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Unread 12-05-2004, 01:33 PM   #1
JRM
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Question John's bathroom adventure

On advice from "Lonnytheplumber" that I read in another thread I decided to dig out and replace my cast iron p-trap with plastic. Now that I've dug it out, I'm not sure it can be easily replaced (see picture). Two questions:

1. There's only about 1.25 inches of straight pipe from the hub to where the p-trap starts to curve; if I cut it off here is that enough to attach a Fernco connector?

2. What is the usual lifespan of a cast iron p-trap? This one's about 38 years old, assuming it's never been replaced.

Thanks,
John
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Unread 12-05-2004, 02:17 PM   #2
bbcamp
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Fernco also makes "donuts" to adapt PVC to the bell of cast iron pipe. You'd have to carefully work the trap out of the pipe, clean up the hub, then insert the donut in the hub, followed by the PVC pipe. A little soap will lubricate the donut to make it a bit easier to install.

I'd give cast iron at least 50 years. But since you probably don't want to rip up your new shower in 12 years, go ahead and replace the trap.
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Unread 12-05-2004, 09:56 PM   #3
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Hi John,

The donut thingy that BB mentioned is called a "service weight gasket" (SWG). You can break out the old cast iron fitting by shattering it with heavy blows from two hammers simultaneously striking opposite sides of the pipe, and then digging out the lead and oakum. This activity may loosen the leaded joint of the next fitting downstream, and if so use a cold chisel to repack the lead and firm up the joint.

We find it easiest to fit the piece of PVC into the SWG by beveling the end of the pipe with a belt sander and lubing the pipe with pipe joint compound. As BB said, a bit of soap works , as well. Use a block of wood and a hammer at the end of the piece of pipe and tap it into the SWG. If all goes well, this joint will be extremely tight and you can install your new trap.
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Unread 12-05-2004, 11:15 PM   #4
LonnythePlumber
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Replace Trap

In my area we are getting from 30 to 50 years on a buried cast iron trap. Cast Iron buried in sand seems to rot out sooner than that in dirt and certainly doesn't last as long as that above ground.
It looks like a street 45 going into another hub. If that other hub is a stack fitting then I think you need to be tender because in plumbing it can always get worse. Meaning you could move or break the tee if it's already weak. I would be hesitant to use the normal hammers idea and would install a stainless steel band around the hub that may remain.
There is also extra heavy cast iron that takes a different sized Ty-Seal (donut) gasket. Removing the piping by wiggling and the possible force necessary in reinstalling the trap with a ty seal gasket would have me cut the pipe and use a no hub clamp.
I would cut behind the hub on the stack fitting or behind the hub of the 45. Dig out debri in the remainder of the fitting and install new piping with a no hub clamp. Support the trap while cutting ,so that it's weight won't break your pipe in the wrong place. I would use a side grinder and also grind off any cast seams and lettering.
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Unread 12-06-2004, 07:35 AM   #5
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Thanks for some great replies.

I picked up a Fernco no-hub connector (I think it's a no-hub, it's a rubber, or neoprene, sleeve with a stainless steel band and two hose clamps attached) sized to fit 2" CI to 2" plastic. Now that I've seen this, it is readily apparent that it it only requires about an inch and a quater of pipe to fit.

As you've observed, the p-trap is attached to a street 45 and then there's another hub. That hub is a Y that comes from the bath drain in the other bathroom and they both go to the stack which is about a foot away.

My plan right now is not to mess with any hubs or take any risks. I'm going to use a cutoff wheel to cut the p-trap at the end of the horizontal section, right before it turns down. Then I'm going to grind/wire brush everything smooth and clean. After that I can attach the Fernco and the new trap.

Now I just need to find a 2" PVC trap. HD only has ABS in two inch and my new Schluter drain is PVC.

Any sealer recommended for the Fernco sleeve?

Thanks a lot,
John
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Unread 12-06-2004, 08:55 AM   #6
LonnythePlumber
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Doing Good

Good Plan. It's wise to stay away from the 2" Wye. You should look in the pipe after you cut it off. There may be heavy hard buildup on the inside of the pipe with only a 1" hole for the drain. You may want to close your eyes when you look because it could mean more work but it's better to know now.
There are two kinds of clamps. The solid stainless steel body like you purchased is what we refer to as the No-Hub. A Fernco is a thicker longer rubber with only a band on each end. The No-Hub is better for your situation.
No sealant is necessary for either clamp. It's better to get a solvent weld (Glue) P trap than one with a nut in it.
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Unread 12-06-2004, 01:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LonnythePlumber
It's better to get a solvent weld (Glue) P trap than one with a nut in it.
Lonny, can you explain the reasoning? I would have thought the other way around would be better and more servicable. I'm hoping it isn't a big deal because I installed one with a nut.

