Michael and Tommy Strong
Brothers Strong Residential Design and Build
Home Run Plumbing with
Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX) Piping and a
The owner of a Cypress, Texas home hired Brothers Strong to expand his one-car garage to a three-car garage with a living space, including two full bathrooms, on the second floor. The 1,200-square-foot addition cost more than $100,000.
"We began using home run plumbing in 2004," says Tommy Strong, project manager. "We were looking for the design flexibility it gives you in a remodeling project. Often you are in a situation where you strip the walls, and you are limited in where you can put the things you want. The existing structure can be very restricting, and copper takes up a lot of space and is difficult to work with in small spaces. There can be a real fire hazard working with copper on site too."
"Above all, flexible piping is ideal in retrofits or additions where you are working with the existing piping," Tommy says. "It greatly reduces the time needed for piping."
"Installation is way easy; speed of construction is way fast," says Michael Strong, vice president. "While the entire project took six months of construction time, they piped it in a day."
"With the two bathrooms, it would've been much more challenging using conventional piping," says Tommy. "There were several tight spots, as we were trying to get from old areas to new areas. We probably would've had to make some design compromises if we used a conventional system, like building out some fir down chases or lowering the cathedral ceilings."
"On the sales side of things, I would say the primary reason for using home-run plumbing is the opportunity to differentiate ourselves from the competition. It is in accordance with our evolution toward cost-effective construction and green building," says Michael Strong, vice president.
"PEX piping and a manifold just make so much sense for so many reasons," Michael adds. "It gives us another arrow in our quiver when we talk about high-performance remodeling or new construction."
"In most of our jobs, we automatically include home run plumbing in the cost, and it's listed in the appendices of our proposals, but we don't usually pitch it to clients as an option," Michael says.
"That being said, if we have a particularly large job and a tight budget, we don't always specify home run plumbing. In those cases--like in the Cyprus addition--we had not determined what type of plumbing system we were going to use. We were going to go with what we could budget."
"Since it wasn't included in the original design, and we had a fixed plumbing budget internally, we told the plumber we were going to pay this amount for the plumbing, but that's it. So we told the plumber to be creative. Then the plumber said, 'Hey, we are doing PEX on your smaller remodels, let me do it on this project and I'll meet your price objective.' It cost about 5 percent less than what was in the original budget."
Brothers Strong started in 1984 when Michael and Tommy Strong (
CAPS) worked for homebuilders and remodelers during college. Incorporated in 1990, Brothers Strong has evolved from a painting contractor to a full-scale home remodeling company, with a projected $2.2 million in business in 2006. The Strong brothers are beginning their first new home, which will be certified under the new
LEED for Homes pilot program. They anticipate $1.75 million in new construction sales this year.
Why they use home run plumbing:
Since 2004, Brothers Strong has used PEX plumbing and a central plumbing manifold to cut the time plumbing contractors need to install piping. Home run plumbing makes plumbing system upgrades and maintenance much easier.