Help! Bathroom reno screeched to a halt: stack branch too high!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by staceyneil, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    We are now totally discouraged: the bathroom is completely demolished and we don't know what to do next!:mad:

    Last night we started roughing in all the new drain plumbing for our bathroom renovation on 1920's house.

    Originally, the toilet was right next to the stack. Last summer when my husband had to replace the toilet riser he had to saw off the mating surfaces of the flange and elbow to shorten it and make the toilet be able to sit on the floor. But he'd forgotten that when we designed the new bath.

    In the new plan, the toilet sits 6' away. So even if we shorten the flange as he did before, that 6' pipe would be level and have no slope.

    Ideas we had:
    1) raise the subfloor by another 1/2". That could get us a 1/2" slope.
    2) The original iron pipe coming off the iron soil stack vent is 4". We'd stepped down to 3" right away with a rubber boot adapter. What if we kept it at 4" for a ways longer (which would lower the bottom of the drain pipe somewhat.?) The problem with that is that it needs to pass through two joists, which are 6.9" actual height. We'd planned to install headers as well as reinforcing the joists we cut through, but that was with 3" pipe: 4" holes will totally ruin those joists I think...

    Argh!

    Any other ideas?????

    Stacey
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,508
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pipe

    Yes, it is a bad idea.
    Keeping the 4" cannot help you because even though the bottom of the pipe would be 1/2" lower, (not 1"), the top will also be a 1/2" higher and the top is part of your problem. And drilling either a 3" or 4" pipe through an undersized joist like you have will make it completely useless.
  3. Racer814

    Racer814 New Member

    Messages:
    124
    as hj said....running 4" partially won't help....and a 3" hole through a 7" joist wouldnt pass inspection....much less a 4....can't be more than a third the depth of the joist here and I would have to face both sides with plywood before drilling......how many joists do you have to pass through?

    have you thought about re arranging the bathroom layout?....can you get the toilet closer to the stack or so that the drain runs parrallel to the joists...

    can you post the proposed layout?
  4. rear outlet (back spud) toilets

    FWIW, to handle the same problem, I installed wall-hung toilets whose waste pipe went above ground for a distance first before dropping through the floor. Any rear outlet toilet will do the same, even if floor mounted.

    Either that or you rebuild the stack, or ...

    David
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,508
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    toilet

    1. The pipe still has to get to the new location.
    2. The fitting to turn the pipe up into the wall will take up a lot more room, (and create more problems), than the one for a floor outlet.
  6. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    Hi guys- Wow thanks for the quick replies....

    I get what you are saying about the 4" not giving us any more slope.

    Regarding going through the two joists, the plan was to box in the cut joists with double headers as well as reinforcing (sistering) the bottoms of the cut joists. I was under the impression that the double headers boxed around the 2 cut joists would be sufficient....

    Just talked to a friend of ours who is a plumber. His suggestions, from easiest to most difficult:
    1) Replace the closet bend with a vent 90 (obviously not proper but he says done all the time in this situation)
    or
    2) Use 3" copper rather than PVC because thinner and so allows more slope. Expensive.
    or
    3) Dig out the iron T-wye at the stack, lead in a new Manhoff, and then use copper as above.
    or
    4) snap the stack and slide PVC down from the roof as a sleeve, making the connections lower in the bathroom floor. May not have enough working space to do this though, and don't have access to under the floor without totally taking apart the kitchen, which is not an option.

    My husband REALLY doesn't want to get inot snapping the stack, as our experience with working on this old house is that it's best to leave things be, otherwise projects balloon out of proportion (as this one is doing!)

    What do you guys think?

    Stacey

    PS I will make a drawing and post it if that helps: floor plan?
  7. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    Here is a plan:

    This is the plan of what we started out to install before finding the slope issue.

    Originally the toilet was next to the stack on the left wall. The tub was a freestanding clawfoot tub along the bottom wall. Sink is in original postiion. All drains were lead.

