1st floor plumbing walls

We have a lot of framing work on the 1st floor ahead of us. Well, we actually have all of it ahead of us. Nevertheless, I knew where I wanted to start: With the plumbing walls.

Once the plumbing walls are in place, I can begin to install all the utilities, whether it’s water, sewer, or heating.

It is easier to understand the process if we define the plumbing walls as ‘major’ and ‘minor’.

The minor plumbing wall is separating the bathroom from the corridor. It accommodates the water pipes for the shower and shower and floor drains that are connected to the drain water heat recovery unit (DWHR) in the basement.

The minor plumbing wall is basically an existing 2 by 4 wall, which we need to increase to a 2 by 6 wall to have enough room for the plumbing equipment. Rather than rebuilding the wall, I decided to add two inch furring strips to the exiting 2 by 4 studs.

Unlike the minor plumbing wall, the major wall consists of two wall sections and a five inch gap in between. The first wall section faces the bathroom, while the second faces the kitchen. Drew and I had to carefully align both wall sections with those in the basement.

We were also proactive in our layout planning for the section facing the bathroom. The studs are spaced 12 inches on center, which eases the installation of the cement board, and we added an opening above the vanity location for a recessed medicine cabinet, should we find one that we would like to use.

The section facing the kitchen had to be positioned to leave enough room for insulation on the perimeter wall to the left. Because we were aware of this while we installed the basement plumbing wall, and located that wall accordingly, we just had to place the 1st floor wall right over the basement wall and were good to go.

Sometimes this kind of thing keeps me up at night, with my mind racing about how I get issue ‘A’ to work with issue ‘B’ and not messing up issue ‘C’ in the process. But on days like this, the lost sleep is transformed into a sweet and soothing return on investment.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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