Plumbing

September 15. The bathrooms will have tile floors. The first step is to put down cement backer board. For a nailed and glued 3/4" subfloor, the manufacturer of Wonderboard recommends 1/4" backer board. Here are cut and fitted pieces for the 6x6' bathroom on the first floor:

A thin strip of backer board will be cut for the edge on the left. The board with the green strip shows an array of dots where Rock-On screws will attach the board to the plywood floor, one screw about every 6 inches.

A bed of thin-set mortar is troweled on the floor with a 1/4x1/4x1/4 square-notched trowel and the backer board is set in the mortar. I put the thin strip of backer board on the right side where it will get no traffic:

A side view of the two first floor bathrooms. The backer board has been screwed down and the seams filled with mortar:

September 16. The second floor bathrooms are covered. Note that the boards are staggered for a stronger floor:

September 17. I submitted a plumbing permit application with a drawing of the fixtures, drains and vents. Failed. Said the inspector, I didn't vent everything and I was missing some traps. Here is my crude drawing:

Hey, it was my first try! Back to the drawing board.

September 24. After much internet research and reading, I came up with this one line diagram:

I have found the book Plumbing a House by Peter Hemp to be an excellent reference.

The plumbing inspector approved my drawing, even said there was some overkill. Time to go shopping for pipe.

September 29. I bored some holes for toilet flanges.

October 2. Tub and shower arrive. Here is the shower in its first floor bathroom:

October 3. I tried boring a hole for a drain/vent in sole plate of the exterior wall in the powder room but hit the double joist on the box below the floor. I will think about this while I tend to sunroom windows and such.

October 7. Holes cut for upstairs toilets. I have decided to move the bathroom wall to make more sense of this plumbing. The smaller hole between the toilets shows where the wall will be. This allows me to mount the toilet flange so that I will only have to go through one double floor joist below.

October 8. Here is the wet wall where the main stack will go.

It turns out that the stack coincides with a stud so I will have to move it over. The double pencil lines show where the stack will go. This is not a load bearing wall so I can move the stud over.

I cut it out with the reciprocating saw:

This picture shows the big notch I cut in the top of the wall and it shows the first step in boring a 3 5/8" hole through the double joist. This is the most difficult hole I will have to bore, I hope.

I used a stubby wood boring bit to start each hole, to make sure each hole was level:

Then I used a longer bit to go all the way through:

October 13. I finally finished boring the hole using a hole cutting saw. I had tried that saw earlier, but there was too much wood to remove from a step ladder holding a 12 pound drill. Here are pipes dry fitted for a test:

I dry fitted basement drains and vents:

The shower vent goes up and through the wall to meet a 2" vent that will go up the exterior wall to the roof. The sinks will drain into this vent:

October 20. I fitted the tub drain, connected it to the toilet drain. I reconfigured the toilet drain from bath II so that it wouldn't stick out too far. It will have to go in a kitchen cabinet.

I also made some progress in the basement:

October 27. The washer will need a standpipe to drain into. It needs a vent, like every trap. I will secure the standpipe to the wall later:

I connected the standpipe vent to the kitchen sink vent on the first floor. It is the right most pipe in this worklight lit picture:

I have changed the plumbing plan due to a change in kitchen design. The kitchen area is too small for an island so I will put the sink against the wet wall. This yields a simpler kitchen sink vent. No loop vent needed.

October 28. I set the shower. First I mixed up some Structolite, a light weight plaster to support the base of the shower, and put mounds of it where it would support the base. Here is the bottom showing where the plaster squeezed out from under the base:

I rechecked for level and plumb, then screwed the flanges to the studs. I had to drill holes in the flanges, about every 8 inches.

With nearly all the drains and vents cut and fitted, I started working on the water supply system. I will use a home-run PEX system where blue cold and red hot PEX tubing will run from a manifold to each fixture. I built a simple mount for a 24-port manifold to which PEX tubing will attach. The 2x6 at the top is drilled to guide the PEX tubing up into the basement ceiling where each tube will find its way to its fixture:

I nailed the mount (badly but securely) to the basement wall and attached the manifold:

Then I drilled many 3/4" holes in the plates of each bathroom and the kitchen. This was quick and easy after drilling big and precise holes for the drains and vents. I drilled two holes for each sink, bath and shower, and one hole for each toilet, using a long, wood boring bit.

