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Easy Ways to Prep Your Home for Sale or Rental

Small plumbing-related updates can have a big impact

If you're preparing your home for market or updating a rental property, it's important for it to look and be its best. There are the big things - painting, new flooring, fixtures, etc. - that are fairly obvious and almost always get done. Then there are all the "minor" things that aren't so clear-cut: whether hidden from view or simply unknown, these are the repairs and upgrades that can really set a home apart.

New tile in the bathroom may be beautiful, but it won't count for much if a leaky shower drain is causing water damage. On the less severe side of things, matching (or tasteful contrasting) of finishes between fixtures can make a striking visual impression for potential buyers/renters. Put enough of these simple fixes together, and you have one heck of a house to show off!

The parts of the home that are heavy with plumbing are some of the most important areas of any residence; for many, the kitchen and bath are focal points. Chances are there are plenty of repairs and/or upgrades that can be made, not all of which might occur to you (given everything else you're dealing with). So we've put together the following to help get your place functioning at - and looking - its best!

In the Kitchen

  • Outside of the appliances, the sink is usually the most notable part of the kitchen. Give yours a close inspection, looking for chips, cracks, discoloration, and deteriorated sealant. If it's damaged or simply an eyesore (we're looking at you, 70s avocado green), you probably should replace it. Remember that you're simply trying to get things to look their best, not decorating for the new homeowner, so it's best to go for something tasteful that matches the rest of the kitchen, but is moderately priced. It's always possible that whoever lives there next will make their own renovations, anyway!
  • If the sink is fine but the faucet is leaking, that's a pretty easy fix. But if the finish no longer matches the rest of the kitchen, is tarnished, or the faucet just looks bad, it's worth it to get a new one. Look for something nice, but as with the sink, it's probably not worth it to spend too much unless you need to keep up appearances in an already fancy kitchen.
  • A noticeable difference can be had with just the replacement of the basket strainer. Replacing old or missing strainers is a solid move: they really tie the sink together.
  • An air gap is required for dishwashers, and if it's missing or non-functional, it will catch the eye of a home inspector. It's a simple update, and with many beautiful finishes available, you'll find one to match your fixtures.
  • The water supply lines that connect to faucets, dishwashers, and icemakers should have shut-off valves on them to prevent flooding and make for easier repairs. Any leaking or non-operational valves need to be replaced immediately. Take time to inspect the lines themselves, too - replace them with stainless steel flex lines if there are any indications of a leak or damage.
  • Cover exposed supply holes and replace escutcheons that are worn or don't match: you might be surprised what a difference this little change can make! Even under the sink or otherwise out of view, having a clean escutcheon secure against the wall demonstrates an attention to detail that will make an impact.
  • Replacing the stove may not be an option, but installing new coils, knobs, reflector pans and rings will make it look its best: quick, inexpensive updates that take care of a potential eyesore.
  • Over time, faucet aerators can become damaged or clogged. A weak, sputtering or uneven flow from the faucet can turn off many, and could cause unnecessary concern over the home's water supply. Though it is among the smallest of fixes, its effects can go a long way: low-flow aerators conserve a significant amount of water!
  • A new disposer flange and stopper that matches the sink and fixtures is another easy update with a big visual impact; the clean look can go a long way in enhancing the feel of your kitchen. If the disposer itself has seen better days, it may be in need of some minor repair; if it's truly kaput, we offer many high-quality replacements.

