Roughing in the electrical and plumbing

Normally after the house is framed with the roof on and house wrap installed, you would install the windows and doors… Unfortunately for us the windows and doors were delayed, and then delayed again, and then again, and then they sent out only a partial order forgetting to send a window and all three of our doors, and so we had to wait some more. Frick (more on this later).

But rather than sitting and waiting for weeks for the windows to finally arrive, we decided to continue forward with the plumbing and electrical rough-in, as well as pouring the concrete floor for the basement. Seeing as we are in the countryside, where we see more deer than people, we do not have to worry about someone wandering into our construction site and stealing the copper wires (apparently this is actually a serious problem on construction sites – the building will be completely wired, and then some criminal cat burglar will come in the night and pull every wire out of the house, taking it to the scrap metal yard for cash).

The plumber was able to come on site a couple days before the roof was finished and got to work running the pipes in the basement – an arduous task that I would not wish on anyone – involving trenching all of the crushed rock and clay to set the pipes in place. The rough in stage is not terribly exciting and is pretty unglamorous, although this is where we started to get asked all sorts of different questions, questions we had never thought about until that moment – how high do you want the sink? How high do you want the wall-mount taps? Which way do you want  the taps facing on the tub? What height do you want the shower head? Where do you want the smoke detector? Where do you want the kitchen HRV exhaust? Et cetera, et cetera. It’s actually really overwhelming. Eventually it was just, “tell me what is standard?”

This stage is also really messy.

However, one thing we did which was not standard, was the height of our light switches. Light switches are usually positioned at 42″ from the finished floor. Although previously this had been 48″ in the old days due to wainscotting and chair rails. The 42″ height is accepted as the standard height, however there is one problem with this height: See photo. IMG_2969

I hate this! It is almost always in the way of where you want to hang art. Maybe I’m just a little too OCD, but this is one of those things that really bugs me. Plus we have some nice art that we don’t want to have uglied up with the light switches beside them. Last year we were touring a friend’s new house and we noticed that all of the light switches were just a tiny bit lower. He told us that he asked the switches to be set at wheelchair height, which is 36″ from the finished floor, thus not obstructing the placement of all of his pretty art. Genius!

The light switches are still convenient enough to reach even if you are not in a wheelchair, they’re essentially at waist height, which if you are an especially lazy person you will enjoy even more as you don’t have to lift your arm nearly as high to turn on and off the lights. Win-win!

One thought on “Roughing in the electrical and plumbing

  1. Your posts are always excellent and informative , Kent. With good and not so good results of the projects. A learning experience. Sighting the importance of finding reliable and experienced trades: a contractor with passion and knowledge (aka- Taylor) and a home owner how takes the time to research, communicate, understand. And sometimes FLY BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS!


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