One of the most common changes to plumbing during a small renovation is the conversion of wall taps to a sink mixer. This happens most commonly in kitchens but also in laundries. Here’s a bunch of pics I took today at a job in Banksia Park with internal brick walls showing the basic steps involved in the task.

chrome wall taps

Here’s how it looked when I started. The joinery is all removed and the walls are bare. This window is well clear of the taps which is not common. This situation is favourable because when the window is close to the tapware it is pretty easy to break the wall below the window.


kitchen breech

You never know if you’re going to discover a stack of horrors when you begin to expose pipework but this one was textbook style all the way. In fact this job went as smooth as any job ever did and took me two hours from arriving on site to leaving.


brick wall chasing

Now that I’ve exposed the sink breech and I know where I’m going, I’ve marked the wall for cutting. These little guys get mounted 600 above finished floor and 150 apart. The bottom of the chase is wide enough to fit the lugged elbows, and the long part of the chase is wide enough to fit the chisel bit. Removing the least amount of material necessary is done for a myriad of obvious reasons.


brick wall chase

Here in the above pic there’s a bit going on. I’ve performed all wall cuts and chiseled out one chase. You can see where the diamond wheel has hit the breech 3 times and cut completely through it once. The complete cut was deliberately done to facilitate breech removal.


kitchen breech removal

Breech is removed and both chases are completely cut.


copper tails and lugged elbows

Lugged elbows ready to weld. I use longer than standard ones to ensure that they reach through the joinery sufficiently.


19BP lugged elbows silver brazed

Brazing is complete. I weld the pieces from right to left so that the flame extending beyond the piece I’m welding is preheating the next piece.You can see the heat from the welding has dried part of the masonry block I got from the garden outside in the rain.


lugged elbows ready for mixer

Pipework completely installed and capped. Water is on and my welds aren’t leaking. I love it when nothing leaks.


make it straight or don't bother

Not just leak-free, it’s straight as well. I’ve got to get back here to set the waste pipe lower, sparge the chases, and patch the old waste hole. The cold pipe will get a wrap of duct tape before sparging and the hot pipe will get two. The hot pipe should be given some more room to move because of the amount of thermal expanding and contracting it will do, hence the extra wrap of duct tape.

As is very often the case, the plumbing component of this task is relatively minor when measured against all the other work that needs to be done before and after it.