Thanks,

Todd
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Unread 12-06-2004, 03:42 PM   #8
LonnythePlumber
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Come lose

The expansion and contraction from water temperature changes tends to allow the nut to losen. If you apply a liberal amount of teflon pipe dope that will help keep the nut at the same place on the threads.
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Unread 01-02-2005, 12:55 AM   #9
JRM
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Thanks... and more plumbing questions

Okay, thanks to your advice I got the shower drain done, ended up busting out the concrete around the tub drain (no fun), digging under the concrete and stud wall between the two bathrooms and replacing both p-traps and the tub drain as well. I had noticed one day, working in the the back bathroom, that the tub drain, in the front bathroom, was leaking while the kids were playing in there. I also observed that the tub drain was cheap metal and concrete was poured right around it, this had caused the slip joint nuts to corrode almost all the way through. So now we have all new shower and tub drain plumbing almost all the way to the stack. Got the supply lines run and valves in and supply lines run for an outdoor shower too.

Now the questions:

1. I'm doing the lav drain now and have cut off the cast iron about 10 inches above the floor. This is probably the best opportunity I will ever have to clean out this drain since I can look straight down into it. It's not directly below the vent stack so cleaning it after the rest of the plumbing's attached and the wall's closed will be more convoluted. Any suggestions for cleaning it? Mechanical or chemical? I looked at H.D. and didn't see anything that looked like a special chimney brush for 2" cast iron.

2. I'm replacing the draing from the lav in the front bath at the same time, that one ran slightly uphill about four feet, inside the vanity, and then entered the wall and turned ninety degrees. I cut it at the ninety and (again) it was almost completely blocked. I plan on replacing the 90 with a couple of 45s and running 2" as far as possible before transitioning to 1.5", but is there any regular maintenance I should be doing to prevent this type of blockage in the future? Enzymes?

3. ABS or PVC? I'm planning on using PVC piping for this drain system, mostly because I already have PVC pipe and glue, but I'm curioius about the differences. I notice that H.D. only carries ABS drain fittings above 1.5" (Lowes has both I think). Is one any better than the other? For any particular conditions?

Thanks,
John
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Unread 01-02-2005, 01:11 AM   #10
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Here in the east (NJ) HD (and most places) only have PVC while Lowe's carries both. Think it's a regional thing. Either should work with the right cement. There is also a cement that will join ABS to PVC but I don't know if there are any disadvantages to doing this.

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Unread 01-02-2005, 04:50 PM   #11
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Cool Great Pix John

Thank you so much for those pictures John . It's good for others to see the build up that occurs inside of galvanized drainage pipes. Often people think because it looks good on the outside its good inside. Untrue. Both cast iron and galvanized build up inside and only at the end does it effect the outside appearance. It's good that you replaced your tub waste also. All of your galvanized drainage piping will have to be replaced at some point .
l. PVC and ABS. There is no advantage between the two plastics for drainage. Some prefer the ABS because it's black and only uses one cement, others prefer PVC because it's a harder pipe. You must use a primer, not a cleaner with PVC. I do not see purple on your pipes. If you did not use a clear primer or any primer at all, you should take the pipes apart and redo them. I know you don't want to hear that.
Primer activates the atoms so that the cement mixes in with the atoms and gives the solid seal. The cement only coats on the surfaces without the penetration that is allowed by the primer. Jeff mentions an ABS to PVC connection that I do not think you are addressing. However only one combination cement is recognized and it can only be used on one connection outside the house, underground where the house drain meets the house sewer.
2. Drain Cleaning. Only a mechanical drain cleaning with a powered sink machine and proper head will clear a drain. Chemicals must work sometime because they sell so much, however I get there when the chemicals haven't worked. They will partially open a line but a metal head is needed to open the line to the insides of the pipe. Also, chemicals have to be recleaned out of the water before the next family down the line has to drink the same water after their facilities retreat it for them.
If these drain lines are galvanized I'd think hard before trying to clear them or use chemicals. The rust could be the only thing keeping the pipes from leaking. Hopefully you have cast iron. I would install your lavatory sanitary tee and clear from above it. This would allow running water into the sanitary tee while coming in with a machine from the top. You can rent these machines but be careful. They will break your finger and good drain cleaning requires experience. It may be best to put your drainage and vent system back together and let a company clear the line from your roof.
I'm not aware of a drain maintenace for inside the structure although there may be. It's beyond my experience. We do have substances that are used for the house sewers outside the structure.
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Unread 01-02-2005, 07:24 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies!

