Sunday, December 25, 2016

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Put on the Rolling Stones.  Turn it up.

"You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need..."

What I needed was hot and cold running water in my house that did not involve a garden hose snaking up the basement steps.  What I needed was awesome water pressure, enough water pressure to do laundry in a reasonable amount of time and run the dishwasher. What I needed was PEX lines that never rust. 

What I wanted was all that, plus plumbing lines that are hidden.

Everything did not turn out exactly as I wanted.

It started out well, with these lines that run to the shower in one bathroom. 
Nicely hidden in a box.

Those lines ran over to the toilet and then to the vanity.  Visible, but not bad.

In the other bathroom, it started out like this. Immediately after this photo was taken, Louis Cat ran over to that little hole in the wall by the tub and squeezed himself down into the crawlspace underneath.  I had to fish him out by his hind legs.

They plumbed the tub and then brought the lines over 
to the toilet and the vanity, just like in the other bathroom.  
From there it got worse.
Then those lines ran up the wall...

...and across the wall near the bathroom ceiling, and then through the bathroom wall...

...where they made a turn and went across the kitchen wall and then
down behind the fridge to meet the other lines
coming up from the basement.

I think it looks ugly. I knew ahead of time that they were going to have to do it that way, and I knew why.  PEX can be fished through existing walls, but it's a whole lot easier to do that vertically than horizontally.  Horizontal lines mean cutting a channel in the wall and drilling holes through the studs, which is a big pain in the hiney no matter what kind of walls you have, but it's really difficult with plaster walls. The plumbers originally thought they might be able to run the plumbing up from the basement, through the laundry room floor, and then through the shared wall between the laundry room and the bathroom, but that plan was thrown out when we realized that part of the laundry room floor is concrete. They couldn't run the plumbing through the crawlspace (where the galvanized was) because it's an unheated space--not to mention that the crawlspace is only about 14 inches high.  (All the plumbing in the two bathrooms is in the "box" that was built onto the original house sometime after 1910, so the plumber's theory is that the galvanized lines were laid out on the ground before the addition was built.)  So, yeah, it's the only way they could have done it without the plumbing bill growing exponentially, and they did do it rather neatly.'s ugly. I can paint the lines the same color as the walls and the trim and after I do that they won't show up so much, and eventually I'll get used to those lines being there and I won't even really see them. 

Enough of that whining, though.  My water pressure is, by my best estimate, at least 250% better than it was before.  That means I can run the dishwasher and the dishes actually get clean.  I can do laundry and the tub doesn't take four hours to fill. Showers are so much nicer with good water pressure.  I'll be able to water my flowers with a garden hose this spring and summer. Best of all, PEX lines don't rust so I'll never have to deal with low water pressure like I had again. 


  1. Hot water! Cold water! Water pressure! :-)

    I think you're right, after they're painted and some time goes by, you won't notice them. It will be just an old house idiosyncrasy, as my Dad said once about sloping floors, part of its charm.

  2. Water pressure is a nice Christmas present. I bet you'll figure out ways to cover or camouflage the pipes, once you think about it for awhile.

  3. What you could do to hide the pipes is build a box like thing around them and then paint the box. Just a suggestion.

    1. I'm thinking of doing that in the bathroom, where the pipes are in the corner, and then up by the ceiling. I think that would work in there.