Monday, September 4th, 2017

Part II: Modern Life vs. Vintage Bathrooms

This is the second of a 3-part series entitled “This Old House has Charm but This Old Plumbing Stinks” that explores the struggles of old house plumbing.

When bathrooms came in from the cold, they were basic: small and with few design amenities – a sink, a toilet, a tub, and a metal medicine cabinet. Most homes had one bathroom, maybe an additional toilet in the basement. Today, bathrooms are a luxury point in our homes – whirlpool bathtubs, bidets, designer fixtures, and rain forest shower heads are common. Americans love their bathroom time.

Old bathroom plumbing can present a number of challenges – cast iron main drain pipes, leaky faucets, crusty toilets, and galvanized steel water supply lines spring to mind. A thoughtful bathroom makeover can increase the value of your home by several thousand dollars. And, a nice bathroom experience is a good way to start each day.

If you have an old bathroom situation, small repairs and fixture upgrades can make a world of difference. Below are a few thoughts on “how old is too old?”

Piping (water supply lines)

• Copper: 60-80 years (copper vent stacks, however, usually last about 40 years)

• Galvanized steel, CPVC and PVC: 40-50 years . Over time, it rusts from the inside-out. As the rust breaks free, the particles clog up faucet fixtures and reduces water flow.

• Pex: 40 years

Drain Lines

• Cast Iron: 50-65 years. Cast iron piping in Cincinnati is everywhere. When used as the main drain line from the house to the street, it’s common for tree roots to invade the pipes, creating drain clogs. Over time, cast iron pipe will eventually rust way – especially in floor drain applications.

• PVC: 50-70 years

• Galvanized Steel: 50-70 years


• Sinks, tubs, toilets: 40-80 years (the finish, however, usually lasts about 10-20 years

• Water heaters: 10-15 years

• Faucets: 5-40 years, depending on quality of the brass castings and homeowner maintenance.

Water You Waiting For? If you own (or are considering) a house with old plumbing or poor plumbing, a plumbing inspection by a reputable plumber is a sound investment. Allied Reddi-Rooter can assist with bathroom renovations or replacement of existing old plumbing. Call Ray today for a free over-the-phone quote. (513) 396-5300 or Contact us. We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service.