Installing the water pipes

Roughed in the pex water pipes today. Our general strategy for water piping is to keep everything simple, clean, and versatile. We chose pex because it’s easy to work with and while copper is certainly more romantic, I doubt it’s any more “sustainable” and pex has added freeze protection.

We actually built some freeze protection into the system by sloping all of the water pipes gently back to a central point, which feeds into two hose bibs beneath the trailer (hot and cold side) that can feed a garden hose, outdoor shower, or serve as a low point drain for the entire system if it’s going to be left somewhere cold.

When planning plumbing I like to leave convenient shut off and tie in points for potential future configurations. The three valves you see are the cold water in and the hot and cold out to the hose bibs. These and the adjacent underfloor area will be conveniently accessed via a hinged lid on the floor under the counter. I was sure to leave enough space between fittings that I can splice in if needed and enough room in the box that I can still use the crimper inside!

The sink hot and cold, the water heater hot and cold, and the pipe going up to the shower drop ear are all left long at this point and will be finished later. Additionally, I don’t permanently set the block that the shower valve is attached to until I have the actual shower trim in hand. Most shower trim has quite a bit of range, but it’s better if you can get things right in the sweet spot.

Something I forgot to do this time that I’ve done on previous structures is to buy a single 20 foot straight stick of pex in addition to the rolls that are more commonly available. Tightly rolled pex is nice for feeding long runs but a huge hassle on short runs. The straight stuff just makes for a much cleaner install.

For drilling in tight spaces I cut a three-quarter inch spade bit down so just the spade is sticking out of the end of the drill. It doesn’t work for doubled studs but it can usually save a trip to dig out the right angle drill. Cutting through the occasional nail trashes the shorty bit and the longer bit, but spade bits are cheap.

– Brian

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1 Comment

  1. Dion Bonnell
    May 22, 2019

    You two are truly artists when it comes to making the areas around us functional and beautiful….can’t wait for the finished product. See you soon.

    Reply

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