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Old 09-15-2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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Installing Plumbing in 2” Wide Walls?


Hello!

I’m a bit new here, but you’re likely to see me around quite a bit in the future. I just bought a new home… New for ME anyway. The house itself is a small bungalow built in 1910. It’s in pretty good shape considering it’s almost 100 years old, but it does need quite a bit of updating. And I’m going to need quite a bit of help and advice as I stumble across new and fascinating (read: frustrating) aspects of my new home! For instance: Interior walls built with 2x4s… Only the 2x4s are sideways…

At the moment I’m trying to renovate the bathroom. Currently all the plumbing (supply lines and waste lines) emerge from the floor. I’ve just started cutting the plaster and lathe walls, and discovered that, to save a bit of space, some of the walls have been built with the 2x4s sideways, so that looking into the wall you have a stud that’s 4” wide and 2” deep. Mind you, these are old rough hewn lumber, so the dimensions are ACTUALLY 2” x 4”.

Of course, the walls that are built this way are the walls where the sink and bathtub faucets will be. I haven’t been able to rip out the bottom few inches of the wall to see how the bottom plate for the wall was done. (To make a long story short, I need to rip off the base molding before I can rip out the bottom of the wall, and I need to rip up the hardwood floor in order to rip out the molding and I need to remove the toilet and bathtub before I rip up the flooring… And the story is no longer short.)

Anyway… Supply lines are usually 3/4th of an inch in diameter, correct? So those at least should fit into the wall, correct? But what about valves and faucets and fixtures? Will those fit in only 2 inches of space? I would very much like to avoid surface mounting everything on the wall, and there’s not enough space around the tub for a cool free standing faucet…

I plan to have a professional do the plumbing, but I’d like to know if this can even be done before I start making calls.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 09-15-2009, 08:01 PM   #2
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Installing Plumbing in 2” Wide Walls?


Most faucets and fixtures are completely outside the wall anyway. The supply pipe comes up through the floor, has an elbow in it and then it exits the wall.

For an in-wall mounted bathtub faucet assembly you may need to commandeer some space on the other side of the wall, building a "vertical soffit" to hide everything.

Pipes serving just one or two fixtures may be half inch rather than 3/4 inch. Do not bore holes through the 2 inch wide side to the other 2 inch side of the studs for pipes bigger than 1/2 inch to run horizontally.

I would use a vanity rather than hang a washbasin on that wall with the studs flat side out.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-15-2009 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:38 PM   #3
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Installing Plumbing in 2” Wide Walls?


Allen is correct on the 1/2" supply lines and you should be able to get them in. What about the drain? Code is 2" and you won't fit that into a 2" wall. Can you rebuild the wall to correct way? Or worse case add a 2x2 to one side to get some thickness?
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:41 PM   #4
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Installing Plumbing in 2” Wide Walls?


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Originally Posted by MinConst View Post
Allen is correct on the 1/2" supply lines and you should be able to get them in. What about the drain? Code is 2" and you won't fit that into a 2" wall. Can you rebuild the wall to correct way? Or worse case add a 2x2 to one side to get some thickness?

Just to add code is shower 2" and tub 1 1/2" pipe
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
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Installing Plumbing in 2” Wide Walls?


Well, to elaborate a bit, the setup is as such:

The bathtub is a cast iron claw foot tub. It's in an alcove that is just fits into. there is about an inch and a half of clearance at the front and back of the tub. The drain pipe goes straight down into the floor and into the basement. That's just fine. I don't think I'd want to move the drain line there even if I could. But as of now, the plumbing is bare copper pipe that's attached to the surface of the wall. I think it looks fairly terrible, and want the plumbing moved into the wall itself. I can come straight up through the floor, so I should just need to pass through the bottom plate of the wall, and not horizontally through any studs.

I just wanted to be sure that if I purchase normal bath tub valves / faucests / shower heads / etc, they can be properly installed in a narrow space like this. I've seen some cool looking, old fashioned stand alone tub fixtures that come out of the floor and then hang over into the tub. But there's not enough space at the front of the tub for that, and I think it would look odd coming up over the side.

The other place I'd like to move the plumbing into the wall is by the sink in the bathroom. Right now it's... Well, I'm not sure of the proper term. It's just a simple sink bolted straight to the wall. The supply and waste lines run straight down into the floor. I plan to replace that with small vanity. Ideally I'd like to move all the plumbing into the wall because a) I figure that it's a bit easier to install the vanity if I don't gave to cut holes in the bottom, lift is, and lower it onto the supply and drain and b) I believe I have more vanity options with the plumbing in the wall. Some of the vanities I'm looking at have draws in them, but I assume that plumbing lines a few inches from the wall running straight up will block such things. If I have to I can simply get a vanity with double doors in the front of course. I'd also like to move the plumbing into the wall because it will leave a bit more space in the vanity for storage.

All in all, I'd consider being able to put the supply and valves for the bathtub into the wall far more important than by the sink and vanity.

Now that I think of it, I'm also going to have to figure out how to run eletrical wires lengthwise through 2x4 studs if I want to rewire the room... Assuming that doing so is even up to code. Oh well. that's a post for another thread!

Thanks for the help everyone!
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:43 AM   #6
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Installing Plumbing in 2” Wide Walls?


If the valve assemblies, etc. don't fit in the wall, they will compromise the outer plaster layer and probably protrude no more than one inch past the wall "surface". This in turn might not affect the vanity drawers.

If you can make up metal bracing instead of the customary one-by wood bracing between the studs inside the wall for shower faucets, shower head arm, etc., then that could give you a little more working room inside the wall.

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