractor during the negotiation if it would be
a problem to run the pipes. He kept telling me he'd been doing this for
years, yada yada - never a problem.
We made him take the thing out of the contract that said it could cost
unlimited dollars to run the pipes, we capped it at $250.
Now the underling is telling me they are going to run the pipes down the
corner of a closet below the new bathroom, and case it in with a fake
I consider this a lame shortcut. He kept telling me it's not a problem
to run pipes in the walls, now he doesn't want to do it? Well,
obviously it's not if you're just going to run the pipes down a closet!!
Am I being unreasonable to protest this move??
You may be unreasonable for the $250 limit! Figure that is only around 5
hours of time to relocate the pipes and refinish any walls the get tore open
to do the move. I bet if you raised the max to a $1000 he would be more
Relocating plumbing and electrical is never a problem, untill the money runs
Thanks for the quick reply. Here is a little more information.
The contract has $3900 for the plumbing line item. That includes 5
drops. A tub, a two headed shower, two sinks and the can.
I would think for that kind of money they could spend the time to get
the pipes down inside a wall instead of a closet. But this is my first
big project, so I don't really know what to expect.
Apparently neither you or the contractor you chose bothered to work out
a way of doing the work or work out an estimate of the cost.
You are certainly in a legal position to veto the method of providing
the new bath.
You are not, in my opinion, in a position to tell the contractor how to
do the job.
I'm not sure I agree with all that. He told me, repeatedly, it wouldn't
be a problem to run pipes in the wall, now he doesn't want to do it. We
had an agreed upon line item for plumbing. By saying I didn't "bother"
you make me sound almost reckless, which I don't think is accurate.
Maybe I should have had that in writing. My first lesson, you can't
have too much in writing.
Regardless, I'm not really looking for legal advice, I'm more interested
in whether this is normal, running the pipes through a closet. And a
small closet at that.
Normal? Perhaps if there is no other option.
I would get togather with the contractor and let him know you find his way
of running the pipe unacceptable and see if you can come to some agreement.
You may have to throw more money at him.
Keep in mind it is pretty hard for people sitting at a computer to give
advice on a given situation. It may be close to impossible to hide the pipes
any better. It may be what the contractoer was intending all a long!
The company I work for did the heating with a remodel in a multi-million
dollar home. The architect would no give us enough room in a wall to run
venting for a water heater and boiler located in a room below. We had zero
options, the venting had to go up inside the wall. I walked off the job
after talking to him about it. He was pissed because "we" were holding up
the job. I told him he better call my boss an figure out what to do. The
wall went from 2x4 studs to 2x8 the next day.
Your points are all well made, and I will bring it up and see if they
can explain why they want to do it this way.
Do you think $3900 is a lot or a little for a 5 drop bathroom? The
entire room has been gutted to the studs and joists, so the upstairs
part should afford easy access.
Downstairs they have to deal with plaster walls and then a basement with
a somewhat confined crawlspace.
I ask with the understanding that I might not be providing enough
The total for this will be over $30k. The biggest line item is tile.
We're spending about $2k on fixtures. There isn't anything all that
far out of what I would consider 'normal'.
Some contractors wanted over $50k. I'd use a bucket before I spent
that on a bathroom. I feel a little weird as it is, spending what I am.
You've got a good point. There may be other options, but which ones are
I was called to a job, where they ran new pipes for steam in the corner of a
living room of a high dollar home. I ended up boxing in the pipes by
building a decorative built up column. Did the same on the opposite side of
the room for aesthetics. After the base/shoe/crown was all done, it looked
awesome, built them to go with their decor.
On 15 Dec 2004 15:52:01 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
BS. When a contractor works for me, he does the job to my liking or not at
If he starts telling me how he's going to do a specific part of the job and I
don't want it that way, I'll tell him. I'll tell him to do it the way I want.
You guys need to remember where your $$ is coming from.
I think the point being made is, why bother to hire an expert if you
don't trust what he has to say about how a job ought to best be done?
