Whether you’re remodeling or building a new home from scratch, you’re bound to come across a phase during construction plumbing known as plumbing rough-in. This is the first step of installing plumbing in new construction – an integral part of any building’s foundation if we may say so.
Plumbing rough-in calls for professional planning and execution to ensure all the pipes, lines, and connections are done properly. This will minimize future plumbing issues in the finished building.
If you’re wondering “what is plumbing rough-in?”, then you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re explaining what rough-in means and answering common questions regarding plumbing rough-in including how long the process lasts and what to expect during it.
What Does Rough-in Mean in Construction?
In construction and building, rough-in is a term that refers to any endeavor or work that has been laid down but not fully completed. In other words, it’s when you’re almost done with a certain project and only the final touches that make it functional are yet to be completed.
So if you’re witnessing a construction project where the basic framing is all done and the initial services are in place without their endpoints, then it’s in a rough-in stage. This runs under the slab and is difficult to reach once it has been installed. This is why it is important that it is done well or you will get plumbing problems such as clogged toilets.
Typically, the term rough-in is used when evaluating electrical and plumbing work during new construction or remodeling of a building.
In electrical work, rough-in is where all the wiring has been installed but the fixtures still haven’t been installed. Similarly, plumbing rough-in is when all the pipes and lines have been installed but the outlets and such endpoints haven’t been installed yet.
During the rough-in construction period, you can ask for changes and they’ll be a lot easier to address than after rough-in. As such, you can think of the rough-in phase as the final chance of requesting changes without it costing too much.
It’s still going to be expensive because changes will need a new round of permits and inspections. The building inspector comes for review during this phase as the walls and floors are open.
With the walls and floor yet to be closed, it’s easier to examine the work underneath and modify it if the inspector doesn’t pass it.
What Is Plumbing Rough-in?
As we mentioned above, plumbing rough-in is the stage of construction when all the pipes and lines have been installed but the outlets and such endpoints haven’t been installed yet.
This means all the supply and waste pipes will be in their proper locations with proper connections, however, the end points (toilet, shower, sinks, dishwasher etc.) won’t be in place. Since waste lines are bigger than supply lines, the former is usually installed first.
The plumbing rough-in portion calls for professional planning and execution to ensure all the pipes, lines, and connections are done correctly. Not to mention, each room with a need for water lines has a unique set of considerations that the plumber needs to keep in mind while planning its supply and waste lines. The homeowner should keep the plans so that it is easier to execute renovations or repairs as the drains can be located without too much effort.
To move past the plumbing rough-in phase, the whole system has to pass pressure testing (detects leaks) and official inspection (judges the integrity).
Ultimately, a plumbing rough-in done right will minimize future plumbing issues in the finished building.
What to Expect During Plumbing Rough-in
Here’s what happens during plumbing rough-in:
- Underground pipes extending from utility points to main structures are excavated and installed.
- The plumber routes all the pipes through the walls.
- Drain pipes are connected to sewer lines, main water valves, and septic tanks.
- Supply lines are connected to sewer lines, main water valves, and septic tanks.
- All necessary pipeline junctions are established.
Additionally, plumbing rough-in is when vent stack pipes are integrated into the roofing system.
There are no endpoints, fixtures, or outlets during this stage.
How Long Does Plumbing Rough-in Last?
One of the most common questions concerning plumbing rough-ins is “how long do they take?”. Luckily, most cases are done with this phase within several days, 3 to 5 days to be exact.
That said, the period required for plumbing rough-in can be longer depending on multiple factors including the following:
- The weather — if there’s rain or a windstorm, construction is naturally delayed. This includes projects that feature plumbing work.
- The size of the project — it’s expected for a plumbing rough-in to take more days to complete in a larger construction project than in a smaller one. For example, plumbing rough-in for a house with multiple bathrooms will take longer than in a single studio apartment.
- The number of workers— if there are too few people working on the plumbing, the rough-in will take longer to complete. Having enough workers is crucial to reducing the time required for roughing in.
- The integrity of the work — if the plumbing rough-in doesn’t pass inspection, the plumbing must be modified and approved before continuing the construction.
Plumbing Rough-in and the Inspection Process
The building inspector comes to review the construction during the rough-in phase as the walls and floors are still open. With the walls and floors yet to be closed, it’s easier to examine the work underneath.
The inspector will then decide if the integrity of the plumbing work is acceptable or not using grades. If the rough-in doesn’t pass, the plumbing must be modified and approved before continuing the construction.
Do You Need Professionals for Plumbing Rough-in?
Yes, you need professionals to plan and execute plumbing rough-ins to ensure all the pipes, lines, and connections are done correctly. This eliminates the presence of leaks and minimizes future plumbing issues in the finished building.
Not to mention, each room with a need for water lines has a different set of considerations (such as the slope of the drain, how to connect them etc.) that the expert plumber keeps in mind while planning its supply and waste lines. The rough-in is typically done by the builder. The plumber starts to work once this is done.
Additionally, the plumbing system has to pass an official inspection to move past the rough-in phase and continue construction. This requires an expert to achieve.
Plumbing rough-in is the stage of construction when all the pipes and lines have been installed but the outlets and fixtures haven’t been installed yet. It must be done correctly to pass inspection and prevent future plumbing issues in the finished project.