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Dental Plumbing and The $20,000 Floor – Budget Killing Dental Office Construction Cost #3

By Jayme Amos.  Get free updates of posts here

Dental Plumbing Estimated Cost: $5-$25,000

I wish #3 of the budget-killing costs was something fun like Italian Marble or gold-lined bamboo. But it’s not that fun.

Frankly – this is a cost you will NEVER get to enjoy seeing. This topic is about Dental Plumbing. Pipes. Yup, boring, unseen, ungratifying pipes.

dental plumbing And yes, it’s a $20,000 discussion and it can explode your budget.

Unfortunately, this is a dental office construction cost that you will get no emotional satisfaction from when it’s done right. But if it’s done incorrectly, your office will shut down, costing you untold levels of stress and lost production.

Can you imagine what would happen to your schedule if all the floors had to be jackhammerd this week?

It can and has happened so let’s make sure we plan this out properly and avoid you having to pay dearly for floors. The cost to lay the pipes in the floor for the specific needs of a dental office is pricey but there are ways to plan and keep the cost as low as possible.

The Floor and Your Office Location dental plumbingI’m about to guide you to know how to save up to $20,000 in your new location.  Dental plumbing has never gotten more interesting!

Are you ready?

If all other things are equal, choose the dental office location with a basement. There are some serious reasons why your location choice will impact your finances and plumbing with a basement is one of them.

Plumbing is already the most expensive part of a dental construction project but the style of your building will dictate how much more expensive this will become, based on 3 general scenarios.

These are the 3 scenarios if your dental plumbing goes beneath the floor of your operatory space:

1)      Into a basement.

2)      Into the foundation of the building.

3)      Into the concrete floor of the multi-level commercial building (like an office building).

The basement option is the least expensive so factor this into your site selection process. If you find a building with a basement, you can save yourself a lot of money in the dental office construction cost because the dental plumbing bill will be thousands of dollars lower.

See, if a plumber can slip a pipe down through a wood subfloor, into the basement and then start fitting pipes while working, the cost is low. The skill level is reduced, the time to complete is faster and the cost to you is lower.

Basements are good for dental plumbing and good for your budget! But many areas of the country don’t have basements and many ideal locations (like multi-floor office buildings) don’t have the inexpensive basement option either. So what are the dental plumbing options for those who don’t have basements?

The foundation of a building is the second scenario.

Here, a trench needs to be dug through the existing foundation of the building to make room for the plumbing to lie below the operatory floor.

Of the 3 options for dental plumbing, this one will cost you the most. The reality is that most commercial retail spaces only have this single option. The process involves “trenching” the slab of the foundation and there isn’t any way around it. But you can try to remember this as you are considering possible locations for your new office.

 dental plumbing


This dentist’s office has a concrete floor and a trench was dug in the concrete to place pipe in the proper places. This is the most expensive plumbing scenario but very common.

Core Drilling. This is the third scenario for your floors. Core Drilling a concrete floor between two stories of building is the mid-priced option for dental plumbing.

The majority of dentists in high-rise buildings or other modern office buildings will be faced with this as their only option. The process involved cutting a hole in the concrete floor, exposing the void of space between the floor of your office and the ceiling of the tenant below.

Once the hole is opened, the plumber can run the pipes from one location to the other.

Dental plumbing done this way is less expensive than trenching a foundation but it’s still expensive.

One cost most dentists don’t consider is the likelihood that you’ll have to have the plumbers come in after hours. Why? Core drilling is LOUD! If there are other tenants in the building, you probably won’t be allowed to do it during normal working hours. Be sure to abide by this so you don’t break your lease or your friendship with your office-


dental plumbing

(Core Drilling to Make Path For Plumbing to go to the Empty Space between the 5th And 6th floor of a commercial)    



Those are the 3 options you have for plumbing in your new dental office.

So because it’s such an expensive process, regardless of the style you’re left to work with, make sure you have a team who can plan it and install it correctly.

If the plumber you have on your job site hasn’t done at least 10 dental office projects, get a new plumber NOW!

The wrong size air, water, or nitrous lines can shut down a practice. But you shouldn’t bear the brunt of knowing the details on dental plumbing line maximum lengths, diameters and fittings.

You should bear the responsibility of choosing a plumber and contractor team who has the right experience. We have a vetting process we take clients through to make sure the contractor needs that the doctor has match up with the contractor’s skills.

Your dental project needs and contractor’s skills must be aligned or you could be digging up concrete floors. Save the headache of a horribly expensive and stressful dental plumbing project. Choose the right contractor team, choose the right plumbing team who has the experience for your specific project and choose the right location, knowing all the costs of that building.

We’re happy to help in any way we can. Let us know what we can do to help you through this process!

By Jayme

PS:  Budget Killing Dental Office Construction Cost #4 talks about the ADA….the OTHER ADA.  See you in about a week.



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