Avoiding damage to pipes when doing DIY renos
Pipes are the veins and arteries of our homes and a fundamental part of how everything works together. They are also hidden behind walls, floors and the dirt in our backyards, making them an easy thing to overlook when planning a DIY renovation.
Depending on whether you are planning to install new water fixtures such as another bathroom or just fixing up the landscaping in your garden, water pipes should still be a major concern when approaching any major change to your house. To this end here are some tips on how to avoid damage to your pipes when performing a DIY renovation:
Know where your pipes lie:
Perhaps the most fundamental tip on this list is knowing where your drains and pipes lie before you start taking a sledgehammer to your walls. This might not be as easy as it sounds as original plans for the house might’ve been lost and the pipes remain hidden behind cement, dirt or landscaping.
The first place to look would be with the real estate agent from whom you originally bought your home from or if this doesn’t pan out then it is possible that your local council stores the plans. If both of these investigations conclude at a dead end then you might want to think about hiring a pipe and cable locating service. These professionals use hand-held locators and Ground Penetrating Radar to find and label the hidden pipes in and around your home.
Make sure you use non-destructive digging:
Cutting straight into the ground with heavy machinery might be a big mistake if you hit a pipe or drain and cause serious damage to your water system. Luckily non-destructive digging (NDD) can be a simple way to excavate without risking damage to your pipes. This method uses hydro excavation through a high pressure water lance to safely remove earth around pipes without damaging them.
Think about the type of plants you introduce into your garden and where they are situated
Plant roots are some of the most common causes of pipe issues and blockages as roots seek the nutrients and water found in drains, widening cracks and infiltrating pipe joins, causing severe damage.
To combat this you should be careful of which trees you choose for your backyard and avoid planting them near pipes. Trees with large roots systems such as fig trees, poplars, willows, large gum trees, jacarandas and Australian White Cedar should be avoided.
If making changes to your water system make sure you do them properly
The plumbing in your home, alongside the electrical system, is the most complicated part of your home’s internal workings. This means there are plenty of things that can go wrong if you decide to tackle this project yourself. Some of the most common plumbing mistakes that might damage your pipes include poor connections between pipes, such as the often poorly installed flexi hose between drainage systems and sinks. Similarly, incompatible pipes with different fittings can cause erosion and issues down the line.