Skip to content
A contractor completely gutting a bathroom when renovating an old house

Top Plumbing Considerations When Renovating an Old House

Renovating an old house is an exciting endeavor, filled with the promise of preserving history while breathing new life into time-worn spaces, but it isn’t without its challenges.

From ensuring the walls and ceiling are still structurally sound to checking if the fixtures need to be updated, there’s a lot to address before it can be considered livable or sellable. This includes a thorough inspection of the home’s plumbing system down to its old plumbing pipes. This critical step will save you a lot of trouble (and money) down the road.

As we navigate the waters of this restoration, we’ll discuss the top considerations you need to keep in mind when renovating an old home, including water efficiency, pipe materials, and the integration of contemporary technology.

This knowledge will ensure that your renovated home not only stands the test of time but also meets the demands of the present!

The Importance of Updating Old Plumbing Pipes

Plumbing, often the unsung hero of renovations, is immensely important in the transformation of an old house. Beyond the aesthetics, the functionality of plumbing dictates the comfort and efficiency of daily life. 

Old house plumbing is often prone to pipes bursting, which can be dangerous and cause serious property damage. The last thing you want is to invest a ton of money into redoing a kitchen or bedroom and then have it destroyed by a flood.

As it pertains to plumbing, here’s how to go about old house renovation: 

1.  Assessing the Plumbing Landscape

Before starting on the renovation process, a meticulous examination of the current plumbing infrastructure is paramount. This involves mapping out the labyrinth of pipes, identifying their materials, and assessing their condition.

Older homes often boast character but may hide plumbing challenges beneath the surface. This includes leaks, water damage, or corrosion in your old plumbing pipes. Watch out for rust and cracks, too.

By recognizing these potential pitfalls early on, homeowners can proactively address and mitigate problems, ensuring a more seamless and effective renovation.

a plumber assesses old plumbing pipes during a home renovation

2. Ensure Regulatory Compliance

Don’t be surprised if your old house plumbing is not compliant with local building codes or regulations. Not only do violations compromise your safety, but they could also get you into legal trouble if left unresolved. 

When renovating an old house, it’s always wise to check with your local authorities to confirm the plumbing system and materials meet all standards. This is especially important if you’re renovating the house to later sell it. 

It’s also a good idea to check if your plumbing fixtures meet accessibility standards. It’s not uncommon for older models to provide inadequate room for clearance or be too difficult to operate, among other issues. 

3. Replace Outdated Pipework

Old plumbing pipes present major problems for water supply and waste management. Outdated metal materials—such as galvanized steel pipes—have not been used since the 70s because of how easily they corrode.

Similarly, lead pipes pose serious health risks as our knowledge of lead poisoning has grown. An estimated 12 million lead pipes carry drinking water to the homes of up to 22 million or more people each year—which means the likelihood of your old home having them may be higher than you think.

Plumbing fixtures also have a set lifespan, depending on their material and type. For instance, copper pipes can last 50 to 70 years. With that in mind, it’s important to verify materials during an old house renovation and act accordingly. Whether you plan to live in the renovated house or sell it to someone else, upgrading outdated pipework is a must. 

4. Technological Integration: Smart Plumbing Solutions

Replacing plumbing in an old home offers many opportunities for homeowners to modernize their plumbing systems while respecting the historical integrity of their dwellings.

From smart leak detection systems that safeguard against water damage to Wi-Fi-enabled faucets and showers that offer precise control over water temperature, these advancements bring a touch of the future to vintage spaces.

a newly renovated bathroom outfitted with a bathtub and spots for the sink and toilet

What Does It Cost to Replace Plumbing in an Old House?

The cost of updating the plumbing in an old house can range from $1,500 to $15,000. That said, this cost depends on several factors, such as its condition, location, and labor. 

To get a more accurate quote, it’s best to consult with a professional plumbing contractor who can provide an estimate based on a detailed assessment of the property. Just remember that the cost to update plumbing in an old house is always worth it because it will keep you, your family, or a potential buyer safe. 

Old House Renovation Made Easy With NYDirect

Renovating an old house is a massive undertaking, especially when it comes to potentially replacing an entire plumbing system. The good is that you can find the parts, appliances, and fixtures you need all in one convenient place: NYDirect

Our extensive online catalog is easy to navigate, whether you’re completing a kitchen remodel or a bathroom redesign.

You name it, we ship directly to your door—it’s our job to make your home renovation as stress-free as possible. Order today for free same-day shipping when you spend over $99+.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Call us to find out how we can help.

Previous article How to Transition to Low-Flow Water Fixtures in Your Home
Next article Water Heater Comparison: Tankless vs. Tank

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Become a Pro Member

  • icon Same-Day Shipping
  • icon Exclusive Discounts
  • icon Wholesale Pricing
Join For Free ➜

Shop Popular Brands

Liberty Pumps
Liberty Pumps

Liberty Pumps

Shop Now ➜


Shop Now ➜


Shop Now ➜

America's Leading
Plumbing Supplies Retailer

Save big on plumbing essentials with
our wholesale prices!

Shop Now ➜

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare