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Unread 01-02-2023, 07:58 PM   #1
HooKooDoo Ku
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Shower from the 60's

Everything was done wrong
Questions begin in 2nd post.

I started demo today on a shower that, based on the standards I've learned here, was pretty much done 100% wrong (surprise... it leaked).

The Waterproof layer seemed to be a layer of paper, tar paper, and plastic (like 2mil plastic). This water proof layer was directly on the floor boards, and therefore level (no pre-slope).

If the drain had weep holes, they were never protected, and the sides of the drain such that if there ever were weep holes, don't thing they ever worked. The net result is the drain is about 1-1/2" above the water proof layer.

From there, there was 1" to 1-1/2" layer of some sort of cement mixture (perhaps just dry pack given how easy it could be scrapped off the tile) that the tile was applied to.

Only reason the shower lasted this long is the fact it hasn't been used in 20 years until now. Because it sits above a crawl space, first indication there was a problem was when the floor started feeling mushy.
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Unread 01-02-2023, 08:03 PM   #2
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Drain Demo
My first question is how to demolish the existing drain so I can replace it with a new clamped drain.

The pipe appears to be metal black drain pipe original to the house I would guess was built in the early 60's (much of the electrical is two wire, no ground if that helps anyone date it).

My plan is to keep the existing boards under the drain. I've already removed all the rotten wood. The 1st board has the start of some issues, like along the face that was touching the last rotted board that had to be removed. I'll add a 2x4 cross beam to help support this board along with a another that will be able to support some new plywood for the floor.
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Unread 01-02-2023, 09:46 PM   #3
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Only houses in which I've seen steel pipe drains were substantially older than the 60s, Joseph. But that means nothing at all in answering your question.

First, have you looked under the floor to determine that there is a P-trap? If so, I'd certainly be looking to replace that along with the drain, given the appearance of the drain. How to remove it? Sawzall if it's steel pipe, a specialty cutter if it's cast iron. And I'd be inclined to replace as much of the horizontal run as possible with PVC (or ABS if that's used in your area). I'd be paying close attention to the vent for that drain run, also.

Not at all sure what advantage you see in keeping the board floor in that area if you plan to use plywood adjacent to it, but you didn't axe about that, now did you?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-03-2023, 10:10 AM   #4
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I am unsure of the age of the house.

I was guessing early 60's based on the style of the tile compared to the house I grew up in that I know was constructed in 1966.

But a quick research on the history of NM Electrical Cable, the house may have been constructed in the early 40s as the existing cable is only two wire cable.

But then the owner (MIL) doesn't think the existing bathroom was original to the house (but she has only been in the house since the 90s).
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Unread 01-03-2023, 10:23 AM   #5
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Drain Pipe

Based on my visual memory...

The drain pipe is the same black drain pipe that I recall from the house I grew up in constructed in 1966. What kind of pipe is that likely to be (I've always assumed cast iron).

The drain has a P-Trap that is something like 3' below the top of the drain.

I'll have to have another look to see how the toilet, sink, and shower drains connect and if there even is a vent.
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Unread 01-03-2023, 10:32 AM   #6
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Trying this on the "cheap"

This house belongs to my elderly MIL and is in need of many over-all repairs. For example, the hot water services the whole house with only 1/2" copper lines, and there must be some corrosion in the lines because the hot water doesn't flow every well even to just the kitchen in the adjoining room... much less other rooms in the house.

Based on what I researched on two-wire NM cable, I think the electrical service in this house was designed to only last 20 years.

There are various other things this house "needs" that my elderly MIL can not afford to do. I expect that once she passes, we (or the next owner or a flipper) are going to need to make several major repairs.

I say all that to say I'm trying to do this "repair" on the cheap.
Think of this house as a duplex, so there are two master suits. The one being repaired is being used by my son as a "dorm room" while he is in collage, so we don't need something that's going to last the next 20 years.

As such, I'm seriously considering only replacing the pan knowing we can't tie into what ever water proof there is for the walls.

Can't say for sure what the wall construction is like, but if it's the same as what I'm finding in the 4" inches of the floor pan, it seems to be a wire mesh (plastic behind it) with about 1" of cement til you get to the tiles.
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Unread 01-03-2023, 06:46 PM   #7
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When changing out a pan liner, we usually we would tear out the cove base plus two rows and run the liner up near that height and drape it over the curb.

Like CX, I would remove those other 1x6 boards and cover the whole floor in plywood. I like having the drain nubs resting on the plywood. That leaves about 3/4 inch of mud at the drain for the preslope.
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Unread 01-04-2023, 10:06 PM   #8
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Likely won't get back to the house til Saturday.

Floor
I'll have to check and see if I have enough plywood to replace the whole floor... I can appreciate the idea of having a floor of one solid piece of wood... that way I don't have to worry about matching heights. I have enough wood to add

Drain
Starting to sound like I'm going to have to cut something? As opposed to being able to remove the "top" and insert a new piece?
I've got experience with working with modern PVC drains, never worked on something quite this old.
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Unread 01-05-2023, 05:49 AM   #9
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While a snap cutter is great, to just cut one pipe if you have a sawzall the Diablo carbide blades do a pretty good job on cast iron. I just did the main stack in my house (snap cutter was not available locally) and was able to make a couple of cuts per blade with little effort.
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Unread 01-05-2023, 09:46 PM   #10
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I do have a sawzall... I'll have to remember to take it along this weekend. Thanks for the tip.
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Unread 01-07-2023, 08:05 PM   #11
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Managed to do a little more DEMO today and get a closer look at the drain.

