Asked on Feb 25, 2012

Should water pipes run thru the celling or thru the crawlspace?

Jeanne L
by Jeanne L
  10 answers
  • 3po3 3po3 on Feb 25, 2012
    Hi Jeanne, Welcome to Hometalk. Water pipes can be run through the ceiling and I don't think it's all that unusual, but you have to be especially careful to avoid freezing because it can obviously cause more damage and more expensive damage than frozen water pipes in a crawlspace.
  • Jeanne L Jeanne L on Feb 26, 2012
    I think they were run thru the ceiling to keep them from freezing. I bought an old house (fixxer upper) and it has a very small to non-existent crawl space. The kitchen & back bedroom have drop ceilings and I am in the process of removing them and putting in a sheetrock/drywall ceiling. My neighboir is a contractor and he mentioned that I should re-pipe the pipes ( they are small) to under the house. Our county code does not say this is mandatory so I am worried about borrowing more trouble if I do move tjhme.
    • See 5 previous
    • Cindy Cindy on Mar 05, 2019

      i'm the owner of condo built in 1972. The old water line pipes had have been installed under the slab which now started a leakage which is hard to determine at what point it leaks. As of today our HOA decided to repipe in the 2- story buildings where units stack on each other. The units downstairs get affected by the repiping project more than units above. HOA have started fixing a leakage from the building next to mine. Hired contractors have started drilling the slab and digging the ground to remove old pipes out and replace them with the new ones, it was UGLY mess of concrete and soil,inside of the units, and it did COST a lot of money to HOA!!! HOA decided not to afford have it done so costly for each of downstairs units. Now it's my unit turn. Contractors/HOA decided to route new water lines thru the ceiling instead of old way: firstly, to save money, and secondly, the water leakage can be seen faster, if any. Today March 3, 2019, contractors started repiping my unit, and did cut my walls and ceiling in many places (BIG HUGE mess, hard to stay home because all belongings stacked in corners). They planned to finish project in two weeks, and we have to live in such inconvenience!

      My big concern of the decision HOA made of routing water line pipes through my ceiling is if it could affect my condo price?

  • 3po3 3po3 on Feb 26, 2012
    Pipes are typically more likely, not less likely, to freeze in an attic, so that shouldn't be a concern for you. I think if the pipes are insulated, they should be OK up there. Moving them won't be cheap, but it could avoid some costly repairs later if they do freeze.
  • Steve, Sorry but that blanket statement is not always true, esp given the small amount of information given here.Climate, Crawlspace conditions, whether the pipes are above or below the insulation and how the attic is vented are variables that effect this. Some attics are conditioned space as well, so pipes can be far less likely to freeze there
  • Jeanne, Since your neighbor is a contractor and has seen this, it is likely that he is right, but is he at arms length or is he trying to sell you a job? If these have been there for a few heating seasons, they are time tested and OK - probably If you are gutting and redoing everything anyways, now is a good time to make the decision tho. If you re-run the supply lines, consider PEX which is flexible and easier to run, and is more freeze resistant
    • See 5 previous
    • Jack Jack on Mar 12, 2020

      PEX is not as weak as that. Besides, a home run manifold wouldn't have an fittings to have potential leaks. And try crushing a scrap piece of copper pipe then try crushing a scrap piece of PEX pipe. You'll know what's the better choice then. If you're fearless, you could just walk in a HD or Lows to do the test. But don't leave without buying you're new PEX pipe... maybe the useless crushed copper too.

  • What kind of pipes and how old are they? If they are galvanized, get rid of them now. In your part of the country, pipes can free in the crawlspace but if you insulate them well and remember to let the faucets drip slightly on those super cold'll never have a problem. We try to advise clients against installing drywall ceilings here in GA because eventually...EVERYTHING leaks. They make some awesome tiled ceilings now that are perfect for basements. Here, you are updating the kitchen and bedroom ceilings so may as well rework the pipes while you are at it!
    • Cindy Cindy on Mar 05, 2019

      basement is OK, but if condo built in 1972 without foundation, which means no crawl space, but water lines were hidden under slub of the first floor units, then repiping through the ceiling is less expensive at least.

  • 3po3 3po3 on Feb 26, 2012
    Good points, Nichter. Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't really thinking about all that.
  • Jeanne L Jeanne L on Feb 26, 2012
    Thanks to every one for responding. The pipes are water line pvc and they are routed thru the walls and ceilings in several rooms. this was a foreclosed home and according to my neighbors there had been several families living in the house. So I am guessing that is why the pipes were routed the way they were. I am going to have the pipes re worked to go under the house(if possible) I have a few more big projects with my home and I am trying to do it correctly as I go.
    • Cindy Cindy on Mar 05, 2019

      if you have crawl space, of course, under the house is the best solution, but if no such space, then route the pipes via the ceiling is less expensive than route them through the slab.

  • Amir Hyman Amir Hyman on Jan 03, 2023

    It is generally best to run water pipes through the ceiling or above the floor, rather than through the crawlspace. This is because pipes that are located in the crawlspace can be more susceptible to damage, such as from water leaks or freezing. Additionally, pipes located in the crawlspace may be more difficult to access and repair if a problem does occur. By running the pipes through the ceiling or above the floor, they will be more easily accessible and less likely to be damaged.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 03, 2023

    Use spray foam on the interior of the perimeter crawl space walls, sill plate and rim joist area. You will have a much warmer floor and your pipes won't freeze.

    Be sure to insulate your hot water lines to reduce wait times for hot water.

    PEX plumbing can also reduce the threat of broken pipes due to freezing. PEX can be chewed by rodents though.

    Either can freeze so insulate.