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Old 12-24-2011, 07:22 PM   #1
showergrout
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Need Help. Shower Drain clogged by grout.

We just had our bathroom and shower professionally remodelled and retiled.
Before this the shower was working fine.
3 days after, when it was safe to use, one of the family members used the shower and noticed that none of the water was draining.

We called the "pros" who said to pour strong drain declogger for 30-60 mins and then run hot water.
Well, this did not work even after letting the liquid sit for 24 hours.
When we called them back they were defensive saying that they covered the hole when working and it must have been clogged from before.

However, I opened the cover afterward and poked a screw driver gently in.
It very clearly felt like there was cement, sand-like gravel pieces a few inches into the pipe.
We have not called them back since but its clear that its not blocked by hair or dirt but grout from the tiling work.

I need help: what can we do to remove the grout and the clog? We're trying to sell the house and really don't want this to be a serious problem but its starting to become worrying.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:55 PM   #2
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You'll fare better by using a vacuum to get the chunks out. You don't want to push them further down the pipe to get clogged someplace else.

Try breaking up the clog with a metal snake, a flat piece of spring metal (such as an electricians fish tape) This will help break up the clog. Then use CLR which will help to dissolve the ceement. It may take repeated applications.

If all else fails, then the tile guys are paying your plumber to replace the trap, and paying your drywall guy to fix the ceiling below and the painter to re-paint the ceiling.

Since replacing the trap involves a huge PITA for you, its easier to get a gallon or two of CLR first. Then curse the tile guys
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:15 PM   #3
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Fatima, I would call the tile guys one more time to tell them your drain is clogged with cementitious material and you are giving them one last opportunity to send a plumber to correct the problem before you call your own plumber at their expense.

If they can't get it done immediately, I'd call a plumber - I would recommend you not fool with it at all so you have an independent verification of what is clogging the drain - who can get to the problem immediately, paying whatever overtime charge is necessary, and send them the bill.

I would then set about preparing to take them to small claims court as soon as your local government offices are again open for business. Be sure to keep good notes and include every penny you spend, including travel expenses for every trip to town and other incidental charges. And take photos of the trap and what comes out if it. Get a statement from the plumber about what he saw in the pipe. Etc.

'Bout the best you're likely to be able to do, I'm guessing.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:22 PM   #4
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Yep, I agree with the others. Have you paid them in full?
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Old 12-25-2011, 01:50 AM   #5
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I would also avoid trying to unclog this yourself for the reasons CX stated, and....

The last thing you need after stumbling upon a problem that clearly lies on the shoulders of others is to accidentally inflict damage that you'd be responsible for. Contact the tiler and give them one last opportunity to correct this.

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Old 12-25-2011, 09:00 AM   #6
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Hi Fatima, Welcome!

Could you give us full details of your shower installation?

1. First or second floor?
2. If the first floor, is there a basement, or is this on concrete slab?
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Its on the 2nd floor and theres concrete slab.

So should I bother with using a snake to try loosening the clog with CLR and running water or call a plumber first?

I put a bit of CLR in but it hasn't drained; just sitting ontop of the clog.
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:18 PM   #8
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Fatima,

What CX wrote is true, wise and sage advice, but you'll have to weigh that advice over the odds you'll see a penny out of the tile crew.

If the CLR doesn't work on its own, try breaking the clog with something hard metal. Don't break the pipe though.

There might be too much water in the drain which is diluting the CLR. If you can vacuum that out first the CLR will be more effective. Once the CLR stops sizzling and foaming, flush it out and re-apply. If the CLR isn't sizzling and foaming call the plumber.
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Old 12-26-2011, 01:36 PM   #9
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Hi Fatima

You mention concrete slab and you're on the second floor. Is this a commercial building?

Have you tried using a wet vac to remove the water?

Can you take & post a photo of inside the drain?

I'm trying to establish if there's access to the p-trap from below. If the p-trap breaks during your or your plumbers attempt to break up the grout/cement, can cause a very difficult future repair.

If in doubt, as previously mentioned, call the plumber.
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:16 PM   #10
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I am a complete newbie, but I had the same issue (cement clogging the drain pipe, at least 3/4 of the pipe). I had a master plumber tell me as long as it was PVC pipe in good condition, pour 2-4 cups pool acid (fuming muriatic acid) down the drain and give it about 3-5 min to work, then rinse well, repeat if needed. DO NOT GET IT ON THE TILE, GROUT, ETC.!! You'll need to remove the drain cover, wear rubber gloves, eye protection, be careful not to splash, etc.etc. The acid will eat the cement and it will wash down the drain. I was amazed at how easy the fix was, and it worked like a charm.
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Old 12-26-2011, 06:09 PM   #11
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***There is a huge danger with muriatic acid ***

Aside from burning your skin, eyes and lungs - the fumes from the acid will permanently etch chrome. This can happen from a few feet away.

I would not recommend this to a DIYer.

If you do elect to take this risky process, cover any chrome with plastic very well before the bottle of acid is opened. Keep the room well ventilated during use.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:26 PM   #12
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Hi Brian

Quote:
I would not recommend this to a DIYer.
I wouldn't even recommend this for a pro!
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:53 PM   #13
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I agree. That's powerful stuff. I knew a guy at a company I used to work for that was working in a hair salon after hours and used muriatic acid to get rid of some grout haze and ended up frying the computer system and ruining all the metal on the salon chairs. I was an expensive bill! (and no, it wasn't me)
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:59 PM   #14
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I also agree the tile guy, general contractor, or whoever was responsible for doing the tile work, ought to be responsible for making that right. Was this and independent tile guy or a GC? Hold them accountable.
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