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The Basics of Sink Plumbing in the Bathroom

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For those who don’t know a lot about plumbing, it can be a challenge to describe your issue to a plumber. By understanding the different parts of plumbing in your bathroom and what they do, you can more accurately describe your problems to a plumber.

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This will help them get to the root of the issue quicker and result in better service for you.

Bathrooms can contain many different drains and fixtures. Perhaps more than any other room in your home. When you consider that you may have a bath, a shower, the toilet and a sink or sometimes two – that’s a lot of plumbing in one room.

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Let us break it down for you. Read on for a guide to the basics of sink plumbing in the bathroom.

Shut Off Valve

Shut off valves are part of most plumbing systems. You can use them to easily shut off the water from sections of your pipes for repairs and maintenance.

While there are many types of valves you may use, which one you have will depend on your plumbing system. Regardless of the type you find in your home, they all serve the same function of shutting off the water.

If you experience a leak, for example, under your bathroom sink then you can easily shut off the valve. This will prevent further water from dripping down and damaging your vanity unit.

When you decide to replace a tap or water line, it is a good idea to replace the valve at the same time. If your taps are getting old, worn out and leaky, then your valve may be as well.

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Water Supply Pipes

Water supply pipes are those used to send potable water to your taps. They will link up to the valves in case you need to shut off the water.

These pipes can be made of numerous different materials. Here are some popular options:

Galvanised Steel

These pipes are crafted from steel and then covered with a zinc coating. The coating will prevent the pipe from becoming eroded from water flowing through it. These pipes used to be extremely popular, but there are now superior options available. However, you may still find it in some older homes built prior to the 70s.

These pipes can last in your home for up to 50 years. After that, they are unlikely to remain an effective way of accessing water supply and you should consider replacing them.


Copper pipes are usually used for cold and hot water systems. They used to often be installed for piping gas, although this is no longer the case. They function well both above and below ground. However, if using them underground, they may require a protective sleeve to prevent corrosion.

Copper pipes also can last for up to 50 years. However, as time passes, they may start thinning. This can lead to minuscule leaks which can have huge consequences. Such tiny leaks are tricky to locate and therefore, fix.

This is largely why copper has fallen out of favour these days, giving way to plastic pipes in our homes.


PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and it is this type of pipe which is currently wildly popular. They can be used in many situations, from water mains to drainage pipes.

They come in many thicknesses and colour options, which serve many purposes. For example, purple PVC pipes with black writing denote that they are being used for reclaimed water.

When copper became less popular, PVC was one of the first plastic styles that started to be used in place of it.

The drawback of PVC is that while it’s fantastic for cold water, heat can affect it so it’s not great for hot water.

Sink Pop-Up

When talking about a pop-up sink, this refers to parts both below and above the sink. These include a horizontal rod and a tailpiece. The rod serves as a way to pop up and down the sink plug.

If you need to unblock this type of drain, you will first need to remove the stopper and clean off any gunk on it.


Many plumbing fixtures contain a p-trap. The name comes from the way it looks – much like the letter P.

The p-trap is the curved section of the pipe which holds a little water every time you use your bathroom drain.

This seals the opening of the drain, thus avoiding nasty smells from entering your home through the pipes. However, because of the curve, it can be a prime place for sink clogs to build up.

There are two sections to a p-trap: the u-bend and trap arm. These can easily be replaced if you find that they are broken in your sink.

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Drain Waste Vent System

The drain waste vent (DWV) system is the system that performs the crucial task of carrying away any waste from your bathroom. This includes sewage as well as water that has gone down the drain.

This is connected to the drain waste pipes and connects any sink to the main drain pipe. If you end up needing to snake the drain in your bathroom, this is the drain pipe you will do it on.

It serves the important purpose as well of maintaining the correct pressure in your bathroom plumbing. This will aid in your fixtures draining effectively.

Now that you know some of the lingo for plumbing in your bathroom, you should be able to better explain your plumbing issues.

If you are having problems with your plumbing, please give us a call at Fixed Today. We provide honest, no-nonsense quotes. What you are quoted is what you pay as we don’t add in hidden costs or fees.

When you contact us, we can have a local, professional plumber around on the same day to sort out your issues. We provide friendly, efficient service without cutting corners. Your satisfaction is paramount to us. Get in touch now to get all your bathroom plumbing sorted.

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