Homebuyers and sellers often hear about "plumbing upgrades", but what does this mean? Generally speaking, upgrading plumbing in the context of buying or selling a home refers to both fixtures and/or the plumbing system itself. Here are some basics to consider when referring to plumbing upgrades.
In bathrooms and kitchens, the faucet fixtures are an easy upgrade that adds style without a lot of spend. If a home is being prepped for sale, the best bet is to use fixtures that will appeal to the most potential buyers — choose a basic finish and design that isn't too specialized. The idea is not necessarily to draw attention to the faucets, but to demonstrate that the fixtures are modern and in good condition.
Toilets are another simple upgrade that will also have a positive effect on how the home is perceived. If space allows, an elongated bowl and a high-profile height are smart changes to make. A neutral color that works with the existing tile and walls is best.
A shower upgrade can be as basic as adding a handheld shower unit to the existing setup. Another effective upgrade is to install a "rain"-type showerhead, which are becoming more popular in new homes. Also consider a thermostatic valve for the shower, which prevents scalding while the shower is running.
Lately there has been a growing trend toward home repiping. During this process, all water lines in the home are replaced. Sometimes, the line from the water main to the house may need to be replaced as well.
Over time, old metal pipes can degenerate, increasing the potential for leaks, reduced water flow capacity/water pressure, and causing material to flake off inside the pipe. The taste and appearance of water can also be adversely affected. Some older homes have lead pipes, which are less subject to corrosion but pose a serious health hazard for children.
Typically, replacement piping is made of copper or PVC. The best material to use depends on a number of factors, including the hardness of the water and winter temperatures. Homeowners should always seek out the opinions of several contractors before making the important — and not inexpensive — decision to repipe the home. Your Pillar To Post home inspector can provide additional information on plumbing upgrades as well.