FLOOR
I've decided to go with the advice of replacing the whole floor.
But it looks like I'll have to make that floor from two (or more) sheets of plywood. I've (so far) decided to not DEMO the tile walls above the pan. But with walls are about 1-1/2" to 2" thick (from face of the studs to the face of the tile). So there's no way to get a single sheet of wood onto the 34"x34" floor space thru the 32"x32" shower.
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Here's a picture of a part of the cement (during DEMO) to help show how the walls were constructed. It basically looks like:
1. Stud/wall
2. Plastic
2a. Felt for the shower pan
3. Thin layer of cement
4. Screen
5. 1" layer of cement
6. Tile

DRAIN SYSTEM
Since the vent was questioned, here's an overall picture of the drains for the bathroom. I'll assume the sink drain ties into the vent above the toilet/shower drains.
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Since the website resize logic made the labels hard to read:
Arrow Pointing Right -> : Vent Stack
Arrow Pointing Up ^ : Shower Drain
Arrow Pointing Left <- : Toilet Drain runs along this wall and joins at the vent stack with a 4-way intersection (vent, toilet, shower, drain).
Arrow Pointing Down v : Main Drain

SHOWER DRAIN
It looks like the shower drain might be easier to deal with than I expected. Here's a close-up of what is under the shower.
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From the vent back to the trap is black pipe. Then there is a silver (steel?) vertical pipe to the shower. Trying to eye-ball the diameter of the pipe with a tape measure, it looks to be 2-1/2" o.d. So if I can find a wrench big enough, it looks like I can just unscrew and remove/replace the vertical pipe, and clean out the trap if needed.
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Unread 01-07-2023, 09:20 PM   #12
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What Is My Drain Size?
As I mentioned in the previous post, trying to eyeball the diameter of the drain pipe with my eye about a foot in front and my tape measure about a foot behind, the silver drain pipe seems to have an o.d. of 2-1/2”. So I go to the Lowes website to start looking for parts. But it seems like all I can find in the ABS DWV pipe fittings are 2” and 1-1/2” male x hub fittings. Given that the basic clamping drain fits over a 2” pipe or inside a 3” pipe, does that likely mean I actually have a 2” female threaded black pipe? If so, the replacement is strait forward… 2” male x hub to 2” ABS pipe, cut to length, to clamping drain. Otherwise it sounds like I’ve got to find some crazy adapters to go from a 2-1/2 black pipe to 2” clamping drain.
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Unread 01-07-2023, 09:43 PM   #13
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I dunno what you've got there, Joseph. It appears you have a cast iron trap with female threads, which thing I've never seen. Either that or your threaded riser pipe is otherwise (lead perhaps) secured into the trap. It also appears that you have galvanized drain pipe coming out the other end of the trap. And the whole horizontal run in your overall photo appears to be galvanized as well. Pretty unusual set-up in my experience, but maybe common in your area.

If your shower drain riser is 2" IP (iron pipe), I would expect it to measure about 2 3/8ths" OD. As for determining what to do with it, I'd say your first step might be to see if you can unthread that riser from the trap. If you intend to keep the rest of that drain system intact, I think the easiest fix would be to cut that riser pipe about three inches above the trap and use a "Fernco" fitting to attach a section of 2" ABS, which I think is what you're suggesting. At my house, cutting that iron pipe would be a lot easier if it were removed, but you could also cut it in situ if need be.

We on similar pages here?

While all that plumbing looks pretty good on the outside, I'd still be inclined to see if it's equally feasible to change to ABS as close as possible to the drain/vent stack.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-07-2023, 10:33 PM   #14
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Did some googling and can find almost nothing regarding male ABS threaded to iron pipe female threaded connections. Combine that with your (CX) advice and it sounds like the trap doesn’t really have female threads… makes me seriously think it’s just a smooth wall cast iron pipe with a threaded galvanized pipe and pipe dope forced into it.

Given that I don’t have a pipe (or similar) wrench to easily fit around a 2-1/2” pipe, cutting the riser and using a Fernco coupler is sounding like a good option.

Given what I know about PVC pipe (I installed my own irrigation system many years ago) and how 1” PVC pipe has no dimensions that are actually 1”, it makes sense that 2” drain pipe would have an o.d. of about 2-1/2”.


Thanks for the advice.
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Unread 01-08-2023, 10:13 PM   #15
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Finally... something was easy today... cutting that 2" steel pipe riser. A standard Sawzall blade made pretty quick work of the pipe. What I was surprised to learn is that Lowes and Home Depot no longer carry ABS DWV pipe and fittings (they are special order only). So I'll have to use Sch40 PVC to from the steel pipe "stub" to the drain.

What seemed to take forever was cutting out the rest of the reaming floor making flush cuts with a Dremal Saw-Max.

CURB
So here's the existing curb with tile still on top of the curb. The view is from inside the shower looking out, starting from the floor joist.
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The tape measure is sitting on the floor joist, and the tape measure case is 3".
So from floor joist to the top of the existing tile is about 8-1/2".
The old construction was something like:
1. floor joist
2. 1x4 wooden planking
3. tar paper
4. plastic
5. 1-1/2" of cement
6. thinset
7. tile
This exact construction was followed up and over the curb... and nails were driven thru the tar paper and plastic going up the curb.
The whole construction was like... yeah water, try to penetrate 1-1/2" of cement.

Because of the way the tile on the curb melds with the rest of the tile in the bathroom, I'm looking for a way to avoid tearing that tile out.

But it seems the only way I can do that is to effectively rebuild the new shower pan the way the old one was. No preslope and install the PVC liner directly to the plywood floor. After carefully removing the cement under the tile above the curb, run the liner up and across the curb and back fill cement.

Here's a cross section (drain omitted) of how I'd basically have to rebuild the new pan to match the old construction (keeping in mind all the 'old' and 'new' cement would be 1" to 1-1/2" thick).
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