In the Bathroom

  • As in the kitchen, a damaged or lackluster sink in the bathroom can be a major turn-off for prospective buyers/renters. If the bathroom is in need of a more serious facelift, consider a pedestal sink for a classic look. If the room is small, a wall-mounted sink can save space and open things up.
  • If the lavatory faucet is leaking or otherwise compromised, we carry a large selection of repair parts to get it back to form. Should you need a new faucet altogether, we again recommend that you don't go overboard with the replacement (unless the bathroom is already a stunner!)
  • Replace old, worn out P-traps with neat, new piping for a well-maintained appearance. Consider improving the look of the bathroom with a decorative P-trap: an exposed trap in a finish that matches fixtures is a great way to improve the bathroom's appearance!
  • Supply lines for the toilet, faucet, and shower/bath should be replaced if they haven't been recently, or if they show any signs of damage or wear. Stainless steel flex lines are usually the best bet, but we've also got you covered if you need rigid supplies for a vintage clawfoot tub!
  • Each supply should have a shut-off valve on it, and any that appear worn or are inoperative need to be replaced immediately. Designer finishes are available to match the rest of the room, and consistency with small details like these make for an attractive and lasting impression.
  • Depending on your location, an anti-scald shower valve may be a requirement for new installations. There are two types: thermostatic and pressure-balancing. These valves keep water at either a specific temperature (thermostatic) or hot/cold ratio (pressure-balancing), helping to prevent scalding and temperature-related accidents.
  • How does the tub spout look? Replacing a worn or unattractive one will give the tub a clean, cared-for look.
  • Update tub or shower trim with a new finish, and watch the compliments come in. It may not seem like much, but it makes a major impact, elevating what might otherwise be a drab situation.
  • Replace standard chrome escutcheons with finish-matching ones to make the bathroom sleeker than you thought it could be!
  • An old shower drain in an otherwise nice shower can discourage buyers and devalue the home: no one wants to inherit water damage. Have a drain that you can't replace from below? The Wing-Tite is a great solution that can save time and money.
  • If your shower drain itself is fine, but you've got an old or scratched cover on there, replace it! And if you really want to make an impression, choose one that matches your other fixtures or a unique themed Designer Drain cover.
  • Installing a new shower, or replacing an old one? Ready-to-tile shower pans make the job much quicker and easier, eliminating the need for mud-setting and hot mopping: tile goes directly on the pan surface!
  • Bathroom safety features are no longer a concern just for the elderly and disabled. More and more people are embracing the concept of universal design, and manufacturers have taken note with safety products that eschew the clinical or institutional look. With creative designs in every finish under the sun, there's no excuse for even the most refined bathroom to have a fall hazard.
  • Shower seats are quickly becoming another "standard" safety feature. Whether it's ADA compliant, folds up and out of the way to save space, or has the natural elegance of teak wood, a new shower seat is always a big plus!
  • A new toilet makes a drastic difference, and not only in terms of appearance: as one of the most-used and water-intensive fixtures in the home, reducing its water use with a new low-flow model can save a ton. Looking to open up the room and make a statement? Go wall-hung!
  • You don't need to pay an arm and a leg to get a functional toilet in a place that's below or away from your home's main drain line (the basement, garage, new addition, etc). A macerating toilet or sewage grinder system can resolve the issue at a fraction of the cost. Most systems will also accommodate a sink and shower for a full-fledged bathroom experience.
  • If the toilet looks good, make sure that it's also functioning at its best. If it's having some problems, our troubleshooting guide can help you figure out what repairs must be done. If everything appears to be working fine, try checking a few things out anyway, just to be sure.
  • Humidity can be just as damaging as a leak, and a bathroom that "clears out" quickly is truly one of life's tiny little blessings; if you don't already have exhaust fans in your bathrooms, you need them! Our buying guide can help you find the right one for the room.
  • Another easy and relatively inexpensive way to make a dramatic change to the bathroom is by replacing your standard wall mirror with a mirrored medicine cabinet. By providing storage space that's out of view, they can give the room a more tidy, open look. We offer a range of attractive styles for virtually any bathroom.

In the Laundry Room

  • Washing machines get a lot of use - several times a week for some - and they use a lot of water. Protect the laundry room and home value by making sure the machine itself is in good condition, and receives its water supply via stainless steel flex lines, rather than standard rubber hoses. Problems with water supply lines are the leading cause of water damage in laundry rooms, and rubber hoses increase the odds of failure.
  • There should be a floor drain in the room, to which a washing machine drain pan is connected. In the event of an overflow or leaking hose, this will help prevent serious water damage.
  • Is there a laundry sink? Take the same precautions you do with any other sink: look for signs of water damage in the area, and check the valves and supply lines for any issues. Ensure that the faucet is in good working order.
  • If your laundry room contains the water heater, you have another major water risk to be concerned about. Standard tank heaters over 10 years old may need replacement if they're giving you any trouble; younger tanks will require proper maintenance. A functioning temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve is an absolute must.
  • A flood resulting from a washing machine mishap is bad anywhere, but becomes about 10 times worse when it's in the house itself. It's just a sad fact of life that at a certain point, there's nothing else you can do to protect against a leak, a burst pipe, or any other disaster. Fortunately, you can provide some peace of mind by installing a flood prevention system in the laundry room (or anywhere there's a flood risk). Spotting one of these systems on the floor should make any potential buyer/renter giddy!

Around the House

  • A godsend for DIYers, SharkBite fittings make pipe repair quick and easy thanks to their push-to-connect design. Any pipe leaks you find around the house (including behind walls) can be permanently repaired in just a few minutes, with no cost beyond that of the fitting.
  • Slow drains? Don't reach for the chemicals! Plumbers know the best way to clear most drains is to get physical: plungers, snakes, and augers will take care of most problems without putting pipes or water systems at risk - and they'll be invaluable tools wherever you move to!
  • Install access panels for easy access to plumbing or wiring in just about any wall of the house. This saves time and money by not having to tear a wall apart for what might be a simple fix. You'll be making the next homeowner very happy, even if they don't know it yet.
  • Did you know we also offer high-quality cleaning products? Gel-Gloss for sinks and gel coated surfaces, finish-friendly faucet cleaner, truly no-streak professional glass cleaner, and hand cleaner for glues and cements!

In the Yard

  • Keeping hoses stored neatly and out of the way of hazards like mowers and even sunlight can keep them in top condition for a long time. Doing it in style can really add to the home's curb appeal.
  • Working outdoor faucets are a necessity. Check all of yours for proper operation, as well as any valves they're connected to (the house water shut-off valve is often located on an outdoor faucet line). If you're in a cold climate and don't yet have freezeless faucets, installing them will give you yet another selling point. We also offer decorative hose bibbs to give the garden an added touch of charm!
  • If the existing sprinklers leave something to be desired, replace them with our top of the line metal impulse sprinklers! These sprinkler heads have a solid brass nozzle, and stainless steel collars and trip mechanisms, making them a high-performing, long-lasting solution.
  • Make short work of spraying off the walkway, cleaning gutters, or cleaning the home's exterior with a powerful, easy-to-use power washer hose attachment. While not as powerful as a pressure washer, it's perfect for less-demanding tasks, and is a much-welcomed alternative to bending over and scrubbing by hand.


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