The First Rough-in: The Plumbing Rough

Once your home is fully framed, it is ready to have the plumbing, electrical, HVA, technology (audio/visual/computer) and security roughed in. The first of these that needs to be completed is the plumbing rough, as this has the fewest options on where they need to run supplies, waste and venting.

The “rough-in” stage of plumbing is the second step in plumbing your home. The first was the “ground work” that was done prior to pouring the foundation. The things you need to be concerned with should have been discussed with your builder during the pricing/budget stage are as follows:-

  1. Size and type of supply “water” lines. The size will affect the volume and pressure available to all sources of water. If you don’t have proper size pipes, you could have a significant drop in volume and pressure if more than one source is being used at the same time. Example – if you are doing laundry and/or running the dishwasher you may not have good volume and pressure at shower etc.
  2. Type of material used. There are three types most commonly used. Copper, CPVC and PEX:
    1. Copper is the most expensive and has been hurt by some poor piping made overseas that may deteriorate and start leaking over time. if you decide to use copper, go with the heavier walled pipe TYPE L.
    2. CPVC – this is PVC for high pressure use. All of your drains and vents are probably PVC. PVC has glued joints making them strong. PVC has become the more popular best practice as copper has become less popular.
    3. PEX is plastic tubing that is very easy to install. It has mechanical connections. The walls of this tubing are very thin and I’m not a fan of a product. Plumbers like it because it is the easier to install.
  3. Proper fastening/protection – it is important all pipes going through the plates (top of bottom) are protected by nail guards. This helps protect the pipes from being hit by drywall nails or screws. Additionally, all holes both vertical and horizontal should be sealed to reduce the chances of the vibration causing noise in the walls. Fire codes require fire caulk used in the floor penetrations.

Once the plumbing rough has been completed, you can proceed to perform the other rough-in tasks.