Cut & Jack Hammer Basement Slab

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Dan Pick, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. Dan Pick

    Dan Pick New Member

    Speedway, IN
    In my basement I need to cut and jack hammer about 10' of 4" concrete slab to replace 50 year old CI drain pipe. It is all gray water from the kitchen and laundry that comes over to the drain pit under the basement bath tub. In the process of converting/remodeling basement bath I removed old enamaled steel tub. This is when I noticed black pea gravel and foul musty smell from leaking/broken drain line. The connection at the bath tub drain was a banded coupling to black ABS drain pipe (ABS must have been added later after initial house construction since I can see where the floor has been cut and patched before).

    My questions:

    Rent diamond saw and electric jack hammer?

    Could I just use a diamond blade in a portable circular saw?

    Build a tent to encapsulate dust from both operations?

    Score concrete or cut it all the way through completely?

    Use PVC pipe or continue with ABS?

    I don't see ABS pipe at the "Big Box" stores, any reason?

    Thanks, Dan
  2. it all sounds about right

    saw cutting that floor makes one a hell of a mess.....

    the tent is a great idea.....but you got to breathe too..

    also having someone saw cut the floor for you
    is not as expensive
    as you might think...
    and having them cut it all the way through
    is always best....

    I would make sure that their are no surprizes
    in the concrete that might get you shocked,

    the sch40 pvc is what is supposed to be used in the
    slab floors...

    it all brings back fond memories
    that I would rather forget.
  3. Dan Pick

    Dan Pick New Member

    Speedway, IN
    Thanks Mark,

    Do you recommend anyone in the Indy area to cut and jack hammer the floor?
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    I would find a contractor that uses a "wet saw"

    No dust
    Clean cuts
    Less noise

    The ones I use have all the hand and power tools too.
    They have me work the wet vac, while they cut.
  5. like cutting clay

    i wish every cut i ever made was with a wet saw.

    The dust is bad, when dry cut. Dangerous little particles that float everywhere. No tent will hold them in.

  6. concrete guys

    I was not aware you were from Indy....

    I have gotten away with bloody murder before with


    they did great jobs for me back in my
    more commercial days....

    look in the yellow pages..

    and dont be ashamed to ask them what they will tear
    it out and carry it all away for you would cost.......

    its not that much ....

  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    It sounds like ABS is not permitted in some localities, but it is OK in others. If it's not available in your area, it probably because local codes don't allow it. Just use Schedule 80 PVC. I've broken out concrete in my basement and it is not a job I'd do again. Concrete dust get into everything including your lungs. Hire the pros for this. If you were outside, it might not be so bad.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Whether an area has ABS or PVC depends on the preference of the plumbing contractors. If they prefer and use one or the other, that is what the stores will start to carry and concentrate on. Here you have to hunt very diligently to find any kind of PVC drain pipe and fittings.
  9. TedL

    TedL New Member

    NY Capital District
    Interesting variation. My last house (built 1981) and my current (built 1984) were plumbed with ABS dwv, but I can't find it locally anymore. I was trying to get a trap I could solvent weld directly to the existing, but settled for a Proflex connection.

    When I looked at Charlotte Pipe's list prices, ABS was roughly 1/3 more expensive than PVC. That, with ABS's tendency to age less well than PVC, makes PVC a no-brainer for new installations if local code allows both.

    I do wish the local suppliers would stock small quantities of common ABS fittings for repair work.
  10. prashster

    prashster New Member

    I used an electric jackhammer and a dry diamond blade saw and a tent.
    Problem with wet saws is they're gas powered, so yr not supposed to use in basement without ventilation. (Edit: I was unable to find a rentable electric wet saw)

    The dust was so bad in my tent, I could only cut 4" at a time before I couldn't see. Would have to wait for the 'dust to settle' and then carry on. Plus, a little leaked out, and got ALL OVER THE rest of the house. Concrete dust is the nastiest stuff. I think I could hear it laughing in my ducts for hours after.

