Need opinions on cost of plumbing

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by logbuilder, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. logbuilder

    logbuilder Well-Known Member

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    I know this will be a question that will be overly broad, but based on the info below, I'd sure appreciate your opinion.

    I just got a verbal quote (written to be provided soon) for plumbing a new construction log house. I'm not that versed at plumbing so I don't know if it is in the ballpark or high. Also, due to the location, there really isn't another plumber that would be easy to get a second quote.

    The house is 1900 sq feet. Two full bathrooms, one upstairs (with shower) and one down (with tub). Kitchen downstairs. Washer downstairs. Tankless hot water heater. Nice crawl space (34" high) underneath for running pipes. All interior pipes can do thru framed walls. I already have the tub and the upstairs shower will be built by me so the plumber only has to do the shower head, a couple of body sprays, the controls, and the drain. Kitchen will only have a sink, no dishwasher.

    What would you swag as the cost to do this job, parts and labor? Hopefully there are some of you that have dealt with plumbing a whole house and can give me your educated opinion.

    Also, the guy said he would be using PVC pipes. I would have thought copper. Is PVC OK?

    Thanks,

    Robert
     
  2. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Probably using CPVC.....not regular PVC......CPVC is rated for hot water as well.....not that I would use it either. Stuff gets brittle after 5-10 years and easy to break....avoid it.

    PVC is used on the drainage side.....but it's a LOT thicker and will hold up better than CPVC on the supply.

    I use copper personally...easy to work with..........but there is a new tubing out a lot of folks here are using...PEX. Flexible, so you have almost no fittings....they use a central manifold at some point and run a separate line for hot and cold to each fixture.....looks pretty foolproof, but you have to have a fairly expensive crimp tool to fasten it to the manifold outlets and the adapters on the fixture end.

    Unless building code precludes you doing it yourself, I'd tell you go that route.....it really isn't all THAT hard.

    Plumbers here get 100bucks per fixture for labor, and that means each toliet, sink, tub, water heater, washer connection, hose connection, etc......any terminal use is a fixture. So you're probably looking at 1000-1500 bucks labor + materials. I'd wouldn't be suprised at a 3000 buck quote.
     

  3. Old Vet

    Old Vet In Remembrance

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    I do all my own pluming. I would not be suprised if TNAndy is right about the cost. I would use coper if at all posible but each to his own. Pluming is not hard as long as you keep in mind that drains have to run downhill all the time. The thing about coper is that their are two kinds to run Flexable and riged. The rigded needs to be sweated in each joint. If you are confoable with sweating joints the rigid is the best you can use. If not the flexable is the best to use.
     
  4. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Most of the new houses around here (SW Montana) are being done with PEX tubing and crimped connections.

    From what I have seen and heard, this is a very good system, and lowers the labor and cost. Most of these systems are done with a central manifold, and separate PEX lines to each fixture. This way, turning on one fixture does not effect others, and you don't wait as long for hot water to come. These systems are also described as being "freeze resistant".

    Here is an article:
    http://www.toolbase.org/pdf/techinv/homerunplumbingsystems_techspec.pdf

    Gary
     
  5. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    No idea on plumbing cost other than PVC Is much Cheaper.
    Having re-plumbed a few things in my own houses over the years i can say id rather have PVC over copper. Its much easier to fix or change if need be, and there's less wait for the hot water to get to the faucet. If cooper ever freezes it swells, which means you have to cut away that section. Problem being you don't no how far it swelled until you try slipping on a fitting. And the little swollen burst areas are hard to find with out turning to water back on and looking for leaks, reweting the entire area. PVC will burst completely anywhere it freezes solid.(Just the couplings if not solid). But its cheap and easy to fix. Ever tried to swear copper when there's water trapped in the pipe? Or like my grandmothers house where the water meter doesn't cut completely off. Not fun!

    Now the new Pex is even more freeze resistant and seems like the way to go from what i see and here. I was looking at putting it in my camper, the salesman said that if it froze it would sometimes break the couplings and manifolds, But not the pipe it self.
    Pex requires a special set of pliers (as said) that stretch the pipe open so you can then slip the fitting into it. It then shrinks back to its original size, making a water tight fit. And you just bend it to the angle you need and slip/snap a plastic piece around it to make it hold its bend. Very neat stuff!
     
  6. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    There are some push in fittings to use with pex, that require no crimping. Similar fittings are also available for use with copper and cpvc. No tool required, and no sweating required.

