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How to Successfully Run Plumbing in Exterior Walls

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When you need plumbing in exterior walls

Plumbing in Exterior Walls - Finished Shower

We’re all taught not to run plumbing in exterior walls.

I live and work in the cold Boston area. When remodeling bathrooms we always plan to install all plumbing lines inside interior walls and avoid running plumbing in exterior walls due to the reality of the pipes freezing.

Installing a water line in a cold exterior wall is a recipe for disaster and it doesn’t matter how well you wrap a pipe and surround it in insulation, on the coldest day in January or February it will freeze.

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The job site is where theory usually stops and reality begins. There are occasions when the only alternative is to install plumbing in exterior walls. That was the case on a recent bath remodel project that involved two glass walls and an exterior wall. Click here to read on how we approached this issue.

Plumbing in Exterior Walls - Installing Pipes

This particular shower head installation necessitated a ton of holes drilled through framing for the PEX pipe we used.  To install a shower head correctly we needed to also pitch the pipes so that all water drained from the cold wall pipes.

Plumbing in Exterior Walls - PEX Pipe

I recently became the proud owner of a few of the Bosch Daredevil auger bits and used them on this job. I found that the Daredevil bits literally pull themselves through the framing lumber like a hot knife through butter.  I was impressed!  After the job was done my plumber-brother stole my Daredevil bits!   Go figure.  And thanks to Be the Pro you can enter to win your own Daredevil auger bit from now until March 17, 2013.

Plumbing in Exterior Walls - Daredevil Auger Bits

If need to add plumbing to an exterior wall click here to learn how.

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About

Avatar of Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard is the editor of the blog, A Concord Carpenter, Assistant Editor of Tool Box Buzz and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. Rob hosts the Concord Carpenter... Read more

5 comments on “How to Successfully Run Plumbing in Exterior Walls

  1. Anne

    How should the pipes be protected if they are installed in an outside wall? What type of insullation should be used? How much? How should the pipes be wrapped? We live in PA where the weather is very cold in the wonter, too.

  2. Anne

    How should the pipes be protected if they are installed in an outside wall? What type of insullation should be used? How much? How should the pipes be wrapped? We live in PA where the weather is very cold in the wonter, too.

  3. Avatar of Matthew
    Matthew

    Thanks for the article… I’m about to have to run lines through an exterior wall. The previous builder didnt want to so they ended up running it through the attic (barely covered) and it ended up bursting.

  4. Avatar of Sergey
    Sergey

    Great article! It is always nice to learn a thing or two from the pro! Although I would always avoid running pipes in the outer walls, after reading this arcticle, I started to look at this issue from a different angle…Please keep good articles coming!

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