Remember, this shouldn't be the first time this contractor has done
this. The contractor should have many, many times the experience you
do with this kind of work. To put it another way, would you tell your
surgeon how to do his job or would you listen to what he advises, ask
some good questions, and come to understand what the expert is telling
Doing the job to "your liking" may not be the optimal way for that
particular problem in construction to be solved, despite what "your
liking" may be. This isn't a put-down, just an observation based on
years of dealing with particular people's likes and dislikes when it
comes to construction projects.
Not liking what the expert has to say does not change the real
possibility that it is the very best advice you may get. Chasing off
someone who has the guts to tell you what you may not like to
hear...well, let's just say that may not be the best solution to the
BTW, the person who suggested that there may not be room inside the
wall for the line from the new toilet has the right idea. There isn't
room inside a 2X4 stud wall for a four inch cast iron pipe. Now the
wall inside that cedar closet could be torn open and the inside size
of the wall could be adjusted to accommodate that big pipe
(essentially making it a 2X6 instead of a 2X4 stud wall) but does your
wife really want all that cedar torn out? Besides, having a chase in
that closet might be really handy some day if you want to run
something else up to that floor.....................(just make sure
the contractor leaves it such that a portion of it can be opened up
easily, which is a good idea anyway...he could even install a
clean-out there just in case you ever need to clean out the drain!:~)
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
Lots of people making good points, I appreciate all the feedback.
As far as trusting the expert: A lot of times you've never worked with
the contractor before, you have to do the trust dance, he has to earn
it, despite his references. Because he obviously wants to keep within
his quote as he turns around and pays subs. The subs hadn't seen the
job site until the contract was signed, so they could burn the
So - your point about the surgeon is good, but with tools like
alt.home.repair it makes sense to get a second opinion. And plenty of
people are second-guessing their doctors via the Internet too!
At this point we are looking at a triangular chase in a corner of the
room, which will match the room across the hall. For some reason the
room across the wall has this diagonal wall instead of a standard
corner, only in one corner. So now this room will match. It's kind of
a quirky look, but it's nice. That will preserve the cedar.
Good point about the chase. I already have them running some ethernet
for me. But I don't think an access panel will fly. Probably would
have in the closet.....
Is the *case* being constructed in "the closet" or is there an existing
closet that will then have a small corner "cased"? In any case running
pipes through a closet is not "abnormal". That is how my upstairs bathroom
is supplied in my (1970's) house. It is actually a convienance as I can get
at all my plumbing in my house because none of it was put "in wall" - yet
unless you go routing around the back of the one closet you'd never know the
It's a cedar closet, my wife is worried it will add a 'moisture' factor
to the closet. Cast iron drop, copper supply. I don't know if my
wife's concern is valid or not.
He wants to put the case in the corner just inside the door of the
closet. It will take up from the inside of the door to the wall.
I think I will ask him to show me why they can't go down inside the
So - to answer your question. The downstairs cedar closet already
exists, and the case will be built around the new pipes.
Ok. If it were me I'd ask the contracter. In my case the closet is an
unfinished 2'x2' (roughly) space that acts as a utility closet. I would be
concerned if it was a "finished" closet for the moisture aspect myself - as
my cold water pipes do sweat somewhat during our humid summers..
Moisture? The pipes are solid, they don't give off any moisture. The
chances of condensation are about zero if insulated.
Running inside a closet if a common way of piping in old work. Can it be
done another way? Possible, but since we cannot see the job from here we
can't give an accurate assessment. Even new homes often have a chase built
into a closet wall for wiring and plumbing.
Building a chase is normal way it's done.
Minimum pipe size for a water closet is 3" ID and PVC DWV is 3 1/2" OD.
You'll need a hole in the top and bottom plate 3 5/8", so a regular 2 x 4
wall is not wide enough. Keep in mind that there will be fittings with the
pipe that will be 4 - 5". So, Do you really want to cut the upper and lower
plates completely in two?
Let him install chases and bulkheads where needed.
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