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Finish a Basement Bathroom with Rough in Plumbing

Dec 20 2022
Plumbing tools.

Home renovations usually require adding or modifying a basement bathroom. In some cases, the homeowner will already have basement rough in plumbing, which reduces renovation costs and construction time.

But, how do you proceed with a basement rough in plumbing? What does this even mean? Read on and find out.

What is Rough in Plumbing

Rough in plumbing means that the pipes for water supply and drainage have been installed completely, but the fixtures connecting to them have not been attached yet.

So, even if you have a basement rough-in plumbing you still have to install your bathroom sink, toilet, tiles, and other bathroom fixtures.

Sounds complicated? You already had half the work done! Now, we’ll teach you how to finish that basement rough in plumbing.

How to Finish a Basement Rough In Plumbing

The best way to finish a basement rough in plumbing is to call for professional plumbing services. Professional plumbers are knowledgeable in setting up the entire plumbing system, and they will ensure that you have proper bathroom and drainage installations that comply with building codes.

We don’t recommend doing DIY rough in plumbing as the extent of the job is not for beginners or even intermediate home renovators. In saying that, these are the steps a professional plumber would take to complete a rough in plumbing job in a bathroom remodel:

Step 1: Test for Leaks or Broken Pipes

Before you install any fixture, you want to make sure that the basement rough in plumbing is working properly. Otherwise, you could end up tearing down your entire project right after you’ve finished it.

To test a basement rough in plumbing for leaks, you’ll need a pressure gauge and a tube that connects to an air compressor. These tools should help you perform a pressure test, which will help you find plumbing leaks and avoid costly repairs in the future.

Here’s how to do a pressure test:

  1. Choose two (2) water outlets.
  2. Put the pressure gauge on one of your chosen outlets and connect the air compressor tube to the other outlet.
  3. Introduce air into the system and bring the pressure up to 35kPa (or the recommended pressure in your province for performing a pressure test).
  4. Monitor for at least 15 mins. If you are able to maintain this pressure, you have no leaks.

If the pressure drops then it means you have a leak! To find it, go through the pipes until you find a hissing sound. Put a soap solution on the area and look for the spot where it bubbles.

Replace the pipe and/or seal the joint and do an air pressure test once the seal has set to see if there are no more leaks.

 Man fixing a shower valve.

Step 2: Install the Drywall and Floor Tiles

Next, you can proceed with installing the bathroom fixtures. But before you do, you need to install the drywall and floor tiles first.

Setting the drywall and tiles before installing the fixtures creates a cleaner finish. It’s also easier to attach fixtures on top of the drywall and tiles, instead of walling or tiling around already installed fixtures.

Before you fix the drywall and tiles, make sure you measure and cut where the fixtures would go. After the tiles have set, you can then proceed with installing the appliances or fixtures.

Step 3: Install the Sink

Once you’re done with the drywall and tiles, you can proceed with installing the sink.

To install the sink and faucet, you need to:

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Locate the sink stub-out and cut off the caps, leaving ~1 inch of the pipe sticking out.
  3. Connect a compression fitting (shut-off) valve to the stub-out.
  4. Attach and glue an ABS P-trap adapter onto the stub-out.
  5. Attach the faucet and drain to the sink.
  6. Depending on your sink’s style, fit it into the vanity or directly attach it to the wall.
  7. Connect and screw the drain extension to the strainer.
  8. Apply plumber’s putty to the underside of the strainer lip.
  9. Push the strainer into the drain hole and tighten the nuts.
  10. Connect the faucet to the shut-off valve using a flexible hose. Make sure the size of your hose connector matches the size of your shut off valve. Tighten.
  11. Connect the P-trap inlet to the sink’s tailpiece. Align the outlet to the drain stub-out and measure the gap.
  12. Cut a 1.5” PVC pipe 2 inches longer than the gap.
  13. Connect the P-trap to the drain using the cut PVC pipe. Tighten the connection by adjusting the compression nuts at both ends.
  14. Caulk the drain and sink. Wait for at least 24 hours or until the caulk has dried before testing the sink.
  15. To test the sink, turn on the shut-off valve, then the water supply.
  16. Turn the faucet on and inspect the pipes for leaks. Adjust, repair or seal as necessary.

Step 4: Install the Toilet

Here are the steps in installing a new toilet:

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Cut the toilet drain stub-out as close to the floor as possible.
  3. Install a toilet flange appropriate for the drain size.
  4. To install the flange, align the toilet flange onto the pipe and mark where your bolts would go. Adjust the flange to ensure both bolts align and are the same distance from the wall facing the back of the toilet. This ensures your toilet will align perfectly against the wall.
  5. Cement the outer corner of the flange pipe and insert the toilet flange into the stub-out.
  6. Drill the flange onto the floor.
  7. Place the wax ring onto the flange, wax side up, with the lip inserted into the flange.
  8. Insert the mounting bolts into the flange’s bolt slots.
  9. Put the toilet over the flange, making sure the bolts go through the bolt openings at the toilet base.
  10. Push down on the toilet to compress the wax ring. This will seal the toilet drain pipe.
  11. Attach the tank and connect to the water supply.
  12. Turn on the water supply and flush to test for leaks.

Step 5: Install the Shower

Now it wouldn’t be a bathroom without a shower, would it? So here are the steps in installing your shower:

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Remove the shower head valve cap.
  3. Apply teflon tape around the shower head elbow screw threads.
  4. Screw the shower elbow into the shower head valve.
  5. Pipe silicone sealant around the elbow.
  6. Fit the shower flange through the elbow over the sealant to cover the hole and secure it in place.
  7. Screw the shower head onto the shower head elbow.
  8. Then, prepare to install the shower faucet.
  9. To install the shower faucet, remove the protective cap from the faucet valve.
  10. Place the flange or decorative plate onto the valve and secure by screwing onto the wall or tile.
  11. Screw the faucet adaptor on the valve.
  12. Attach the faucet.

Plumber fixing pipes.

Step 6: Add Finishing Touches and Enjoy Your New Bathroom!

Now that you’ve already installed the essential fixtures, it’s time to add the final touches.

Add in the vanity, shower doors, mirror, decor, cabinets and everything else to make your bathroom as cozy as the rest of the house.

If you haven’t installed the lights yet, now is the time to do it.

Once you have added all the accessories and appliances, your bathroom is ready to be used.

Ensure Proper Installation and Avoid Plumbing Nightmares

Here at 1st Rooter, we’re pretty confident we’ve laid out the perfect guide for finishing a basement rough in plumbing, but we’re also confident we can do the job faster and safer than most DIYers.

So if you want to ensure your walls are going to stay dry, or that your faucets and pipes are not going to burst and cause water damage, leave a work request or call 1st Rooter for 24/7 professional plumbing services and we’ll make sure you get the best results out of your renovation budget.

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