October 29. We set the tub in Structolite, then I nailed up the end wall that I built earlier that day. I also toe nailed in the rest of the studs on the back wall. It had been open to allow the tub into the bathroom. I checked for level, plumb, and screwed the tub in:

From the front:

I started running PEX. Compression fittings at the manifold. Nail the tubing to the joists every 32" with pipe clamps designed for 1/2" PEX:

Label each port as I go before I forget where it goes:

October 30. I glued practically all the basement drains and vents. This took all day. I had the day off thanks to Super Sandy. It was windy and rainy outside but it was dry inside, if a little cool. Good working weather.

October 31 - November 1. More gluing, on the first floor. I was particularly concerned about the big pipes from the upstairs toilets. Learning as I went, I glued the two top pieces of the big wye, then glued the bottom section so that I had two straight and parallel pipes to fit together:

Glued:

I glued the kitchen drain and vent also:

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November 3 - 5. All vents and drains are glued except the master tub which has not come in yet. Here is bath 2 tub drain and vent. On the far left is the kitchen (and standpipe) vent going up to the second floor and attic. Notice that the drain is glued together. This is the way to do it. It will never leak:

Before gluing a crooked vent like this one, the wash tub vent, I mark it when it is dry-fitted, then match up the marks while gluing:

Here are all the attic vents glued except the master tub:

One more drain, for the sink in bath 2 upstairs. I ran this one through the sunroom attic so I wouldn't have to drill through a lot of joists under the floor:

The manifold is almost full, with pipes going to every location except hose bibs:

Each sink and toilet will have a metal plate to which the PEX will be secured and routed by means of a purple plastic mount. Here is the kitchen sink plate. The PEX pipes for the bath 2 tub go up the wet wall:

I have started doing rough electric since I can't finish rough plumbing without the master tub!

December 12. The master tub finally came. Here it is in the walk-in closet:

It was a bit of an aventure getting it upstairs. It wasn't as heavy as I thought it would be. The miracles of modern science. I and my two sons lifted it up to the upstairs hallway (no stairs yet) but it wouldn't go through the doorway. *Sigh* I went up with "science" - that which others call a crowbar - and pried out one of the jack studs in the doorway. We got the tub through and set it in the walk-in closet. I planned it this way. The closet is missing a wall and the bathroom wall is missing a few studs, to let us get the tub in.

December 16. I mounted more PEX tubing in metal brackets, glued caps on all the drains, getting ready for a water test.

I sheathed the sewer pipe coming out of the back of the house, protecting it from the rough concrete hole as per the plumbing inspector:

February 2. The roofing company stopped by to install roof jacks for the vents. I cut holes in the roof and glued on the last pieces of pipe while the roofers climbed up and installed the roof jacks. Here is a picture of the house with one vent showing:

March 11. They finally drilled the well. Here is the top of the pipe. The well is reported to be 80 to 100 feet deep:

March 16. I set the toilet in bath 2 in anticipation of soon-to-be-running water.

The well was inspected by the county board of health on March 18. Here it is tagged "satisfactory."

March 20 - 23. I plumbed the kitchen and bathroom sinks, faucets and drains. The kitchen sink drain:

I put the hot water heater in a drip pan up on some bricks. I plumbed it to the PEX manifold including a shut off valve to the cold side::

The pressure tank manifold terminates after the ball valve:

I soldered a 1" PEX fitting to it:

April 26, 2013. I installed a neutralizer to adjust pH up from 5.5 (acid) to about 7 (neutral):

July 2. Master toilet:

July 8. Tiling the powder room. Here are some tools, a mortar mixing paddle for the big drill, a small but capable tile saw, a bottle of water for the saw reservoir:

I used an angle cutter with a masonary cutting wheel to cut out a hole for the toilet flange:

Close enough!

Here are some tiles in mortar:

Another toilet:

It's hard to take pictures in small rooms. Let's say all the bathrooms are done!