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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How much do plumbers charge per hour?

Depending on the service you need (unclogging a drain, fixing a pipe, installing new pipes, etc.), plumbers charge anywhere from $45-$165 per hour. Plumbers often operate on a fixed rate model, too. Some won’t charge hourly rates because the variables involved in their work makes it less practical to do so. 

Plumbers will scope out the work, calculate the cost of parts, and roll it together with other fees to give you an estimate for the job. They may even offer standard flat rates for things like installing a toilet or a sink. Reach out to plumbers near you to get an accurate cost estimate for your project or repair.

What happens when a water pipe bursts?

When a pipe bursts, the water can cause indoor flooding and damage your home. If the pipe is in an accessible location, you will likely notice puddles of water right away. However, if the pipe is underground or behind a wall, it may cause reduced water pressure, a sulfur smell or discolored water. All of this can cause significant (and expensive) damage, which is why you should always contact a plumber near you if you suspect your pipes are leaking.

Can a leaking pipe burst?

Yes. A leak in your pipe can build up pressure and wear through the material. Left unchecked, this pressure can cause the pipe to burst. This is why it’s so important to fix your pipes and contact a plumber as soon as you notice a leak — no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. 

Smaller leaks are easier and inexpensive to fix, saving you time and money in the long run. In addition, many insurance policies will not cover water damage for pipes that burst due to gradual leaks.

What do you do if you have a burst pipe?

First, switch off the water supply to reduce the water damage. You should also turn off the electricity for the part of your home that has sustained the leak, as it can be extremely dangerous if the water comes into contact with an electrical socket. Next, drain the remaining water from your faucets so it doesn’t freeze inside the pipes. 

Once you’ve done all of this, search for qualified plumbers in your area and ask them to provide you with a quote. 

What are the signs of a burst pipe?

If your water pressure has suddenly dropped or your sink and toilet have unexpectedly started clogging, you may have a burst pipe. Other tell-tale signs include watermarks on the wall of your bathroom or laundry room, drips or puddles in your home or basement, or water from your faucets that have suddenly turned brown. You may also notice a strange rotten-egg smell or the sound of gurgling water in your home.

If you notice any of these signs, contact a plumber near you to fix your pipes immediately.

Does insurance cover a broken pipe?

Sudden water damage may be included under most homeowners’ insurance policies, but it’s typically not covered if the damage could have been avoided with proper maintenance.

For example, if a pipe in your laundry room suddenly bursts and causes damage to the flooring and walls, that is usually covered by insurance. But if a pipe under your sink has been leaking for months and causes your wood floors to rot, your policy won’t cover that damage.

Always double-check with your insurance agent (or another expert)  to see what your policy covers.

How much does it cost to repair a broken pipe?

The national average cost to repair broken pipes ranges from $120 to $170. Prices can vary depending on the type of damage, whether the pipe is easily accessible, the materials needed and where the pipe is located. For example, an exposed pipe under the sink will likely cost much less than a pipeline in your yard that requires digging. 

Your overall cost will also depend on the hourly rate of the contractor. Most plumbers charge between $60 and $65 per hour for standard pipe repair, and up to $95 per hour for complex plumbing work. 

Contact the best pipe repairers in your area to find out how much it will cost to fix your pipe(s). 

To learn more about pricing factors, read “How much does pipe repair cost?

How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?

Nationally, the average cost of bathroom remodeling varies greatly. Bathroom remodels can vary widely, from standard makeovers to luxurious master bathroom revamps.

The factors that affect your bathroom remodeling cost are the finishes you choose (marble tiles can cost 20 times as much as standard subway tiles), the square footage of the project, regional labor rates in your area and the scope of work. Changing the layout or size of the bathroom will also raise costs. Moving electrical wiring and plumbing lines will also dramatically increase costs, as you’ll need to hire plumbers and electricians to handle the work. What’s happening behind your walls and under your floor will also affect bathroom remodeling cost. Rot, damage or mold can lead to additional work and charges. 

Here are some examples of average bathroom remodeling costs:

  • 6-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $3,500, including labor and materials.
  • Standard renovation: $6,500-$10,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased. Labor may include taking out the shower and shower pan, installing new shower pan and shower, and installing new door, new vanity, new mirror, new bathroom fan, and all new fixtures. Price variation depends on the quality of the finishes.
  • 10-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $7,200, including labor and materials.
  • Mid-range renovation: $12,000-$15,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased.
  • Upscale renovation: $35,000 and up. Price includes labor and materials. Items might include digital displays for fixtures, multiple shower heads and custom showers.

How long should a bathroom remodel take?

With proper planning and a good general contractor, your bathroom remodeling project doesn’t have to take forever. The construction phase of the project will always vary based on your scope of work, the square footage and the condition of your bathroom under the surface layer. Inevitably an 80-square-foot master bathroom with major changes will take longer than a 25-square-foot guest bath undergoing a minor renovation. For a smaller bathroom, a facelift — the industry term for sprucing up the surface layer (such as paint, vanity, tiles or light fixtures) but keeping the existing footprint of the space — may take five to eight working days, as long as there are no surprises like mold waiting when the old vanity comes out. A more complex bathroom remodel that revamps the shower area (customizing the plumbing, installing tile and changing the shower door), updates the flooring and cabinetry, and adds new paint and new lighting could take anywhere from one week to three weeks. A full bathroom remodel that guts the room, changing the footprint and moving the electrical wiring and plumbing lines, could take four to eight weeks or more. To keep your bathroom remodel on schedule, have your materials ordered and waiting, and don’t make any change orders once construction begins. Planning is key to keeping a bathroom remodel on schedule.   

For more on how long a bathroom remodel should take check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.

How do I remodel my bathroom?

Bathroom remodeling is made up of three general phases. The first phase is the planning and permitting phase, in which you determine exactly what you want, what materials and finishes will be used, and what the end product will look like. If you’re competent with design you can handle the planning yourself, or you may hire an interior designer to guide you. During this phase you’ll also hire a general contractor who can help execute your remodel vision, coordinating and overseeing all the subcontractors required to do the bathroom remodeling (plumbers, flooring pros, etc.). When your plan is finalized, your contractor should obtain permits for the work you want done. During this time you’ll work together to order all the materials so they’ll be ready and waiting when it’s time to start construction.

The second phase is construction. Bathroom remodeling typically starts with demolition, removing the old floors, shower and vanity to make way for the new. Delays in delivery of materials, or changing your mind and ordering different materials halfway into the project, will mean that construction has to pause until the new materials arrive. Each subcontractor is dependent on the next to do their work, and the general contractor should keep things moving along at the proper timeline, ensuring that the right materials are available and dealing promptly with any unexpected repairs, such as damage discovered behind the walls or under the floor. The general contractor will also coordinate inspections from the necessary officials if you’ve moved load-bearing walls or done electrical or plumbing work. After construction is complete, the final phase of bathroom remodeling is addressing your punch list. These are all the items that need to be corrected before final payment is handed over to the contractor.

For more on how to remodel a bathroom check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.

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