PEX pipe is the new standard in plumbing pipe technology as it performs better than copper, steel, or PVC. Go here to learn more about the benefits of PEX pipes. We are always happy and prepared to help you with your PEX plumbing installation if you’d like a professional plumbing job performed.
Although this is a rather advanced plumbing job, if you are interested in upgrading your old copper or steel galvanized pipes and doing it yourself, here is a professional How-To Guide for you.
Step 1: Drill Through The Sill Plate and The Stud
Position the drill bit upon the stud, start the drill slowly, and allow the drill to gradually increase speed.
Proceed to drill on through the sill plate as well as the sub flooring for each individual water line. In order for the pipe to run parallel to the floor, be sure that you are drilling each hole at the same level when you are drilling through the stud.
Step 2: Running The Water Lines
As soon as you are finished drilling the holes, the water lines can be run. The lines will come through the floor in most instances. However, there will be situations where the water lines will have to be placed across the wall studs. In the case of the pipes running through the studs, you have to be certain that the holes are drilled in the center. In this way, the nails or the screws won’t reach to the pipes and they won’t receive any damage.
Note: Just an extra precaution – The examples show the recommendation of using a nail plate. The nail plate is a flat piece of steel that has tacks on both ends. Just line up the nail plate so that when nails or x crews come through, they can’t penetrate to do any damage to the pipes.
Step 3: Pull and Secure The Water Lines
The lines can now be pulled up through the holes that were drilled in the sub-floor (See Image 1), and after that you can run the opposite end to the spot where the water will be entering the home. Make certain that you are leaving extra pipe at either end.
Now, you can fasten the line to the joists by using clamps (See Image 2). Separate the cold and the hot lines as best as you can, to minimize the transfer of heat.
Some slack should be maintained in the line in order to compensate for contraction and expansion in the line itself, and be sure that you label the line at both ends.
Step 4: Complete The Rough Stub Outs
Now is the time to complete the rough stub outs for each of the sinks. This procedure simply involves the installation of a specialized copper fitting that adapts to the PEX. Take note that there is a cap at the end, called a rough fitting. This enables you to charge up the system with water or air, just to make the test to determine if you have any leaks in the system. Once you have the walls up, the cap can be cut off and the finish valves can then be installed.
Tip: When you are roughing in the lines, it is best to use a right-angle drill with a paddle bit or an auger bit.
Step 5: Applying The Crimps
The most crucial part of the project is the crimps. The system could leak and real problems down the line can be the result, if the crimps are not properly applied. There are actually two brands of crimping tools. The workability of both of them is very much the same, except that one is more for heavy-duty work. If you find that you are doing a lot of crimps, use the heavy-duty tool.
In order to achieve the perfect crimp, begin by cutting the PEX, being sure that it is a straight cut. Onto the pipe, you then slip a crimp ring, and then slide the pipe right into the fitting. Look for the little shoulder on the fitting, as it is on all of them – and that is exactly where the PEX should be slid. Then you can use your fingers, or you can use a pair of slip-joint pliers and slide the crimp ring up. When it is between a 1/8” and ¼” or closer to the end of the pipe, you will know that it is in position. Now, pay close attention, because this step is vital to be sure that leak-free crimps are achieved. Be sure that the crimp is no further than a ¼” or closer than 1/8” to the end. Then completely cover the crimp ring with the crimping tool, and then close the jaws on the tool as tight as you possibly can.
Step 6: Time To Rough In The Lines
Now you can rough in the lines to a fixture. The PEX piping won’t allow you to solder around it, so you can use a fitting that is called a PEX 90. This fitting will sweat right into place on a mixing valve, and once the soldering cools, the PEX water line may be safely connected to it.
Remember that disassembling a mixing valve before it is soldered is crucial. Any parts that might be affected by the heating of the torch should be removed. You can use standard techniques for the soldering of the valve and the fittings.
Step 7: Position the Fittings and Solder
The fittings are positioned so they are both face down when hanging the valve in place. Then solder them into their proper position. Let the valve cool completely before installing it.
Step 8: The Connecting of The Water Lines
Bring the water lines up from the crawlspace and connect them to the manifold. The manifold is positioned above eyelevel, and then the top mounting is screwed to the studs. When you are sure that it is level and secure, attach the manifold to the bracket using the screws that are supplied by the manufacturer. Then you may install the bottom bracket to the manifold, making sure that it is plumb. Then the bracket can be mounted to the studs.
Step 9: Marking and Drilling The Holes
The template is aligned to the manifold on the studs and marks the each hole with a nail, or just drill into it directly. Continue until you have drilled all of the holes. It may be necessary to take down the manifold to avoid damaging it while drilling.
Step 10: Positioning the Ball Valves
Mount the manifold where all of the holes are drilled and attach the PEX ball valves to the manifold. Find the port by reaching up, and screw it into place. Bring one of the lines up to the valve, ensuring that a shut-off valve is available for each fixture.
Once the ball valves are in place, the PEX lines can be pulled up for attachment, while you are being very careful not to kink them. Connect your PEX lines to the ball valves that you just mounted. There you go, you just installed your very own PEX pipe system!
(Image credits for all images in this post go to The Home Depot.)
We hope that our guide has been informative and helpful to those DIYers out there who wanted to take on this big of a plumbing project for themselves. If you would like professionals to install your PEX pipe system then view our plumbing services or request your free estimate now. You can reach us by phone 24/7 at (512) 328-2000.