In a world of hurt...drain broken under house...

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by pghsebring, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    So i'm trying to remodel the bathroom, i finally get the cast iron stack out of the floor. The other two stacks in the house were barely cemented into the middle of a hole in the floor - which ended up being 4" terra cotta 90s. So in those two cases i got a couple of donuts and all was good.

    I assumed this one was the same - but i couldn't get the stack out - they really cemented this one in good. When i got it out, i figured out why. They had broken the terra cotta elbow, so they put the stack in there, cemented it in with as much cement as they could, a couple of inches worth. I can't imagine what has been flowing under my house...the back side of the elbow is just...missing...roots and crap growing, i have no idea how all my plumbing wasn't backed up worse than it was...

    So it looks like its time to cut up my basement floor. It is a normal concrete floor. My question is, assuming just the 4" elbow is broken, how big of an area would you saw up and break out? My goal is to get to the straight 4" terra cotta and put a fernco (or shielded fernco?) on some new 4" pipe and a new 4" elbow, right?

    PS. Any chance home insurance covers this?

    PPS. If i'm breaking this crap up, how much extra work to put in plumbing for a basement bathroom? Hard part is breaking up the floor, right?
  2. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    I was thinking, maybe i should use a donut into the straight pipe instead of a fernco? Which is preferred? With a donut, i won't have to risk breaking the terra cotta when i try to take the "bell" off...
  3. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    It honestly can't hurt to try. I got my homeowners to pay for all the plumbing, and construction of ripping out my bathroom when I had a huge problem. All they did not pay for was the toilet. Isn't that funny... They paid for new flooring, the new sink vanity, the mirror! the plumber (s). They paid for bringing in machinery to dry up the wetness, and an air-scrubber the biggest one I ever saw. They paid for the paint, the new molding trim, the wallpaper, an electrician, everything like I said, but the toilet. Then, I get myself the worst toilet on the market. A Kohler, Cimmaron, and unfortunately, the worst plumber which I hired, only myself to blame. I don't know if I got a way with insurance companies, or I flirted well, lol, but, they paid for everything. So, I see it as you have nothing to lose in trying. All they can do is say, nope. And, that world of hurt? Been there, done that... Hope you get them to help you.
  4. SacCity

    SacCity In the Trades

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    If you could I would recomend cutting out all the clay pipe to the exterior of the building.
    Michael
  5. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    That would be 40+ feet...no chance.

    What is least likely to break the clay pipe underneath? If i use a saw, i still have to hammer it. If i use a jackhammer i could break it too...what a pain in the ass...
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,260
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Use a concrete saw to cut the necessary area of floor into 8x8 or 12x12 squares- you can pick them up and carry them out. Once you get the first piece out the rest is easy. Use water to keep the cutting dust down. Use good ventilation and a respirator.
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    pipe bursting and pipe relining are also options...
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,385
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    There are professional companies that cut concrete. There are quick, clean, and remove all the debris. Of course, this is not an inexpensive option, but having broken concrete in a basement myself, I can tell you that it was the first and last time I will do that!
  9. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'm thinking renting a 14" saw is my best bet here so i can cut it full through, into squares, and lift out - no hammering to break more pipe underground.

    I have a 14" abrasive blade around here, one of the $10 jobs - how long will it last? I think i'll need to cut about 6 linear feet to get the elbow out and expose the end of the pipe - 2 ft on each side, 1 ft wide.

    Then i'll slide the new pipe into the donut and into the pipe, glue on an elbow, then pull it back out a little to get it in position.

    I'd have someone else do the sawing, but isn't the minimum pretty high? $250? $350?
  10. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,348
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    You might look into a tool rental shop for a diamond blade wet saw.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,038
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IF your terra cotta pipes have cement joints there is NO donut that will work. IF it has rubber joints, then you will have to get a donut that fits that BRAND of pipe because the joints are NOT generic.
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    My insurance company also paid for cleaning out my drain in the basement when we first bought the house which was years ago. Paid for everything, plumber and all.

