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Electrical, Plumbing or Design Decisions – Which Comes First?

BACKGROUND: In January of this year, eLocal announced a new blog-off series that was designed to bring bloggers and professionals together to discuss hot topics and exciting trends in home improvement.  The intent of the blog was to eliminate your need to search the web for the answers to your most pressing home improvement questions.

I was asked to participate as one of the expert contributors, offering my expertise in the areas of home wiring and electrical matters.

FIRST QUESTION: When to Make Plumbing and Electrical Decisions in the Design Process – Should the dream design come first or should plumbing and electrical considerations be considered before all else?


“In any home renovation project, the first step is good planning. The first consideration should be given to the location of the major plumbing fixtures, like the toilet, bathtub and/or shower, the wash basin(s), and any other plumbing fixtures. Depending on the particulars of the home design, it is not very likely that the drain lines can be moved very far from their existing locations due to the constraints of the original construction design.

If the home has an unfinished basement or crawlspace situated below the project area, then you will have a greater chance of being able to move the fixtures around from the original locations, but if the home construction is slab on grade, chances are you will not be able to move fixtures at all without some major modifications to the plumbing infrastructure that is set in the concrete slab.

Water supply lines can be shortened or extended and electrical outlets can be moved or altered by the use of strategically placed junction boxes, GFCI receptacles, light outlets and switch locations. How far fixtures are moved from the existing locations will dictate how much of the existing wall board will have to be removed or damaged to accommodate the changes.

So to answer the question, the homeowner should make plumbing and electrical decisions first, designing a concept around the appropriate plumbing and electrical capabilities of the space, or you could find yourself the author of an infamous renovation nightmare!”


Now, with electricians, plumbers, interior designers, renovators, painters, etc., responding to this question, you can well imagine the varying opinions on the topic.  If you’d like to read the different comments – and there certainly were opinions that differed from mine – click here to read about in on eLocal’s blog.

And please feel free to throw your two cents into the discussion by adding a comment at the end of this article!

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  • You can choose the right thing in plumbing and try to have some self study. It is also for you to be familiarized to the words in plumbing. You can see this through internet or books that related in plumbing.

  • Knowing what should be prioritized depending on
    your situation is an advantage. This will allow you save money, time and

    • PremierPlumbing

      totally agree with this post. it just depends on your situation

  • With plumbing designers can get a visual review in a three-dimensional environment that can help tremendously in determining design options.

  • I think you need to come up with design decisions before doing electrical and plumbing duties. Things are smoother when they’re all planned. Hehe. Just saying. =)

  • I agree that you must have first your design decisions before doing electrical and plumbing duties. It is good when you have the design and tools , so that you can start the project without any hassle.

  • Sanford Michael

    Good one, I think you must take design decision before your electrical and plumbing work. At first we need to decide what we want after that we think about total design of our home and for this we need to discuss with a professional man, after that we will think about our plumbing and electrical work and again we need professional man. We must always discuss with professionals to make our home more beauty and well.


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