Welcome to the basement plumbing stage. Here you will find information about how to plumb your basement like a pro, but in an easy to digest fashion. I’m always assuming that your brand new to this stuff!
It’s been my experience that roughly 90% of all basement designs have some sort of plumbing as part of the project. Your basement plan may have plumbing mixed-in as well. It’s just part of the job if your basement is going to be sporting a new bathroom, bar, laundry area or maybe even a kitchen area. So the question is…Who’s doing your plumbing? Are you planning to do it? Or, are you planning to subcontract this portion of the basement project out?
I tell my students…You can do it, and you can save a boat-load of sweet cash in the process! And because of the advances in modern plumbing materials it has become an extremely doable project for the average Joe.
Gone are the days of the torch fire, scolding hot solder and copper pipes needed to get your water from point A to point B. Gone are the days of heavy cast iron drain pipes and fittings that nobody could cut without expensive plumbing tools. Today’s plumbing has become truly diy homeowner friendly.
You now have it within your means to install all of your own basement plumbing 100% complete. And If you’ll allow me, I want to show exactly how to do it step by step. With this new skill-set you will never have the need to call on a plumber again!
Basement Plumbing Materials and Tools
Below you have the different types of plumbing materials and plumbing tools that you will need to plumb just about any situation your basement design calls for.
Whether it’s a bathroom, wet bar, laundry area, or even a new kitchen area, these are the materials and tools you’ll need to get the rough-in stage of your basement plumbing project to the finish-line.
Basement Plumbing PEX Water Supply System Materials
PEX Water Supply Tubing
PEX is fast becoming the water supply system that is replacing the copper water supply system of old. PEX is an incredibly strong and dependable water line system that beats copper pipes in every department.
PEX has a higher pressure blow-out rating and can withstand frozen water trapped inside of it as it can stretch to almost 4 time is original diameter without splitting and causing a leak!
PEX is ridiculously easy to install and only requires 2 simple inexpensive tools used to make all of your connections. Because of the simple nature in which PEX is installed it’s 10 X’s faster to install than the old copper water supply system.
The PEX fittings are designed to make getting your PEX water supply tubing from point A to point B a breeze. The fittings I recommend are made by Sharkbite. There are 2 main types of Sharbite fitting you will use:
- Crimp Ring secured PEX fittingsThese fittings require you to use what’s called a crimp ring to secure them to the PEX water line. You can literally make fitting connections in less than 15 seconds each!
Simply slide a PEX crimp ring onto the outside of the PEX water line, then insert whatever crimp ring fitting your using into the end of the PEX water line, and use the PEX crimp tool to secure the crimp ring and PEX water line to the PEX fitting…DONE!
- “Push-on” secured PEX FittingsThe “push-on” PEX fittings are even easier to install than the “crimp-style” fittings. These are also made by Sharkbite and are available at Home Depot and other big box home improvement centers.
All you do with the “push-on” style PEX fitting is while holding the PEX tubing in one hand and the PEX push-on fitting in the other, insert the PEX water line into the fitting and simply push the PEX tubing into the fitting until it stops…DONE and watertight!
Both the “crimp-on” style and the “push-on” style fittings come in any configuration that the old copper fitting come in (90, 45, 22.5 angles, Tee styles, etc.) so there’s a PEX fitting available for ANY situation you come across on your basement plumbing project.
Basement Plumbing PEX Water Supply Tools
Your PEX water supply installation tools consist of only two tools…that’s it. With these two tools you can make plumbing connections for virtually any basement plumbing project.
- PEX Crimp ToolThe PEX crimp tool is very easy to operate and takes a minute to learn to use! The version of this tool I use has two preset crimp ring sizes.
This tool works for both 1/2″ and 3/4″ PEX size water lines. You can get different versions of this tool, but they all do the exact same thing…they “crimp” the PEX ring over-top the PEX tubing securing it to the PEX fitting.
Simply place the “jaws of the Crimp tool over the crimp ring and squeeze the crimp ring jaws tightly over the crimp ring until the ring is firmly attached…DONE. You now have a water tight, blow-out proof PEX fitting connection!
- PEX Tube Cutter ToolThis tool is just a razor blade between cutting jaws. When the PEX cutting tool is placed over the PEX water tubing and squeezed it will cut your PEX water tubing to whatever length you need. Not rocket science here. So much easier than cutting copper pipe to length.
These 2 videos show some examples of why the PEX water supply system is so easy to use.
Drain Line Materials and Tools
Schedule 40 PVC Pipe
The drain line system used in today’s homes are almost all PVC plastic vinyl resin pipes. PVC pipe can be purchased most anywhere plumbing supply’s are sold. We get ours at the Home Depot. For basement plumbing drain projects you will only be using 2 to 3 different sizes of PVC pipe. Most sink and tub drain lines are either 1 1/2″ or 2″. The main sewage “lateral’s” which are the big pipes you see in your basement are going to be 3″ and occasionally 4″ in diameter. All residential PVC drain line pipe is of the schedule 40 variety…which is clearly marked on the outside of each pipe. Make sure your using Schedule 40 pipe only.
They make a “thin-wall” plastic pipe that looks like the right pipe, but it’s light-weight and not intended for use as a waste drain line. Make sure your grabbing the right pipe off the racks!
Schedule 40 PVC Fittings
All of the connecting fittings to get your drain lines from point A to Point B will also be Schedule 40 PVC fittings. There is a schedule 40 fitting made for any drain line situation. Getting the waste water from your basement bathroom toilet, tub, shower, bar sink, washing machine etc. will all require several of these schedule 40 PVC fittings to get the job done.
Chances are your home already has a PVC schedule 40 drain system and you will be tapping into this existing drain system in the basement.
PVC Glue and Purple Primer
The PVC Cement and Purple primer are used to make the permanent connections between the pvc pipe and the fittings. You MUST use both the Cement and the Primer for the connection to be water tight. A PVC drain line system is what today’s building code officers are looking for when they inspect your plumbing. They will be looking to make sure you used both the Cement and the Primer!
Step-by-step training for installing your PVC Drain lines are included in the basement plumbing video training inside the members area.
PVC Plumbing Tools
A PVC drain line is an easy plumbing project to put together. The only tools needed to install your drain lines are the tools you will need to cut your PVC pipe to length. My company uses two different saws to cut our PVC pipe to length We use either a power miter saw that has a carbide-tip blade installed or a sawzall (reciprocating saw) with a bi-metal or PVC cutting blade installed. Both saws work great and cut quickly through the PVC pipe.
OK…water doesn’t run up hill so what do we do in the basement when our main drain line to the yard goes through the basement wall 4 feet off the floor? You can’t flush a toilet or take a shower in a basement with this setup. So how do you get the water to run uphill and out of your basement?
Well the answer is…you install a sewage ejector pit with a in your basement floor. Then connect all of your basement drain lines to this ejector system under the concrete floor. Now…let me tell ya, installing the Sewage Ejector basement plumbing system is a labor of love. And I mean LABOR! It’s true that this is a physically tough project, but it’s one YOU can handle if you got what it takes in your tank! Installing your own sewage ejector pit and under-floor drain lines yourself will save you approximately $750.00 to $1,200.00 in plumbing contractor labor. That’s some serious cash your saving!
You may be one of the lucky ones that already has the sewage ejector pit and under floor drain line system already installed by your builder. In this case all you need to do is make the connections to the pipes sticking up out of your concrete floor. More on this in another post.
Here’s a video that will introduce you to the in-floor sewage ejector system and how it works together with a basement bathroom.
Any plumbing zone you have on the 1st and 2nd floor of your house can be build down in the basement. The only real difference is going to be the way you have to plumb your drain lines. The water supply lines in the basement will be installed exactly the same as the rest of your house.
Good luck with your basement plumbing projects! If you have any questions or concerns about your basement plumbing project leave me your feedback in the comment section below on this page.