    I scored and then then broke the rest with a demo hammer. One hell of a workout.

    I couldn't find anyone to come and do the concrete work at a reasonable price.

    If I had to do it again, I'd:

    1) Rent a gas powered, walk-behind, wet diamond blade saw.
    2) Rent an industrial sized air mover and mount it to my basement window to blow out. Open all the windows in the basement. Probably overkill, but I'd work a few mins at a time, to minimize CO build up.
    3) Rent the Bosch yellow jack hammer.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  11. Wet and electric.

    electric wet saws come with a long cord so you can get 20 amps from the kitchen range.
  12. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Most places have electric wet saws. The Dryer or the range is a good place to plug in.
    With a wet saw, there is no dust.

    You aren't pounding away at the concrete either.

    When I had to have concrete cut in supermarkets, we could cut about 80 feet of trench in a few hours.
    We stacked the concrete in the parking lot with a "free" sign, and it would be gone before the day was over.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  13. markts30

    markts30 Commercial Plumber

    Phoenix, AZ
    For small stuff (home jobs), I have used a regular circular saw with a diamond blade and a pump sprayer (like for lawn spray).
    No dust, very quick, easy cleanup, 120V power requirement.
    Only drawback - you have to be on your knees to do the cutting and have a wet-vac to clean up the slurry as you go (every couple feet)...
  14. Dan Pick

    Dan Pick New Member

    Speedway, IN
    Thanks for all the great advice, guys!

    I decided to have a few "Concrete Cutting Contractors" give me an estimate this week. Two of the local contractors can do the whole job. Diamond wet cutting, concrete removal, and repour concrete after I replace the drain line.

    I'll keep you posted on the estimates for 11 feet of 12 wide trench in 4 inch slab. I assume a 12" wide trench is adequate for removal of a 2" CI drain line and installation of 2" PVC line?

    I think these estimates will be my deciding factor as to wether I rent equipment and do it myself or hire it done.
  15. Dan Pick

    Dan Pick New Member

    Speedway, IN

    Thanks for the laugh! I was almost in tears telling about cutting inside the tent, and when I started I thought this was the perfect solution to dust....
  16. EAP

    EAP New Member


    12" is plenty of width for your project.

    If you do DIY, make sure any HVAC is shut OFF. The dust will kill the blower motor in short order. Better yet, isolate the furnace from the area to be cut if possible.

    Unless you rent an industrial wetsaw, this will likely end up being a two person job to keep things like dust under control.

    Good luck.
  17. clifforddog1

    clifforddog1 New Member

    I just broke up my basement floor today, with electric jack hammer, it broke up easily and way less dust than a stone saw. I own a stone saw and wouldn't think of running it inside, there would be a ton of dust. :eek: I use a full gas/dust mask outside.

  18. dgreen1069

    dgreen1069 New Member

    Northern VA.
    I was going to say the same thing....why not skip the cutting and just use an electric jack hammer. Once you get a hole going it is very easy to take it any direction you want. A wet saw inside a house is going to make a big mess also. I'd skip the sawing all together.
  19. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    The wet sawing I've been a part of has been the cleanest way to go.
    It's done with a wet vac, and it is "very" clean.

    You can rent a elec jack hammer too, it will have some dust, it will pound the nearby concrete, thereby weaking it some, and will leave rough edges that are hard to pour too.

    If it's my job, it's going to be a wet saw and vac.
  20. prashster

    prashster New Member

    I'd use both. You risk overbreaking the slab if you just jack.

    If you just cut, you still have to break down the pieces so you can transport them out. A sledge or demo hammer are cheaper than a jack but will give you an upperbody workout.

    Personally, think it's worth it to bust up the concrete into small enough pieces that can be used as aggregate filler in the trench once your pipes are laid. It'll save you many bags of concrete, minimizes waste, and minimizes trips up the stairs hauling 5g buckets of rock.

    I was surprised at the volume of rock. Felt like I was in 5000BC Egypt building a pyramid for a pharoh (read, wife)
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