    Some info at this site, but there are others as well. Lowes carries the ones for pex/cpvc.

    http://www.elkhartproducts.com/index.cfm
     
  7. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    We have almost the identical set-up as you are planning but a bigger crawlspace. On bad advice we hired a local guy that was working on his own. He was honest enough and a reasonably hard worker but he wasn't experienced enough and some of his joints were pretty crappy looking. But as my husband says, if it doesn't leak, who cares what it looks like? Until we had to build a bunch of soffits to hide his plumbing... lol

    Anyway, we had him do PEX for supply (we skipped the manifold) and PVC for waste & venting. We paid cost for all materials and then labor at like $65/hour I think. He estimated it would be close to $2,000 but boy was he off (another sign of his inexperience). The whole thing for ROUGH-INS and no fixtures was over $6,000 and took WAY too long since he worked half days by himself and no weekends. *sigh*

    At least he guaranteed his work to pass inspection. Not like it mattered though, we knew how to fix things on our own so if it hadn't passed we would have just done it ourselves instead of calling him back. We only hired him to save time & sanity and because we thought he'd know the codes better. He didn't - but he had the book there to look things up.
     
  8. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    You don't have to solder if you don't have copper! ;) Sometimes this is a lifesaver in tight spaces.

    I used a PEX *crimping* tool with crimp rings rather than a stretch tool that can be harder to do and may affect the integrity of the PEX. The PEX we used should not be bent (like to a tight 90-degree angle where the pipe will pinch itself) as that will weaken it, but it is a lot more flexible and can "loop" (soft turns, even to 90 degrees or under).

    We used PEX for our in-floor heating too.

    One last warning on PEX - most says it should not sit out in sunlight or where it will be exposed to UV light.
     
  9. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    Cost vary so much from state to state that I doubt you will get a lot of help with this question. One thing really sticks out though. With the widespread acceptance of PEX, there really is no reason for a professional plumber to be quoting CPVC. There is nothing to be gained for the plumber or the customer. Inferior product that takes longer to install. PEX is relatively inexpensive and nearly indestructable. CPVC is also inexpensive, but takes much more labor to install. It doesn't just crack when it freezes, it shatters. IMHO, I wouldn't use it.
     
  10. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Id do it myself ifyou can that way you know ALL about it. its reallynot hard.
    Id be sure to put a shutoff valve out side the house in a non freezing location . As well as running all drains down hill Id run all supply up hill . Then with a opening T and valve at the shut off valve you can drain the entire sysytem if you need to. In my case I had to have 2 drain valves cause I couldnt figger out how to run one hotwater line up hill all the way. But it takes me less than 10 minutes to drainall water from my lines and vacume out the water from my fixtures so I can let the whole hose go cold.
     
  11. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    CPVC is quite acceptable for your supply lines. If you want, you can plumb this yourself. My guess is $4,000 to $6,000 for your existing quote not including fixtures. Of course, I have no idea what labor costs are in Washington. I do hope you reply with your bid.
     
  12. mamalisa

    mamalisa Well-Known Member

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    Don't use the plastic push fittings from lowe's. They aren't worth the powder to blow them to Hades.

    Pex is just wonderful, though.

    I had a kitchen sink moved and a new main shutoff installed---to the tune of 1100. Nice job, wonderful people, well worth it. Now I can do the rest myself!
     
  13. Aintlifegrand

    Aintlifegrand Well-Known Member

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    Are there any real good books out there that you would recommend to do your own plumbing in new construction? We have all of our copper water supply lines ran and are at the point of the DWV system and it seems more complicated. We have a 34"crawlspace as well. There are three full baths, one up two down, laundry with sink and washer, and kitchen with 2 sinks and DW. The baths are all locateed on the same end of the house but the kitchen and laundry are on the other end. We are kind of stuck at the moment and the books we have aren't very good explaining the DWV system..
     
  14. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    Where I live the water will cause pin holes to come in the COPPER. I tore the copper all out and replaced with CPVC. I didn't want to use something that required purchasing special crimp tools. Jay
     
  15. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    Haven't had mine that long, but they are working great, and certainly made my job easier, plus I needed to disassemble one joint a couple of times, and it is too easy. With Pex, I am only going to have a handful (4 or 5) actual joints, not including the ends. I was able to route my pex without adding elbows, and so I only have a couple of Ts and a couple of Pex-Threaded fitting.
     
