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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Plumbing & Waterproofing > Re-Piping a House

Re-Piping a House Cost


How Much Does Re-Piping a House Cost?

 
average costPlastic Pipes: $1,500-$8,000+high costCopper Pipes: $2,500-$15,000+
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If water pressure drops because of corroded pipes, there's an ongoing problem with leaks or rusty water, or pipes burst under a slab foundation, it may be time to completely replace the pipes in an older house. Typically the new pipes will be installed first, the water supply transferred to the new system and then the old pipes will be drained and abandoned in place. A home inspection company charts the various types of plumbing pipes.

Typical costs:

  • Re-piping an average house with 1- to 2-1/2 bathrooms can cost $1,500-$15,000 or more, depending on the size of the house and the type of new pipes being installed (plastic or copper). Re-piping costs are typically based on the number of fixtures, with each sink, bathtub, shower, toilet, dishwasher, water heater, etc. counting as one fixture. Total costs also depend on the size of the house, whether it's one story or two, if holes made in the walls or ceilings will be repaired and repainted or left open, and ease of access (whether there's a basement, crawlspace or slab foundation). Re-piping a house with plastic pipes -- either PEX (flexible plastic tubing made of cross-linked polyethylene) or CPVC (rigid plastic pipes made of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) -- typically costs $1,500-$8,000 or more, depending on the number of fixtures. Re-piping a small 1-bathroom home with plastic pipes might cost $1,500-$2,500, and a typical 3-bedroom, 2-1/2-bathroom, two-story home might cost $3,000-$7,000 or more. Although there are some regional differences -- PEX tends to be more common in the West and Southwest, CPVC in the East -- in many areas one plumber may prefer PEX and another CPVC. For more details, see CPVC and PEX.
  • Although there have been problems with pinhole leaks in areas with acidic water, for many plumbers copper remains the premium pipe material. The price of copper[1] has increased dramatically in recent years, and re-plumbing a house with copper can cost $2,500-$15,000 or more. For example, Pete Rodriguez of Atlantic Re-Plumbing[2] says a 2-1/2-bathroom house that costs $3,700 to re-plumb with CPVC would start at $4,500 in copper, and could cost more. At Repipe1, Danny Zilberberg says a 2-bathroom house that costs $3,499 in PEX would be more than $5,000 with copper. And Tony Prados of MasterServ[3] says a 2-1/2-bathroom slab foundation house that is $4,000-$5,000 in PEX would be $5,000-$6,000 with copper pipes.
Related articles: Replacing Copper Pipes, PEX Plumbing Pipes, Replacing Galvanized Pipes, PVC or CPVC Pipes, Replacing Polybutylene Pipes, Plumber

What should be included:
  • A contractor will typically inspect the house before submitting a bid. Re-piping a house takes 1-5 working days and can require cutting 8-20 or more holes in the walls and ceilings. Usually the water will be turned back on each evening and the homeowners will be able to stay in the house during the re-plumbing. Copper typically takes longer and/or more workers to install than PEX or CPVC pipes. For example, Repipe1 in California typically schedules one day for any re-plumbing project, but uses a three-member crew to install PEX and a five-member or larger crew for copper pipes.
Additional costs:
  • A permit from the local planning or building department is typically required. The city of Hercules, CA, posts its re-piping inspection checklist[4] describing common code violations in re-plumbing projects. Permit fees vary, but typically cost $70-$400. This may be included in a re-plumbing contractor's bid or be an additional charge. The company may also charge $50-$150 to be present during required inspections by the local building or planning department.
Shopping for re-piping a house:
  • ProToolReviews.com lists tips for choosing between CPVC, PEX and copper pipes[5] . Homewownernet.com explains how to hire a plumber[6] .
  • Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, or search for local companies through the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association[7] . Prices vary significantly, so get several estimates and ask about specific experience with re-piping.
  • Make sure the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed[8] ; ask for and check references, and look for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[9] .
  • A written contract should include a detailed outline of the work required and materials to be used, whether the company will be doing the work or subcontracting any of the project, and the dates within which the project will be done.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.mongabay.com/commodities/prices/copper.php
  2.  atlanticreplumbing.com/CopperGalvanized/CopperRepipe/tabid/531/Default.aspx
  3.  911repipe.com
  4.  www.ci.hercules.ca.us/index.aspx?page=103
  5.  www.protoolreviews.com/news/cpvc-copper-pex-tubing/3665
  6.  www.homeownernet.com/plumbing-how-to/hire_plumber.html
  7.  www.phccweb.org/applications/ContractorReferral/search.cfm?navItemNumber=532
  8.  www.contractors-license.org/
  9.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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