    Floor joists just shy of 7" with about 7.3" clearance between new subfloor and ceiling lathe below.

    We really don't want to put the toilet back where it was and the tub back along the bottom wall, since this would entail building a little short wall at the foot of the tub and either installing a ridiculously-expensive glass spray wall there or always having a shower curtain hanging at the end of the tub, both of which would make the room seem much smaller (definitely don't want a solid wall down there as will totally close in the space: it's a small enough bath already!)

    Any ideas?
  8. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    OOps, here's the image:

    By the way, the grey lines represent joists. Hope this comes through, I had to resize it substantially...

    Attached Files:

    • bath.gif
      bath.gif
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  9. Easy to fix (floor layout)

    1. move tub to the wall between the window and the stack.
    2. move the toilet over to the left wall. Turn it 90 degrees.

    Then the toilet waste pipe won't go through any joists. Your joists are less than Seven inches high!

    That's "outside the box" thinking. It may give you everything you want.

    If it were me, I'd not keep that tub shape and instead go with a neo-angle shape 49" by 49". Inside a tub that small, leg room is still good for anyone with a 34" pants inseam. Fits two people nicely, if they are average sized.

    Also, away from the door, the toilet will be less in the way.

    Standing at the vanity you'll have less leg room behind, if you keep the current tub shape. That is one drawback.

    To prevent shower spray and spray-back from getting on the floor, I'd put a panel of tempered glass on the two short sides (26") of the neo-angle and put up a straight line curtain for the big opening, which is 34" angled 45 degrees toward the center of the room, toward the door.

    David

    edit: p.s. if your drawing is not to scale, then the idea may not work. Unless you use a 48" by 30" tub like the Kohler Greek.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2007
  10. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    Hi Geniescience- thanks for the reply,

    It's funny you should descibe that layout, I actually had thought of that and was just measuring it out upstairs.

    It's not going to work. First, not enough standing room at pedestal sink (already purchased both sink and tub, so no changing those now). Second, the tub's drain and trap would be RIGHT on top of the branch coming off the stack. No way to make that work without rebuilding the stack, which is what we're trying to avoid.

    But thanks for the thinking-ouside-the-box idea! Hopefully someone will come up with one that will work!

    Argh! Meanwhile we are without place to shower till we get this figured out and plumbed in. The tub was supposed to be in by Sunday, but now... who knows......:(
  11. turn tub 180 degrees and let the drain go to the stack from there.

    Tell us how much standing room you'll have. Maybe you can keep the tub and sink, and build a custom countertop to hold the sink. Shaped like a banjo or a pork chop. Now that the toilet is not near the door, you have more space to move around in, so the counter could occupy more space near the door and not risk creating a tight cramped feeling.

    David
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2007
  12. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    Hi- more info

    Hi
    The sink is a pedestal sink, so not much leeway there. The stack is framed into a bump-out about 12 x 8 in the corner, so the tub can't fit tight in that corner (upper left corner in the drawing)... therefore we'd have to build out the wall with the window in it, or build a tiled ledge or whatever, in any case the tub now sticks out 38" from that (top, window) wall. Since a low wall needs built to enclose the end of the tub by the window, you now have only about 24" standing space in front of the sink, and you have to sort of slide in there since the corner of the tub's wall extendes almost as far into the room as the edge of the pedestal sink (which is defined by the swing of the door and the CL of the existing, built-in handmade medicine cabinet which we are also trying to avoid moving.

    In addition, the tub's drains, P=trap, etc would fall smack in the middle of the 3" pipe coming off the stack, and there's not enough clearance there to divert either one. Since the toilet and sink also need to drain there, there's just not enough room for the plumbing with the tub in that configuration.

    Thanks though!
  13. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    Here are some photos of the space.

    Here's the old bathroom (now removed) and the plumbing conundrum. Note boxed-in corner for stack, and medicine cabinet we're trying not to move.

