I’ve done the plumbing in starts and fits as I’ve built. Prior to this build I never realized that when building a house every step along the way is a multifaceted event. For instance, if a plumber was working on a new house they wouldn’t just come out one or two times, they might be out multiple times during the build.
I ran my lines first quite awhile ago through the walls and then moved on to other things that needed my attention. I came back to this week to take care of the stub outs (final bits needed to pressure test) and will still have work to do later with final installs of sinks, toilets, etc.
If you are new to plumbing….study, study lots. I studied for months leading up to this and still felt unprepared. In my experience plumbing was and is more complex than electrical for some reason. I felt right at home dealing with electrical but plumbing gave me issues throughout. Of course the best way to save money is to study before you ever buy your first set of plans. This course teaches you how to build on a budget.
I decided to go with Pex tubing and the metal rings clamped over the brass fittings. Pex is an easy to work with material but how you opt to connect the fittings (90 degree turns, T’s and such) can change your experience thoroughly. You might be tempted to choose the easier Sharkbite push fittings over the crimp rings because of their ease of use (I initially was) but they have a history of not lasting as long as their more difficult to use counterparts, the crimp rings.
The tools I used to complete this setup are below. I’d suggest buying off of eBay or craigslist as these are a very one time use sort of purchase unless you plan to build more houses or work on plumbing again.
- Crimp Tool (find a used one as this is the most expensive tool)
- Go/No Go gauge (tells you if you’ve compressed the ring too much or not enough)
- Ring Cutter Removal Tool (you’ll mess up so you’ll need this)
- Utility Knife (you could use a special tool to cut the hex but a utility knife works just fine)
- Caulking (for the spots where the pex exits the house)
- Drill/Drill bits/wood boring for drilling through studs and drilling the exit spots out of the house
As for the Pex Supplies they are as follows to get you to stub out:
- 1/2″ Pex Tubing (You could use red for hot and blue for cold but I just used blue for both)
- RV hose to Pex adapter
- Rings….loads of them
- T fittings
- 90 Degree fittings
- End cap fittings (for pressure testing)
- Steel support brackets to hold stubouts
- Pexrite Elbow fittings for stubouts
- Holdrite Lock-N-Load Stub Out Clamp for Pexrite Bracket
- Pex Halfclamp for holding verotically pex runs to studs
- Drop Ear Elbow (Pex to standard 1/2″ fitting) for outside faucet
- Exterior Faucet fitting
- Nail protection plates for studs to go over pex lines
Running a pex line is pretty simple, drill holes in the wood and feed the pex lines into it. The execution of this is a lot more difficult if you’ve never done it as the pex line really wants to stick in those holes and I was scared to drill them much larger…you know, the whole supporting the house thing. The fittings themselves are easy to set up, just use the crimp tool with a given amount of pressure and then test the ring with the gauge to see if its the right size (not over/under compressed). Rinse and repeat. Do lots of research using the great books and videos out there and you’ll get it.
The only part that I’m not super happy with is the running of the shower/bath faucet. I put in to many turns and ended up with lower pressure than I’m happy with. I’ll fix this down the road after we are moved in for a couple of years.