Lonnie, did you know that purple primer fades if it sits in your cupboard long enough? I'm guessing you've probably never had a bottle last that long. Anyway, my purple primer is now clear, but it's there, I promise. I couldn't find anything about it losing it's effectiveness over time, so I tried it. I could feel the effect on the pipe like normal, kind of changes it from a gloss to a matte finish and feels like it has a little "tooth" to it, and the joints seem to be really good welds, so I figured I was okay. (I know the stuff's cheap, but I'm always working in short time frames, often late at night) Please let me know if you know anything about the primer going bad.

I don't have any ABS to PVC joints, nor do I have any planned. I read somewhere else on this board about someone who was forced, by an inspector, to cut through one and found voids in the weld.

The only piece of galvanized left in the system is a 3 ft horizontal, almost, section leading to the vent stack (this is why the lav drain will be hard to clean from the roof), the galvanized I removed was joined to the cast iron with a no hub. When I'm done it will all be cast iron or PVC. The lav drain going down through the conrete is cast iron and is about 8 inches tall. I cut off two inches to clean up the end, at the cut it's at least 1/8 inch thick of good solid cast iron.

My thinking on the drain, was that if I could just push something down the open cast iron pipe right now to scrape out the soft and loose stuff, then I'd be ahead when I put it back together again. It's really pretty open right now, especially compared to that galvanized elbow. I'm with you on keeping chemicals out of the water supply, but how do I prevent this kind of build up? Or do we just call a plumber every so often?

Thanks again,
John

P.S. I got NOTHING done on the bathroom today, spent the day putting a rollbar in the Miata. then Guess we'll survive another day without a bathroom sink. Too many projects going at once!
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Unread 01-02-2005, 08:19 PM   #13
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Cool Primer Seperates

I do know that primer separates but I didn't know it stayed good. From your description it does sound like the pipe and fittings softened which means it was working. We don't get build up in plastic pipes. I don't know of anything that keeps cast iron from deteriorating. There are products that eat on roots but I don't know about preventing the cast from dissolving.
That's again for the photos on the galvanized.
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Unread 01-02-2005, 09:16 PM   #14
JRM
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Galvanized crud pics (ughh)

Glad you liked the pics of the crud in the galvanized. I hesitated to post them; I was afraid I might trigger some rapid inadvertant regurgitation and dirty up some keyboards. Not everyone has the stomach of a plumber you know.

John
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Unread 03-06-2005, 02:51 PM   #15
JRM
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Tile spacing. No nubs...but ledges? And can we rename this thread?

First: to the Moderator, would it be possible to rename this thread to something more representative of a complete bathroom project? Maybe "My bathroom education"? or "John's bathroom initiation"?

Okay, now to the questions:

1. I finally got the tile. Gave up on all the tile stores that are closed whenever I'm not at work and ordered the tile from HD. I ordered 3x6 white glazed Dal Tile for the field. Someone had told me that they have the spacing nubs for the grout line, but now that I've got them, I see that they don't. Each tile does however have a 1/32" ridge all the way around, about 1/8" back from the front surface. Is this for spacing just like the nubs would be? Do I just butt these ridges together and then grout the remaining space in front of them? (I hope so )

2. We found a Dal listello that we want to use for a couple of borders in the bathroom, but when I ordered the rest of the tile I was stunned when they told me that the listello tiles cost $7.22 each! I was so stunned that I didn't order any at the time. I've gotten over the intitial shock and I'm ready to go back and order it, but I thought I'd check and see if this is normal and if there isn't some way to get it cheaper than that. Any suggestions? The listello is the Gloss White Deco Geo (PL02) from Dal Tile's Polaris series.

Thanks,
John
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