As part of a series, I interview real South African contractors and professionals. I ask for their advice on your behalf – no call-out fee is required! This time I chatted with a local plumber who has done work at my house. We discussed some things you should know before beginning your bathroom renovation
Certain things affect the budget and timing of your project. Hiring a professional contractor will give you peace of mind about your long-term results. Or maybe you have the skills and plan to DIY. Either way, check out some great advice before you begin your projects.
Let’s see what our plumber says.
Interviewee: Bowen Slabber, Ocean View Contractors, Helderberg, WC
Chantal (Design Elements): What is your trade speciality?
Bowen: Plumbing and Bathroom Renovations
Chantal: I need to renovate my main bathroom. When it comes to plumbing, what will significantly affect the cost of my project?
Bowen: The amount of work to be done, and how long it will take is the main thing. Changing the position of any of the sanitaryware fixtures will definitely add to the costs.
Chantal: At what stage of a renovation project should a plumber be involved?
Bowen: Right from the beginning is best. It’s easier to assess for any issues that could affect our work before any demolition is done. I want to do a site inspection before starting the work. Of course, if I’m handling the whole project from demo to final finishing, I would be involved from start to finish. I’d also be on-site to supervise while my construction team are doing their parts.
Chantal: What else could affect plumbing application and maintenance?
Bowen: Leaking pipes can sometimes go unnoticed until it’s too late and you have an emergency fix. There are some signs to alert you to this issue:
- bad smells coming from waste outlets (plug holes)
- unusually high water bills
- discoloured water coming out of taps
- brown stains on ceiling boards
Chantal: How do we reduce long-term home plumbing costs?
Bowen: Installing good quality products will prevent comebacks down the line. High-quality work on-site ensures that the client is completely satisfied with the outcome. You will have peace of mind that your fixtures will function as they should.
Bonus tip: A borehole that feeds water to your house will give you long-term savings.
Chantal: What eco-friendly plumbing systems can you mention?
Bowen: There are so many eco-friendly fixtures and fittings available on the market. Just make sure your plumber makes those products a priority when he supplies you.
Bonus tip: Install a grey-water filtration system to water your garden, or to supply your toilets – don’t waste fresh drinking water if you can help it.
Ocean View does Beautiful Bathroom Renovations:
Chantal: Can you give me some plumbing-related budget DIY tips that homeowners can do to save you a visit?
Bowen: Oh yes, some call-outs can definitely be avoided:
- Know where your shut-off valve is and how to use it.
- Don’t use those toilet freshener blocks in your cistern. The chemicals degrade the mechanism.
- Learn how and when to use a drain cleaner.
Chantal: Where should homeowners start when they want to do a plumbing project or have maintenance work done? What do you want them to know?
Bowen: Get references from a few previous clients of the plumber you want to hire. Ask to see photos of their previous work. Don’t think that something is too small to get a plumber out to fix. That issue could end in an emergency call-out that costs you a lot more and could involve your building insurance coverage.
Chantal: Bowen, thank you so much for all of the information. Do you have a last nugget of plumbing advice for homeowners?
Bowen: A high-quality bathroom will be great for your home’s resale value – make sure you hire a trusted and experienced bathroom renovation contractor.
False Bay Paint & Renovation work in the Helderberg Basin, Winelands, and Overberg areas of the Western Cape. Contact Bowen if you need your bathroom renovated or any plumbing alterations/maintenance done at your home.
Want to read the other interviews in this series? Here they are:
Which home improvement professional do you want me to speak to next? What would you ask them?
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