An outdoor tap makes it easy to wash up, water the garden, fill a jacuzzi or pool, and even set up a bar in your garden.
Fitting a hot or cold water tap can be extremely convenient. Depending on what you want to do with it, fitting a tap is often relatively inexpensive, making it a great call for anyone who spends a lot of time in the garden.
The average cost of fitting an outside tap is just £150. That will increase if you want a hot water tap as well – but usually to about £200. And, if you want to fit your outside tap into a shed rather than to the outside wall of your home, costs will increase a great deal.
Why Install A Tap Outside?
An outside tap runs a direct line of water from the mains or your boiler to your garden. The idea is that you pick a convenient point to run the tap, and simply extend the line out of your home. This allows you to access full-pressure water in your garden – usually from a line with a hose connection.
An outside water supply is mostly about convenience. It means it will be easier to clean your garden, water plants, bathe your pets, wash any vehicles that fit in your garden, fill pools or jacuzzi, and set up water-pressured tools like taps and pressure cleaners. Using a direct tap means you won’t have to run a hose through the house. It also means you’ll benefit from direct water pressure.
If you cook in the garden a lot or frequently clean in a way that requires hot water, you may also want a hot water tap. However, that’s likely unnecessary, as most needs are more than met by an external hot water tap.
Installing A Tap Outside Cost Breakdown*
Fitting a tap outdoors normally works out to somewhere between £150-£200. However, that cost can also vary depending on where you’re at, how far you want to run the tap, etc.
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*Please note these prices are based on quotes at the time of writing in April 2023. Actual prices are subject to change and may be different at the time of reading.
Exterior Tap Fitting Pricing Factors
In most cases, the two largest cost factors in fitting an exterior tap will be the cost of labor and the cost of materials. Here, you can normally expect both to be relatively fixed. However, if your tap project has complications, you can expect to spend a lot more.
Most plumbers charge between £40 and £60 an hour for an average of £50. In most cases, you can also expect a callout fee of £100. The call-out fee covers the visit and the travel there and back as well as the first hour of work. Because most tap installation projects take 1-2 hours, you can expect the cost to be anywhere from £100- £150 on average.
However, some plumbers won’t have a callout fee. This could save you as much as £50 on a 2-hour job.
In addition, if you have a complex project, you can expect to spend more time. For example:
- Trenching isolation +4-6 hours
- Hot water tap + 1-2 hours
You’ll also have to consider the proximity of your closest mains line to the garden. For example, if you have a standard house setup with the kitchen right in front of the garden, you’ll likely be able to get away with running a hole through the wall and fitting a tap directly. You won’t have to do much more than make sure the pipe gets from the mains to the wall.
On the other hand, if your nearest indoor water source is on the other end of the house, you could be looking at quite a bit of labor to run a water mains line outside.
Cost of Materials
Materials costs can be quite high or quite low depending on whether you do the work yourself or not. For example, if you’re hiring a professional, they’ll come with all of the small extras they need to properly fit a tap. Those include:
- A hammer drill to get through the outer wall – £120+ (or £30+ per day to rent)
- Pipe – £5-£35
- Isolating materials – £5-£15
- Fixtures – £5-£15
- Teflon tape – £2
- Copper pipe – £5-£20
- Solder – £5-£12
- Junctions/fittings – £6-£20
- Pipe cement – £6-£12
If you hire a professional to do the work, you’ll pay the base cost of materials, usually between £20 and £100 depending on fixtures and pipes. If you do it yourself, you’ll have to either own or buy/rent all of those individual items.
Distance Between the House and the Tap
The longer the distance between your house and the tap, the more you’ll pay for the installation. Here, the largest factor is likely going to be whether you have to dig a trench or ditch between the house and your shed. If so, you can add a significant amount of time and cost to the project.
However, there’s no easy way to say what that will cost, as digging a trench for a pipe can take different amounts of time depending on soil, whether you have tile, and whether you do the work yourself or not.
Plumber Hiring Checklist
Hiring a good plumber can be cheaper than doing plumbing work yourself, especially if they come with all of the tools you need and you don’t have them. However, it’s important that you choose a good plumber to ensure that the work is done well.
If you’re hiring a plumbing technician, it’s important that you know they are qualified and well-reviewed.
- Are they an Approved Plumber?
- Do they have plumbing qualifications such as City/Guild, BPEC, EAL, FETAC, LCL, or SQA?
- Are they a Registered Competent Person?
- What is their hourly rate? What is their call-out fee?
- How many hours are they quoting you for the job?
- What does the quote include?
- Do they have liability insurance?
- What about a workmanship guarantee?
- Can they complete the project within your timelines?
- Do they have good reviews?
In most cases, you should be able to share specs for the job, get a quote, and compare quotes from multiple plumbers. You should also expect a good plumber to be available in 2 days to 6 weeks from the time of quote, depending on how busy they are at that time of the year.
Can I Fit The Tap Myself?
It’s perfectly legal to do plumbing work yourself in the UK. However, you will have to meet regulations for the project. But, the closer the tap is to the water mains, the easier it is to do the work yourself.
You’ll also have to do some research to figure out what you’ll need to do an installation yourself. For example, piping has to be isolated and insulated. You also need backflow prevention, to ensure that water from your garden line doesn’t flow back into the mains.
In addition, you’ll need a shutoff valve to keep water out of the tap during the winter months when you aren’t using the garden.
Can The Council Install My Tap?
The city council never does installations. However, you also shouldn’t have to notify the council of the work being done. If you’re living in a rental, you will have to notify and get permission from the landlord.
