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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    2

    Unhappy $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    We are in the planning phase of a bathroom/kitchen remodel on a 1957 contemporary ranch house with original galvanized plumbing in Georgia. The plumbing is currently functional but annoying as we cannot do two things requiring water at the same time i.e. take a shower and use a sink, etc. without big pressure drop -- we've been told this is due to the old pipes corroding on the inside which diminishes the pressure and that repiping is the only solution. The supply lines are all in the attic and walls with drains running in the slab foundation. Attic access is very limited due to the low pitched/sloping roofline. But access should be pretty straight forward with a few holes in the drywall.

    Here is our plumbing wish list:
    Repipe from where the supply enters the house in bathroom #2 where there are 2 sinks and a tub/shower combo. We plan to replace the 2 sinks and faucets in this bath along with the toilet -- which is located in the adjacent hall bath. Also want to replace the original pink sink in hall bath. In the master bath which sits approx. 10 ft. from bath #2 (across a central hallway) we want to demo back to the studs and convert the tub/shower combo into a larger shower and put in a freestanding tub which will basically sit in the large shower pan area. We will need to remove a non load-bearing wall to expand the shower size and move the shower valve to the new wall and add tub faucet/drain (concrete will have to be busted to tie into existing drain). We also want to move the toilet 3 feet into it's own "water closet". Will also move 2 sinks/faucets approximately 1ft from current location on the same wall. Install gas tankless water heater which is in an adjacent HVAC closet.

    Kitchen:
    Tie into existing gas line in adjacent HVAC closet and run line to new gas stove approximately 8 ft. Run water line for ice maker from existing capped plumbing (4' distance). Relocate drain for new sink 4' from existing and run new supply pipes (this will require trenching the slab).

    We had a general contractor and his plumbing subcontractor quote $15,000 for the above. This price does not include any sinks, faucets, drywall repair or concrete demo/repair or cost of the gas tankless hot water heater. This price does not include repiping to the existing laundry room and outside spigot on the far side of the house. This estimate seems to be only for running the new PEX plumbing lines and making the connections only. Our question is -- does this sound at all like a fair estimate? Based on our ****** research it seems extremely high. We know it's difficult to ballpark any job without seeing the floorplan, etc. but we'd like to know if our assessment is correct and what a more fair price would be?

    Sorry for the long-winded post -- but appreciate any feedback!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    888

    Default Re: $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    the first thing i can tell you is to ALWAYS get at least 3 estimates. after doing so, CHECK references.

    from your description, if the $15,000 is for only running new water supply lines and hooking them up to the existing fixtures, then yes, that is way too expensive. keep in mind that i'm saying this without seeing your house, just going based on what you wrote.

    get a couple of plumbers in there and be very specific with what you want them to do and not do. make sure all of them are estimating the same tasks to be done.

    after you get a few guys in there write us back and let us know what they said. if you get 3-4 estimates between $13,000-$16,000 then there's more to this job than you described. if you get several much lower estimates then you'll know that the first guy is trying to rob you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South*East
    Posts
    1,183

    Default Re: $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    He is way over priced or he has no idea what it takes to do the job. Get some more prices.

    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    akko,

    Aren't you glad you stopped here to ask this question?

    Assuming that you want to repipe with copper type L, your first estimate is way out of line. Yes, the price of copper is through the roof, yet this estimate is too high. I can tell you this even without seeing the house.

    Call other plumbers and do as MLB suggests: itemize everything to be done from new pipes to plumbing fixtures, from new gas line to drywall repair, and so on. Don't skip and leave anything out, write down everything to be done.

    You will need to pull a permit. Talk to plumbers directly, not to general contractors who will add their share to the price.

    BTW, where are you located?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    akko,

    Aren't you glad you stopped here to ask this question?

    Assuming that you want to repipe with copper type L, your first estimate is way out of line. Yes, the price of copper is through the roof, yet this estimate is too high. I can tell you this even without seeing the house.

    Call other plumbers and do as MLB suggests: itemize everything to be done from new pipes to plumbing fixtures, from new gas line to drywall repair, and so on. Don't skip and leave anything out, write down everything to be done.

    You will need to pull a permit. Talk to plumbers directly, not to general contractors who will add their share to the price.

    BTW, where are you located?

    Yes, very glad (thanks to my wife)!
    The plumbers I've spoken to recommend going back in with PEX not copper. What are your thoughts on that? We are located in Rome, Georgia (small town about an hour outside of Atlanta).

    The other issue we have to contend with is that the original galvanized plumbing is wrapped in asbestos insulation (which scares me). I don't want to invest the kind of money it would take for an abatement company to remove it. My very knowledgable neighbor said that I can cover the asbestos with a paintable polymer that will encase and harden the asbestos therefore making it safe to handle and remove. We actually won't need to remove all of it as there is room to work around it for the most part. Any thoughts?

    Thanks to all for the replies!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    If you decide to go with PEX, it should cost even less than copper in both material and labor. Just make sure your building department approves PEX.

    See if your plumber can run the PEX without removing the galvanized pipes.

    But with so many things going on in your house, cutting walls seems to be inevitable, which will lead to handling the asbestos and some of the old pipes.

    Please keep us informed and upload photos if you can.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    If it wasn't for the asbestos I'd advise you to do as much of the demo on the galvanized as you can, saving a few hours of labor for the $100-$150/hr plumber. If you do get into it, my plumber recommended use of an angle grinder to cut the pipe.
    I used the handy sawzall to remove a few sections of pipe and it can be a nightmare as you get toward the end, shaking everything in sight and rattling yourself and every inch of pipe nearby.
    It's this old house, not this built after your dad was born house.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    888

    Default Re: $15k Repipe Estimate -- Can This Be Right?

    pex is definitely the way to go if allowed. all the repiping in your house in pex will take a day, maybe two at the most. in copper, it could take a week and the materials will be substantially more.

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