Toilet supply line

jasperdogNovember 24, 2013

This is a cross post from plumbing. Hoping to get more replies.

We are building a new house and the plumber put the toilet supply lines up through the floor. He insists this is how he always does it. Most of the bathrooms I've ever seen the supply line comes out from the wall. What is normal? For what we are paying to build the house this is definitely one area I do no want short cuts for the convenience of the sub.

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Trebruchet

Tell him that you want the ease of cleaning that comes from a wall stub and have him change it. You're paying.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

When we had our home re-piped with copper, the plumber told us the same thing for one of our toilets, "That is the way the newer toilets are installed", he said, so we moved the existing line from the wall to the floor. When we redecorated that bathroom 10 years later we had them move that floor supply line back up to the wall. I hated the floor one. It turns out that when we opened up the wall there were other pipes and it took extra finesse to fit everything, but it was possible. The original re-pipe plumber was just making his own job easier. The floor valves look awful, and as Trebruchet points out above, more difficult to clean. Just make sure to allow for the height of your baseboards, so the escutcheon plate will fit w/o cutting into the baseboard. Most toilet specs will show the location of a supply pipe for proper installation.

-Babka

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 2:06PM
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enduring

If you are on an outside wall it would not work to have the plumbing within the wall, I don't believe. Both my toilets are on outside walls so I have no choice.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I never thought of outside walls being a problem...few hard freezes here. Wouldn't wall or pipe insulation protect that 6" or so that would be in the wall?

-Babka

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:02PM
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enduring

I don't know about other parts of the country, but I live in the midwest and plumbing is not put in the exterior walls that I know of. I am not a plumber. Our buried water intake into the house needs to be below the frost line. Which may be 4' here but not sure. We've had our water main from the well freeze in the past, due to soil erosion over the water line. That was a pain for sure.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:00PM
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theultimatebikerchic

I'm in CT. Our 70 year old house with its original bathroom has the water line on the outside wall. Never been a problem.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:25PM
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jasperdog

Thank you for the replies. One of the toilets is on an outside wall; however, the supply line is located about 6" in from the wall. The other two are on interior walls. I have notified the plumber that he will have to move all three. I will have to pay for his time, but at least I won't be angry every time I see them or have to clean around them.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 11:26PM
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enduring

Theultimatebikerchic, do you mean that your water line is within your exterior wall? I have always heard that this should not be done.

I just did an internet search and most advise against it on plumbing forums. But there is a way if you protect the supply lines in some fashion. I would never do this in my environment.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 6:43AM
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theultimatebikerchic

The water line for the toilet and sink are on an exterior wall; it's a pre-ww2 house. Code may not allow it now but it's never been a problem.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 7:30PM
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enduring

Bikerchic, so the lines in your house are ON the wall, not IN the wall. Sorry if I am putting a fine toothed comb to this topic, but in your post "on the wall" would not be an issue, I don't believe. What I have read is that freezing air movement within the wall cavity is what will freeze pipes that are in that same wall cavity.

We can get -20 degrees fahrenheit. Day after day of those low low temps are what cause havoc. That is what froze our ground lines. We have been lucky over the last 10 years or so, and haven't had those severe temps.

Conventional wisdom, in the midwest anyway, is that plumbing (except for vents) do not go within the exterior wall cavity. My toilet and sink are located on an outside wall, but the lines are not within the wall cavity, they come up through the floor and into the vanity or, as this thread addresses, to the toilet. I have lived in 3 early century houses in the midwest and have never had plumbing inside the exterior wall cavities.

Now modern building practices my have changed this practice.

OK, I just asked DH if he has known of any houses with plumbing within exterior wall cavities and he says "Yeah, out at the north house" (one of the farm houses where he farms). I said "Oh, how does that work out?". He gave me a sour look and a grin and said with frustration "It freezes up".

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Trebruchet

It is highly unlikely that of the three possible walls that could surround a toilet, all would be exterior. Even so, any freezing on in the inside of an exterior wall of a new home is very unlikely.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 12:06PM
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theultimatebikerchic

I was told they don't freeze because the house is balloon framed.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

"balloon framed"??????? Huh?

Enduring- I cannot believe that pipes would freeze if they were located between the sheet rock (wallboard) and exterior of a house if the house was heated in Winter. Perhaps in a vacation home that was vacant, but then they drain their pipes. Why do you think they would freeze?

-Babka

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:45AM
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enduring

Babka, disclaimer, I am only a DIYer in my spare time and only recently at that :)

During the winter, when temps really dip below freezing, the exterior walls of my house on the inside can feel very cold. And standing next to one can be a chilly experience.

In my area, central Iowa, we need to have insulation in the exterior walls to help maintain interior warmth. The old houses usually have 2x4 stud walls, so not much room to hold insulation. Some insulation is better than others. I believe closed cell foam provides more insulation per inch depth than does batt type insulation. If a water line is in the wall and only has 2 or 3" of insulation protecting it from the exterior temperatures, it is possible that the water will freeze in the pipe. I have read that the moving air within a wall is a problem and in old houses there can be moving air within the walls.

I didn't mention this earlier, but in the bathroom that I just remodeled, we had pipes freeze once many years ago and they weren't inside an exterior wall. Even so the exterior bathroom wall was insulated with blown in insulation at one time. The plumbing came up from the floor and was about a foot from the wall, housed within a cabinet. I believe what may have happened was that the crawl space got too cold, even though it was open to the rest of the basement that was heated. The crawl space probably just got too cold for too long. It was not insulated, at the foundation. When cold wind blows it cools things faster than when the air is still.

What I have read as an option for exterior walls is building a second wall to the interior to house the utilities. There was a GW thread I was reading on this subject this morning, I will link it. And I will post a picture of an example of a secondary wall for utilities that I found. In this image the interior wall is sealed from air movement that might occur within the insulated wall using plywood or OSB. The interior of this second wall is not to be insulated so that is can collect the heat from the room's interior.

BTW, my area has an average frost depth in the soil of 40-45".

Here is a link that might be useful: Interior shower plumbing located on [in] an outside wall

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Trebruchet

""balloon framed"??????? Huh?"

Ballon framing was done back in the days when wall studs were long enough to do two stories and the band joists separating the stories were hung in the middle.

Since they didn't insulate or use firestopping back then, each stud bay became a chimney. This is a perfect example of why it's a good thing they "don't build 'em like they used to."

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 9:48AM
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