  16. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    So, what, is that about $10,000 for you? That includs a connection fee to a Municipal system (probably not your situation), permits, insurance, etc., all in.

    I would do it myself, since I know about all that. DIY maybe, half of that, or even much less than half, if you can find used fixtures you like. That's what we did, found fixtures at garage sales. For instance, two lavs, WC, tub/shower with enclousre glass, for $125, etc. etc.

    [​IMG]
    All the cabinets in this picture, except the glass one, plus cabinets to the right you can't see, at a garage sale for $200, including sink, facuet, etc.

    We got our kitchen counters, all the cabinets, and double stainless steel sink, with trap, and taps for $200.

    Maybe you can work with a friendly plumber and learn. Might cost you extra -- HA.

    Good luck, love your beautiful cabin, if the one you showed pictures of recently is the one you are talking about.

    Alex
     
  17. logbuilder

    logbuilder Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the opinions. I didn't post his verbal quote since I wanted to get your ideas of what it should cost first. I also have to say that I haven't seen the written detail so I'm not real clear yet on materials vs labor costs nor am I sure exactly what he has included. The written details will clear up things quite a bit.

    His verbal was $16k. It kind of blew me away. Given, since it is a log house there are some special considerations. The logs will shrink and settle so you need slip joints in several places. There is some tricky routing getting to the second floor master bath. When he came out to look it over, we discussed some very high end things. The tankless water heater is top of the line. For this application, it makes a lot of sense. There will be times when I will leave the house for extended periods. I told him I wanted to be able to turn a couple of drain valves and have the house be freeze proof. He understood and immediately told me how he would do this. I have a well but nothing is hooked to it yet so a pressure tank is required. I get a bit of rust come out when it has set for a few days without being used. Probably the casing is rusted at the bottom. He said we could put in a settling sand filter and that would be fixed. This guy is a master plumber and I have no doubt that he is very capable of doing a great job. He came highly recommended. Now if he has included all we discussed, it might be his quote is not out of line.

    As far as me doing it myself, I know I can even though I haven't done plumbing on this scale before. I am just about thru with the electrical. Never done electrical on this scale before but it has turned out just fine. I have books on plumbing since I planned on doing it myself. But, I know it will take me several months to complete. I only get a few days a week to work on it and then I am always alone so it take me about 3 times as long. I'd like to have the project finished next summer and that is what motivated me to look into getting a pro to do it. His quote doesn't blow my budget but I also don't want to overpay for the job.

    When I get the written quote (probably next week), the details will help me understand more about what he plans to do. I'll reserve judgement till then. But golly, that sure seems like a lot of money on the surface.

    Again, thanks for all the input.

    Robert
     
  18. Chixarecute

    Chixarecute Well-Known Member Supporter

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    the other thing to know about pex is that it is specific to its intended use. Six years ago we built, installed own infloor heat and supply lines for water (drain is cpvc). Used Wirsbo products, but there is h-pex for floor heat and there is Aqua pex for water lines. They are of different chemical make up. We used the Wirsbo stretch tool & fittings, done right there is no danger to the tubing. In fact, pex resistance builds so quickly with stretching, it is very difficult to "overstretch."
     
  19. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In our area, they charge for each fixture/opening. A tub or outside spigot or commode is all priced the same. Just checked with my sister and BIL (who are in the building business), and the current market rate per opening is $375.

    As for pipe choice, I've actually had much better luck with CPVC than copper, mainly because the ground water in our area tends to eat through the copper pipe!
     
  20. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Pex pipe is one of the all-around best building materials starting to be used commercially. It is NOT allowed in some jurisdictions in CA, such as San Diego, LA, and San Francisco. However it is allowed in Irvine, and many others, in commercial high-rise residential construction.

    It is allowed in BC, Canada.

    The non-allowance is mainly to do with Unions. There is so much less labor, and the labor that is needed is unskilled-labor, it cuts out jobs.

    A clever and typical use is to use a main header and then run a 1/2", or whatever size is required, based on flow and pressure available and required at the outlet, to the fixture water use. You wind up with a header and a bunch of 1/2" pipes running to each fixture.

    So, there are no fittings, no joints (it comes in 300' rolls -- and other sizes), can be buried in concrete, or strung thru joists, or feed up drilled holes in logs.

    A great product. Will one day be approved in many more jurisdictions. For home use it is ideal.

    Alex