Repair vs Repipe: Which Is More Cost-Effective?
The vast majority of existing galvanized piping in residential fresh water plumbing systems has reached the end of its intended working life. We have an article discussing the history of galvanized plumbing, and the expected lifespans of galvanized pipes used for water supply lines.
It is a matter of when, as opposed to if, all your galvanized plumbing needs to be replaced. So is it better to space out the replacement in sections over time? Or should you do it all at once?
Since we specialize in repiping entire homes - we may be a little biased: but we strongly believe that for any situation where a systemic plumbing issue is present (as is the case with old galvanized piping), then doing a complete repipe all-at-once will be much more convenient; as well as more cost-effective.
We've gotten feedback from many customers, that they wish they'd known about how easy and affordable a whole home repipe can be (after spending tons on successive repairs and water damage, or living with low pressure/ dirty water for years).
We've perfected our One Stop Repipe™ process, and can typically complete a whole home repipe in only one or two days. We can handle everything - including drywall repairs and building permits - and your water will always be turned back on at the end of the day (if the repipe takes longer than a day).
To take the sting out of unplanned repipe costs, we also offer several financing options, including a Nothing Down, No Interest offer, on approved credit.
How Much Should A Repipe Cost?
Here at Repipe Specialists, most of our repipes fall somewhere between $4,500 for a two-bedroom, one-bath house, and up to $15,000 for a much larger, more complicated job. Further down in the article, we review key factors to consider when comparing repipe quotes.
Key factors that influence residential repipe pricing:
- Type of piping material, with copper pipe vs PEX tubing being the primary choices. PEX can be significantly less expensive than copper. Read our article: Is PEX a Good Choice for Repiping?, for more on PEX.
- Pipe quality and specification: quality (and cost) of selected plumbing material can vary greatly. Copper comes in a variety of thicknesses and grades - and some non-US suppliers have been known to have inconsistent manufacturing quality. PEX tubing is also manufactured by several companies, with varying levels of quality. Here at Repipe Specialists we only use Uponor PEX tubing, and American made Grade L copper piping (and back both with lifetime warranties).
- Types of connectors and fittings: there are many grades and types of various fittings and connectors used in a repipe project. Pressure regulators, shut-off valves, tube connecting systems, etc.
- The number of plumbing outlets: showers, faucets, toilets, laundry facilities, etc.
- The overall linear feet of plumbing required.
- Accessibility of plumbing can influence labor costs significantly. Attics, raised foundations, open sub-flooring, basements, standard hollow wall construction (drywall over wood framing), etc.: these are all common home features that can reduce labor costs associated with running new pipe.
- Included services and common add-ons: drywall repair, new water heaters, pressure regulators, main service lines from street to house, coordination of the repipe building permit process, expectations around cleanup and protection (i.e., protecting home interiors with plastic sheeting and floor coverings).
- And finally, the type of plumbing company used for the repipe. Specialist repiping companies can usually perform a repipe for less than a generalist plumber. Here at Repipe Specialists, we've found our quotes are often as much as half that of some generalist plumber quotes. Read more about Choosing A Repipe Company: Specialists vs General Plumbers.
Our local estimators can provide you with a fixed price quote, with a clearly specified scope-of-work and material specifications. Contact us by phone or email to arrange a free consult.
Comparing Repipe Quotes? Factors To Consider
Comparing repipe quotes across companies can be tricky, and you want to ensure you are not comparing apples to oranges.
If you are getting quotes from generalist plumbers, read our article that discusses the differences between specialist plumbers vs generalist plumbers.
Key factors to consider when comparing repipe quotes:
- Pipe and connector type specifications: obviously, you can't directly compare a copper repipe to a PEX repipe quote. What may not be completely obvious though, is that not all copper pipe nor PEX tubing is created equal. There are also multiple methods for connecting pipes. Be sure to ask for specifics on types of material and connection methods, and get it in writing as part of the quote. Have your estimator explain their material grade/type recommendations.
- Angle stops/ compression valves and supply lines: related to above, these are one of the details where a company may choose to cut corners. Angle stops are the shut-off valves at each fixture in your home, and the supply lines are the short lengths of tube that run from the angle stop to the actual fixture. Quality angle stops will last longer, be less prone to leaks, and be more likely to actually work when you need them to.
- Pressure regulator valve: in areas with high municipal water pressure, homes are equipped with a pressure reducing valve. These reducing valves have limited lifespans, and will likely need replacement at the time of your repiping.
- Cleanup & site protection practices: be sure to have in writing, what a plumber will be doing to protect your home during the repipe, as well as the expected state they'll leave it in, when complete. At Repipe Specialists, we put floor coverings in place, and plastic sheeting over all surfaces and furniture, then completely clean up after ourselves at the end of the project.
- Warranties: find out specifics of what's covered; any exclusions, time periods, transferability, etc.
- Building permits: will the repipe company cover pulling permits, and supervising permit approval & sign-off?
- Main service line repipe: many repipes do not require a replacement of the main service line from the street to the home. However, this can make a big difference in the overall price - so be sure to discuss with estimators if this needs to be included, and if yes, be sure it's part of the overall quote for accurate comparisons (and to avoid mid-project change order surprises).
- Water heaters: it is commonplace to upgrade/replace your water heater at the time of a repipe.
- Drywall repair: all repipes require cutting into walls to varying degrees. At Repipe Specialists, we can include drywall repair pricing as part of our overall repipe service. With many generalist plumbers in particular - the expectation is often that you'd hire a drywall contractor separately.