A "While I'm In There..." Question

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by turbocruiser, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Sheesh, I hope you guys like having weekend warriors like me around with all my amateurish questions. I do really appreciate the advice though.

    I recently opened up the drywall behind my bathtub to give the Master Plumber I hired ( I know my limits and happily hire the pros for certain fixes ) room to replace the old original shower valve/tub valve assembly for my shower/tub.

    My question is that with the wallboard out of the way there is total access to the plumbing that makes the drain, the drain selector tube and overflow apparatus, etc.

    I don't know whether I should replace all that or not? On the one hand there are no signs of sweating or leaking at least as far as I can conclude anywhere. On the other hand it is all about 25 years old now and I do see some super slight surface cracks on the rubber "grommet" to the drain selector tube and overflow apparatus. I don't think that would ever leak like that though but it is a sign of some aging. Everything else is just basic black ABS pipe with the typical compression type connections that all seem dry. Anyways, I just don't know whether "fix it now" or "leave it the hellalone" is appropriate here. Thanks.
  2. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    If you do decide to replace that (and I would be tempted) investigate whether quality components can be used and don't necessarily cheap out with PVC/ABS like the licensed pro did with me. See if a quality brass drain, overflow and quality drain appartus can be installed.

    Normally on old set ups like that the tub drain can be rusted into place and the only way to replace it is to cut it out. Another excuse to replace these bits while you have the chance.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  3. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Ian, thanks for the advice. So you're saying that sooner or later those things will likely leak? I was just going to replace the parts with similar ABS ( I didn't know ABS was a worse material than anything else available) but if I can I'll try to source the brass bits. Even so as soon as I get past the first tee its going to go into ABS anyway. Either which way with that, your vote is do it now because sooner or later those things will likely leak. Is that right? Thanks Again.
  4. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    My advice would be to thoroughly inspect the ABS piping and if it looks good them just replace the rubber washer. Nothing wrong with either ABS or PVC plastic drainage piping. The best is if the backside can be fitted with an access cover so that it can be periodically inspected and if any repairs are necessary down the road they can be done through the access panel.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,917
    Location:
    New England
    If the finish on the drain components visible in the tub/shower are okay and not pitted or the finish flaking off, just replace the gasket on the overflow and leave it alone. The thing that is most vulnerable, other than the rubber components, is the trap. But, if that is ABS, it'll outlive you. Brass, when it gets old while sitting in drain water, can become brittle and pitted...look at it funny, and it can break. the metal parts other than the trap will last much longer. This is especially true if you ever used drain cleaning chemicals.
  6. Andrew21

    Andrew21 Member

    Messages:
    163
    Location:
    New York
    If it makes you feel better, replace it. I'm going through the same thing with my bath remodel.
  7. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Just because somethings cheaper doesn't make it inferior, the brass or chrome waste/overflows are normally used on claw foot tubs for asthetic purposes and are easier to change when they fail.

    The access panel is a good idea and glued connections are preffered if your going to replace it.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  8. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    You're really stuck in the past aren't you?
  9. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    PVC is just so noisy. And much more susceptible to damage when plumbers snake it.

    I have never had metal pipes fail when plumbers clear them.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  10. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I had a piece of 1.5" copper drain from a kitchen sink fail by corrosion at the bottom of the pipe. The corrosion kept thinning it until it got so thin that the residual fabrication stresses caused it to fold and crack. The water isn't bad (lake water), dishwasher and disposer on system, and no other pipes failed.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,510
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    ANy good plumber can replace those gaskets without going behind or under the tub. It depends on how much peace of mind it gives you to do it now or not. I have NOT seen a tub with an access panel, or installed one, in almost 50 years, unless the house was from the 40's when they did install them, (often inside a kitchen cabinet that you cannot get to it anyway, even if you did need that access).
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  12. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    hj, hey, not arguing just asking but how would anyone change the gaskets there without going behind or under the tub? Even if you could somehow squeeze out the one there at the drain selector, you couldn't unscrew the ABS's compression nuts and compression ferrules unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote? Can you clarify that? Thanks.
  13. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    He's talking about the overflow gasket and the one under the drain that go's between the tub and the 90.
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,452
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The overflow gasket costs just a couple of bucks. Very easy to replace either from the tub side or, with rear access.
    Leave the rest of the drain alone unless it has a problem.
  15. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Ahaa! Got it now! I can totally see that it is easy enough to replace the overflow gaskets from either side, but I couldn't figure out how to do the drain sections without removing wallboard. You also answered my drain question too and as always I'll follow the experts' advice about these things ... and in this case ... it aint broke, so I aint fixin it! :D
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