In addition, if you live in a council house, you’re likely to have to ask permission from the council. They may also stipulate that you have to hire a professional to do the work. However, it is highly unlikely that they will hire the plumber or handle any of the work for you.
For example, most council houses require that you get written permission for altering gas, water, or electric services. In most cases, written permission will stipulate that you have the work performed by a person registered with the Competent Persons scheme.
Garden Tap Regulations
There are several national garden tap regulations you’ll have to keep in mind when installing a tap. However, they will change a bit depending on the region. In most cases, it’s a best practice to ask your plumber or to check with the city council.
- All taps must have a backflow prevention check valve. Any outdoor tap rated with BSi should have this.
- External pipes must be isolated to prevent freezing. This means insulated to a point to prevent freezing in your region or buried below the frost line in your region.
- The pipework and tap must be earthed to ensure they are electrically safe.
- You must have a shutoff valve in place to drain water from the outside line in the winter – to prevent it from freezing and sitting over winter.
Otherwise, there are no regulations. You should be careful to double check your local council requirements. Nationally, in England in Wales, you don’t need planning permission unless you’re replacing the cold or hot water supply of the bathroom or kitchen area. Because most outdoor tap installations are significantly lighter than that, you should be able to proceed with no permissions or notices.
Steps: Installing An Outside Tap
If you’re planning on fitting an outside tap on your own, it’s a relatively straightforward process. That’s especially true if your kitchen is in the back of the house and the sink is against the back wall. This setup is ideal and is also very common – so it’s quite likely.
- Find the Closest Mains – Locate the main water supply nearest to the back wall of your house. Normally this is in a kitchen, but it may also be a bathroom. Figure out where you can connect to it in a way that makes the most sense, based on the direction you want the pipe to go. You’ll also need this information for choosing a fitting angle for the connection.
- Trace the Pipe Path – Trace the path of the pipe from the mains to where you want the tap to be. Best-case scenario this is straight through a wall. Worst-case scenario, it’s from the front of your house to the back. Measure it.
- Calculate Materials Needed – Consider how much pipe you need, where you need angles, what those angles should be, and the fittings required to get where your exterior tap should be. Piping should be run indoors wherever possible to limit exposure to freezing and breakage.
- Purchase Supplies – Purchase supplies you need for the job. This may include a hammer drill and bitset to get through the wall. In this case, you may be better off renting a drill. You’ll need a hole for a 22mm pipe for a cold water tap and a hole for a 32mm tap for a hot and cold supply.
- Isolating materials or pre-insulated pipe
- The tap
- Teflon tape
- Copper pipe for the connection to the mains IF the existing connections are copper. If so, you’ll also need a solder or self-soldering pipe and a heat source.
- Junctions/fittings matching the corners you have to create
- Pipe cement
- Hacksaw/pipe cutters
If you forget something, you can always go back to the store to get it. However, it’s much more convenient to have everything at once.
- Dig Any Required Trenches – If you’re burying your pipe outdoors, trenches should be a minimum of 750 mm and a maximum of 1,350 mm. Normally you should decide based on local frost levels. However, going for 1,000 mm is a safe call in most of the UK. Did these and pile the dirt on either side.
- Remove Wall/Flooring and Drill Required Holes – If you have to remove paneling or flooring in the home to run pipe through the wall, do so. Then, drill any holes in the wall studs and reinforce them as necessary.
- Drill Through the Exterior Wall – Drill through the exterior wall to where you want the water line to come out. If you’re installing the tap on the back wall of the house, that should be at about waist height from the outside. If you’re running it underground for some time and installing the tap on a shed, it should be as low to the ground as possible. Drill from the inside to the outside.
- Turn Off Your Water Mains – Find the stopcock for your water mains and turn it off. This is normally located under the sink, next to the water meter, or in some cases, in the front of the house by the meter there.
- Lay Pipe Out and Cut It to Size – Lay pipe out along the path to the outside and cut it to size. Use pipe cutters or a hacksaw. Then, use a gloved hand to rub off any fragments or plastic. Check that the pipe fits and is the right size before gluing anything.
- Fit Pipe – Glue everything together. Install a Tee or an angled Tee directly to the water mains, then add your stop valve. Run any pipe from that. This allows you to fully shut off water to the hose from the mains – so you can avoid damage in the winter.
- Fit the Tap – Fit the tap from the outside of the home.
- Test for Leaks – Turn the cold water mains back on and turn on your new tap.
- Cover Everything – Seal around the tap, replace any floorboards or drywall, and fill in any trenches. It’s important to ensure that the hole around the tap is fully sealed, otherwise it will turn into a draft, and it will freeze in the winter.
Best-case scenario, you’ll be able to get away with a minimum of removing flooring and drywall. However, the only time that will happen is if you can tap directly into a mains line under the sink and drill the hole from the back of the cabinet. Otherwise, you’ll always want to hide the new pipes inside the wall or ceiling. For example, if you have a primary water source on the kitchen island, you’ll want to run the pipes under the floor.
Installing a garden tap will normally cost about £200 – although it could cost £300 or more depending on your home and the contractor you hire. If you do the work yourself, costs largely depend on what kind of tools you have to hand. In addition, the cost of fitting an external tap will always depend on how far away from your home you want to install it. Best-case scenario, the full job will take about an hour. Worst-case scenario, it will take over 4 – including digging a trench to the shed.
If you want a contractor to fit your external tap, it’s always best to compare quotes. Use the form at the top of the page to request plumbing quotes in your area.