If your basement has natural clay soil floors, you are bound to have issues with your plumbing at some time during the ownership of your home. While clay soil can move with natural adjustments in the environment, such as the heating and cooling off with the changes in the seasons, you need to make sure that your plumbing can also move and adjust itself as the walls of your basement move with the clay soil flooring.
This can seem like a fairly difficult task to undertake, but with the right tools and the right knowledge, you can toss out the headaches and stress, and make your plumbing job right the first time.
When installing things such as bathrooms, mudrooms, or a laundry room in your basement, you will need to use flexible expansion joints and couplings to allow the natural movement in the floor and walls to take place, without putting undue stress on your plumbing connections. This will keep your pipes from leaking or even cracking and will make sure you don’t have to call in a professional plumber to fix it, spending more and more money with every refit you need to fix.
If you are starting from scratch, make sure all your piping is new. If you are working with pre-existing materials, make sure that you are using the same material as what is already in the house. As an example, if your home already has copper or PVC piping in it, when you start to do your work you should use copper or PVC to match the materials already in the house.
Cross mixing your plumbing pipes can cause all kinds of issues later on, and it’s difficult to make the pipes fit together with a good tight seal. Copper pipes will require you to “sweat” them (this is a soldering term used for plumbing), whereas PVC pipes will require a good cement glue to hold them together.
Make sure that all of your joints and connections between two pipes are capable of having a slight amount of movement so that you won’t have any issues later on with those joints popping and causing unneeded leaks in your basement. You will also need to make sure that the pipes in the ceiling and floor have enough space so that the ground swell doesn’t push on them too much and cause them to collapse on you.