Big cost difference to re-pipe house!!

lisadluJuly 17, 2014

I've gotten two quotes so far to re-pipe my house. House is 1767 sq/ft with two full bathrooms, kitchen, water heater, laundry area. One quote was for $3,200 and the other for $20,400. Both said they would pull permits and use copper pipe. The difference being the cheaper one is a mom and pop operation and the other is a big franchise company. The smaller company would also run pipe on the exterior to the master bathroom instead of jackhammering across the family room into that bathroom (no attic to reach that bathroom, we are also on a slab). The bigger company would run the pipe all around the interior walls to reach that bathroom. I am getting more quotes but my question is, I know cheaper isn't usually better BUT if the job is permitted and their work is being inspected should I worry about it? Thanks!

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First: Why use copper pipe?

Virtually no one uses copper pipe for plumbing supplies these days unless you are locked into copper pipe by owner's covenant's or something else.

Use PEX pipe and have the job cost about 75% of what has been already quoted to you for copper from either bidder.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:28PM
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I did ask about PEX to the 20K guy and he said it was cheaper but he didn't recommend because of two things (rats could chew through it and you could accidently hit a nail through it while hanging a picture). Seems like everyone does copper around here from what I can tell. I will ask him to requote it with PEX though. Also, if jobs are city inspected would you worry why the big cost difference? THANKS!!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:25PM
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In the process of having mine redone with PEX. At the end of the day even at the same $$ I would go PEX after doing a bunch of research.

20K seems CRAZY high for that size house.

My quotes ranged from $2200 - $17000 for the same job with PEX.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:11AM
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hey manhattan -

"PEX pipe and have the job cost about 75% of what has been already quoted to you for copper from either bidder."

I'll bet you a steak at P. Luger's that you won't be able to find a plumber willing to show up to do a whole house replumb for $750 with any type of pipe or any type of house ! Get a clue.

Lisa - your plumber is a bit off the wall as well. Why is he running his pipe at eye level where it'd be subject to hitting it with a nail from a picture hook anyway ???

Or, are you one of those types that hangs your pictures 24" off of the floor ???

PEX is used all over the NE USA and Canada for floor warming and lots of it has hardwood flooring nailed down right on top of it with out many issues.

That copper he's fond of can be pierced by a cabinet hangers screw too, so nothing is perfect.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Only place I recommend copper these days is with people that have well water. Copper does kill some types of bacteria.

With all of the chemicals (especially chlorine) they put in city water now, I would use PEX or CPVC before copper.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:46PM
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I have plumber number three coming today to quote. I will ask him about the PEX but I have a feeling it may not be code where I live (Palm Desert, CA). Only reason I say that is because a plumber told me last year it wasn't allowed by code and all the ad's in the yellow pages say copper repipes... not a word about PEX in any advertisement.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Call the city building department and ask if PEX is approved.
I live in Riverside County Ca .
The Press Enterprise newspaper has an ad for repipe Any 2 bathroom house complete repipe 4695.00 for copper and 3695.00 for PEX

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:36PM
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In general--and especially in your case--I'd go with the Mom & Pop shop. Besides the outrageous and prohibitive price diff, I'm betting you can easily determine the name(s) of the Pop shop plumber(s) who will ACTUALLY BE DOING THE WORK (e.g. "Pop" himself), look up their state licensure, skill level (journeyman/master), any past complaints, etc... for similar reasons, they'll be WAY more likely to stand behind their work.

Big franchise will send whomever .gov is subsidizing on the latest prison-to-work program... HIDE yer daughters! =:O

Nota bene: Copper tubing ("pipe") comes in 3 weights (wall thickness), K, L, and M, heaviest to thinnest, also Most to Least expensive... pros consider M not durable enough for most applications, except TPR downspout on water heater, and similar near-zero duty cycle applications. L-weight is the norm, K typically only for buried or cast-in-concrete runs. >>>MAKE SURE THIS IS IN THE QUOTENothing wrong with running copper on the exterior in NON-freezing climes--done all the time here in So-Fla... would be foolish (and probably against Code) to do so with PEX. Also not sure if PEX is *paintable*, but copper certainly is, and paint, combined with very high height (screened by eaves/soffit/fascia/etc.) or very low height (screened by landscaping), makes the copper runs very inconspicuous.

PLEASE report back with your results, so as to "close the learning loop" for all who trouble to come here. Thanks and good luck.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:24PM
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We are going with plumber #3 (also a small mom and pop business). My GC friend recommended him and I've been happy with his follow up and honesty so far.
I checked and we can use PEX here (Palm Desert, CA) but it is against code in Palm Springs!! (the next city over. Go figure!). So we are doing PEX inside the house, and the one run that will be on our back exterior wall going to the master bath will be copper inside a conduit. His price is $5400 which may be a little high considering we are using mostly PEX but I feel confident with him. Permit is being pulled today and work should start shortly. Fingers crossed everything goes as smoothly and cleanly as possible! LOL! :)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:19PM
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Just got a price to repipe a 1600 sf 3br, 2 bah house with Pex, including a new water heater. $2995. This was from a big local company.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Over 40 - That's a great price! My original guy who told me $3200 actually came in at $5300 after doing his calculations. My other bids were $5400 and $20K!!! These companies seem to vary widely in their pricing so it's prudent to get a few quotes and compare. Good luck with your piping project! :)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:57PM
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If peeps don't list at least: a) their zip code, and b) layout and construction of home (e.g. 2-story, wood-frame, over crawl-space... or 1-story CBS on slab), then there's simply no useful "comparison" of renovation prices... there's Palo Alto prices and there's Wichita prices... and there's fishing PEX down a wall prices vs. jack hammering (and re-casting) a slab prices... night and day.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Which ever way you go, pay extra for valves to be able to shut off and isolate different rooms and fixtures. Being able to turn of various rooms and fixtures without turning off the whole house is sooooo worth it.......

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:45PM
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Just wanted to share my recent experience with repiping for others in this forum:

Had a 18 yr old 3400 sft , 2 floor , 3.5 bath home repiped with L type american made copper

Was not as bad as I feared - used a company called "Sagewater /Plumbing Express"

Turnkey job that included everything including drywall

3 days for repipe and 2 days for drywall repair

These guys have repiped thousands of homes - they were excellent - minimized dust with extensive plastic cover everywhere - used only the best materials etc

In my research I found this article very helpful - it educates you with all the questions you need to ask ( including a link so others may benefit ):

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 11:07PM
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