    I have had this same insurance company for auto and then, home owners; so, maybe this makes a difference. (I pay 700 a year for insurance yet to this day.) Read your policy see what it says or call your agent.

    If you need to get someone to jackhammer up the floor, who knows, maybe they will come through on at least some of the expenses. I think, too many people are afraid to try, they automatically think homeowners won't pay for this or that. I see and hear lots in the RE field from others too, sometimes, depending on which company they will pay or won't, but you won't know unless, you make the call to see where your cards drop. If they don't, then, they don't. You lost nothing. The past 2 winters, I had severe ice damage, again, all paid. I paid only my deductible.

    Don't listen to others if they tell you insurance won't pay, it really depends on the company.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  13. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    I called my insurance company, they said they'd pay for the water damage, but not the pipe...so...useless.

    I found a rental at the local sunbelt - 14" wet saw with diamond blade for $100/day.

    Well...as long as i'm sawing up the concrete to do this (and have the entire bathroom right above it gutted), if i'm ever going to saw up the floor to put in a bathroom down there, now would be the time to make the trench...assuming the trench would be along a wall where i line up the drains...how wide/long of a trench would you cut out to be safe for a full bath? I don't really have time to "design" one right now...just want to put a sink, toilet, and shower in line against one wall...just cutting out a trench...5ft from toilet drain to shower drain with sink in between?
  14. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    I already have the perfect size donut to put 3" pvc into the 4" terra cotta - i do not use the bell at all. Wouldn't this be easier, and less likely to break more, and less likely to leak, than trying to cut off the bell of a 4" terra cotta pipe? I imagine they were cemented together, but i'll be breaking the elbow away, the 3" pvc should fit fine with my donut...acceptable?
  15. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,348
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Glazed pipe or unglazed pipe

    Terra cotta is an unglazed clay product,vitreous is a glazed clay product that most clay pipes are made of,when you say terra cotta I think of of spanish style roofing.Then there is this.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  16. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    Its some sort of clay pipe. Its not iron. Its not pvc. Its not cement. Its under my basement floor and its broke.

    Do you guys prefer rubber donuts or fercos if given the choice? I had good luck with donuts in the other two stacks in my house.
  17. SacCity

    SacCity In the Trades

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Thanks for the education, Michael
  18. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    I don't know what your deductibe is, or how much water damage you have, but, if you crunch some numbers, you could come out with some money from the claim which you could put toward renting the equipment and fix the water damage yourself.
  19. pghsebring

    pghsebring DIY Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have no appreciable "water damage" because the elbow broke under the basement floor...i didn't even know it was leaking until i took out the stack. What are they going to do? Its dry under the slab now cause it hasn't been used in a week. There is nothing to clean or repair...so they would give us nothing, we have a $500 deductible, and our insurance would go up 5% to start with just for filing a claim.

    ...what IS stupid is the fact they'll clean damage, but not repair the pipe...as soon as i use it again, the damage would come back!

    So i rented a saw and have the whole weekend for $100...time to get cutting...after i plan a new bathroom...
  20. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    If they would raise it 5% for making a claim, I would rethink that company. It is amazing how little people won't use their Home Owners, something they pay for every single month or yearly. Some people beat it to death which isn't good, then, their are others who will actually, be proud in never using it. I don't understand either one. But, in your case, your dedutible is high, and if the water damage is nil then, it is a wash-out for you.

    But bear in mind, exactly what water damage can be seen as. It isn't just the walls, furniture, and carpeting being ruined. It can be mold that present, possibly it ruined your floor itself and one, won't know unless, an investigator comes looks at it. I also appraise homes for a living. That is one of my day jobs, lol.

    Plus, you could change your deductible accordingly, to season. A winter approaching, lower your deductible, summer, raise it. It works.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2011
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