Plumbing pipes form a crucial part of the infrastructure in most homes and commercial buildings. Leaks or ruptures can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Low water pressure is not only annoying but can be an indication that pipes are about to burst. In older homes, it may be worthwhile to have pipes replaced for peace of mind. Hiring a professional to install new pipes is a good idea because it requires considerable work and expertise. Costs can be high—generally in the thousands of dollars—because the plumber will need to open up walls and floors. Cost factors include the size of the home, the type of pipe installed, demolition of old pipe, and floor and wall repair. Most plumbers build quotes around the cost of materials and labor. Typical repiping jobs can take anywhere from one day to one week.
Size and volume
The larger the home, the more pipe will be needed. Also, the more stories a home has, the more difficult it is for a plumber to do his or her job. Thus, pipe installation costs are higher for larger homes and homes with multiple stories. Costs also rise with the number of sinks, toilets, dishwashers, showers and bathtubs in a home.
Type of pipe
Plumbers generally install one of three types of pipe these days: copper, cross-linked polyethylene plastic (PEX) or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC). PEX is the cheapest pipe material because it’s flexible, which means plumbers can snake it throughout the house with fewer wall and floor cuts. PEX also takes less time to install. However, all three types of pipe have advantages and disadvantages, however. A professional plumber can offer advice on which type is the best option for a particular home.
Old pipe removal
Old pipes must be removed before installing new pipes. Some plumbers charge a separate (or extra) fee for this time-consuming job, and others will include this task in their overall bid for new pipe installation.
After the demolition of old pipes and installation of new pipes, the walls and floors will need to be repaired. Some plumbers partner with drywall experts and other contractors for this task and include the cost in their overall bid. Others can refer customers to drywall professionals or may simply let customers arrange this repair themselves.
Public water in certain areas can be "hard," which means that it contains a lot of minerals. These minerals can corrode and clog pipes over time. In these areas, plumbers may recommend a water softening device to help remove these minerals and extend the life of the new pipes. Installation of this device will add to the overall cost.
Permits and inspections
Some municipalities require a permit for plumber to execute the new pipe installation, and costs for permits vary. Many plumbers roll this cost into the overall quote. In addition, the job may require an inspection from a city official, which will add time and administrative coordination to the project.
If you don’t want to go the whole-house route, you can have the plumber replace only the pipes that are exposed, such as those in basements or crawl spaces. The plumber might be able to access more of the pipe system from those areas as well. Have new pipes installed in your home at the same time you are undertaking a remodeling job because the walls will likely be opened up already.