Expert Tips to Level Up Your Home’s Plumbing Work: DIYer to Intermediate

By The Shower Drapes | Blog

Jun 05
Expert Tips to Level Up Your Home’s Plumbing Work

At this point, you may be pretty familiar with various plumbing tasks around your home. You can take apart a leaking faucet to replace the washers, O-rings gaskets, or the entire valve core.

Replacing a toilet with a new one is now under your belt. You can confidently inspect your water heater for any leaks, or to flush out the sediments from the tank.  Just remember to consult your home warranty provider before spending any money out of pocket on new or replacement parts.

If you’re ready to level up your skills from beginner to intermediate, you don’t necessarily need to learn any new complicated procedures.

Just keep the following tips in mind the next time you undertake any plumbing project:

Expert Tips to Level Up Your Home’s Plumbing Work

Get familiar with the plumbing code 

Success with small plumbing jobs does not mean that you can automatically take on more intricate and complex projects. It’s important to first become familiar with the plumbing codes. That allows you to know tasks you can take on by yourself without official permits and which require the oversight of a professional plumber and inspections.

For instance, any re-piping work in the bathroom, toilets and other parts of the house require a permit in most jurisdictions and work must be performed by a licensed plumber. For this, you can always find a local plumber for bathroom and toilet installation with

Because of safety codes, projects revolving around sewer lines and gas piping also required permits. But make an effort to find the bylaws. For instance, in Texas, unlicensed persons may perform plumbing jobs for land tracks or subdivisions that don’t require platting or located outside a municipality with no connection to the public water system.

Still, it is important that all tasks are above code should the need arise to sell the property and undergo a professional inspection.

Broaden Your Knowledge: Read a couple of plumbing books  

Aside from watching a couple of tutorials on YouTube or reading about stuff online, the best investment you can make for your learning and development is to invest in plumbing books. For instance, you can get started with the Creative Homeowner’s Ultimate Guide: Plumbing 4th Edition.  It gives you a behind the scenes look at the physics behind various home plumbing systems. You also learn some basics about renovating a bathroom, replacing components in leaky faucets and more.

Once you’re done with beginner books you can move on to advanced textbooks, or expert-written books such as Plumbing Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Finish (Taunton’s Complete) by Rex Cauldwell.

Invest in the right tools

You need the right tools before undertaking any plumbing jobs. Now, most DIYers make due with basic tools. For instance, they can cut pipes with a hacksaw blade. However, the cuts may not be 90 degrees. For pro-level cuts, it’s better to use professional pipe cutters.

In addition, you can get plastic pipe saws that are specifically meant for plastic pipe. They produce more clean cuts. You can invest in internal pipe wrenches. They can help when removing rusted fittings and fittings, particularly in older homes that have galvanized pipes.


Other handy tools that you may consider having in your arsenal include:

  • A heavy-duty pipe wrench set
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Plumber’s torch
  • Hacksaw
  • Thread sealing tapes
  • Pliers
  • Plungers
  • DIY plumbing snake
  • Stubby screwdriver
  • Other tools as needed

Learn to choose the right sealant 

You may need sealant for joints that don’t require to be glued or soldered. Sealants may be available as PTFE thread tape paste, anaerobic resin compounds, or pipe dope. You need to choose the right sealant for the particular job. That’s why it helps to learn about the differences between thread lockers, clear silicone, and more. For instance, you may only use silicone caulk for sealing sink drains or sealing faucet installations. When in doubt, you can always speak to the salespeople at the plumbing supply store. They can help clear any doubts. Plumbing codes can also help in this respect.

Perfect the art of leak testing  

As a DIYer, you may choose to install a toilet only to notice leaking under the floor some days later. Similarly, you can end up with connection leaks after installing an appliance or plumbing fixture. You need to leak test every time, and broaden your leak testing skills. Choosing the right sealant for the job rather than relying on thread tape alone helps.

Avoid over tightening  

One easy mistake that you can make and forget about it is over tightening plumbing connections and fittings. Overtightening may quickly wear down your wrenches and may cause fittings to break. Too much pressure on the joint can wrap rubber fittings inside pipes and actually contribute to future leaks.

Brush up on your threading skills  

One mistake you may be unwittingly making is threading PTFE tapes the wrong way. Now, the right way to thread a pipe is clockwise. You may only need three layers for an effective seal. The position of the last wrap is equally important. It should face to the left.

Prepare your project properly on paper 

Spend enough time during the actual prep work, instead of rushing into the process and making mistakes along the way. You can document everything including the materials you need or even draw diagrams of what you seek to achieve. It’s equally important to document the process from taking photos during a faucet tear down to ensure that you have everything in place to plotting down the locations of various pipes.

Learn how to perform a full plumbing inspection  

Last and not least, know how to perform a full plumbing inspection of all systems, pipes, drains, or appliances. You can even try to find inspection checklists from the web.

Never over approximate your skills, or take on jobs that actually require the intervention of a professional plumber. Shoddy plumbing work may contribute to safety or health issues. It can even damage your structural components.

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