    Also, we're trying to do this whole reno for under $1000. Have bought nice Kohler cast iron tub, pedestal sink, facucets, tile, etc and so far within budget. But there's no budget for fancy corner tubs or anything like that.

    Attached Files:

  14. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I would consider the following approach, but I don't have enough information to know how to specify the details.

    This suggestion is a civil engineering solution to accommodate the plumbing.

    Consider running the line from the toilet to the stack in a straight line, if you can get enough slope that way. Disregard the joist issue as will be described below. The cost of copper is probably small compared to the rest of the cost if dimensions are an issue in achieving the required slope. However, you aren't going to gain a lot over PVC.

    You might be able to gain toilet height with a spacer to raise the toilet. You will go in the direction of an "ADA height" toilet without affecting the floor match to the room at the doorway.

    Then, design a structure to support the floor.

    It would mean doubling or tripling the joists on the left of the stack and right of the toilet. Then headers, parallel to and on each side of the pipe from toilet to stack, would be attached to those doubled joists with hangers. The cut joists would be attached to the headers with hangers.

    Those doublers must be extended to the support points, or someone needs to pay attention to the bearing and shear loads. I would want to see the plan of the structure out to the supports on all four sides of the bathroom.

    You need to be sure that you allow for shrinkage of the new material relative to the old. It should be kiln dried stock or you can dry it before intsallation. I would not plan on putting ceramic tile on the floor for a couple of years.

    You will probably need access to the floor structure from below, out to the support areas.
  15. No to half-walls. No knee walls. No pony walls.

    ok, after seeing the pictures i see the stack is in the corner, so the tub would be farther away from the window wall and that much closer to the door. Not a big problem. Having an 8" ledge there is good.

    Is the custom medicine cabinet shown in the drawing? Or is that the pedestal sink?

    Which model tub did you get? Rounded or square corners?

    A tub doesn't need a half-wall anywhere.

    Knowing the total distance across the room, and the depth of the pedestal sink, we'll be able to calculate space available.

    David
  16. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    Hi all-much for your thoughtful responses...

    In answer to questions, the tub is a Kohler Villager cast iron 3-wall alcove installation, so only finished on the front. Needs a wall on 3 sides....

    Local plumber has offered a solution which may work. Will replort back after we try it tonight!

    We'll be very careful with the joists and headers.

    Thanks again for all the help.
  17. tiling flange

    OK, now I get it. The tub has a flange on three sides, so it "needs" a half-wall. And the one you have has its drain on the left.

    I saw the price. That is the same price as the neo angle tub I mentioned above.

    Whatever you do, I'm sure it'll be the right thing to do for your situation. You have asked good questions and you apparently understand everything a remodeler needs to know!

    David
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,508
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pipe

    1) Replace the closet bend with a vent 90 (obviously not proper but he says done all the time in this situation)

    A spigot closet bend is equivalent to a vent 90, except it does not have a hub which would require even more room.
    or
    2) Use 3" copper rather than PVC because thinner and so allows more slope. Expensive.

    Only an 1/4" thinner so the benefits would be minimal

    or
    3) Dig out the iron T-wye at the stack, lead in a new Manhoff, and then use copper as above.

    Still no real benefits.

    or
    4) snap the stack and slide PVC down from the roof as a sleeve, making the connections lower in the bathroom floor. May not have enough working space to do this though, and don't have access to under the floor without totally taking apart the kitchen, which is not an option.

    Have no idea what you are talking about with this one.
  19. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Will the tub fit along the wall to the left of the door?
  20. staceyneil

    staceyneil New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    cumberland foreside, maine
    Hi guys, the plumbing is roughed in...

    the solution we chose was to replace the closet bend with a vent 90 and add 1/2" more sub floor.ow we've got 1"+ slope! Yay!

    Joists were well-reinforced and double headers installed under the tub. tib goes in tonight.

    Thanks for all your input! very helpful!

    Stacey
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