One for the books

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by GrumpyPlumber, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Got a call for a serious leak inside a ceiling.
    The new homeowner had decided to open the ceiling to find it, the house is beautiful.
    He'd come to the correct conclusion that it was the toilet, but there were no outward signs of anything there that could be leaking.

    Upstairs the toilet was set like a sideways rocking chair, despite the excellent job on the finish, it was fully mobile.

    The previous homeowner had apparently cut the johnny bolts too short and sacrificed the metal washers to make room for the plastic clips to grab the finish caps (my guess), in other words, the toilet was anchored to the floor with plastic washers.
    I felt awful, even cut my price...asked him to please call me if something like this comes up again...BEFORE opening anything.
  2. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

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    exurban Chicago
    How about a toilet anchored to the floor of a teachers lounge bathroom by the Sloan valve? I just had a job yesterday where a DIYer installed all the plumbing in his new construction home. The shower leaked thru the ceiling. I discovered the previous brain sturgeon used the rubber washer for the shower drain under the flange, instead of putty, and nothing on the locknut. Then to make it worse, he put all kinds of backing where it wasn't needed; to make it all but impossible for me to repair it without major ceiling removal. I got it though. His dad was there to let me in, and I made a friend for life. He thought I would have to destroy the ceiling in order to save it. My mad skilz amazed him.
  3. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Now, now, boys...

    It's a DIY site. Play nice.








    Hya, Kordst! Remember me? I have a picture for you, check it out...

    Which one do you think was done by a licensed plumber, and which one do you think was by the caretaker?

    Attached Files:

  4. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    OOPH!.. My uncle is a retired architect...told me once he'd gotten a call that something went very wrong on a commercial job and they wanted him to go out and see it.
    After looking it over it turns out the apprentice ( I hope it was the apprentice) had used plastic anchors in drywall to secure wall mount lavs in a full battery of six.
  5. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    It's the new, code approved flexable vent pipe...isn't it?...right?

    We're playing nice...for the record maybe someone just saw that about toilets and learned what NOT to do...(I really do hate getting those ones, almost like I'm guilty for getting paid)
  6. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Nothing against you, bro. The thread just seemed to be hading in a not-nice direction, I wanted to cut that off...

    I do know what you mean, about feeling guilty taking the check; just remember, it's not your fault. It's not even his fault, really - who would've expected that?

    Although you have to wonder how he never noticed the toilet was loose... do they never use that bathroom, or what?


    ...speaking of vent pipes... that run isn't vented, either. We're rebuilding the place next year, so for now I just oversized the pipe.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2007
  7. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Frenchie, I didn't see anything offensive in what you said...the title of the thread was intended as a recount of bad experiences.
    I understand this is a DIY forum, but I don't think we have to be so sensitive that it becomes taboo to mention jobs gone bad...I hope.
    I also know we don't want to go off on insultive tangents either, not my intention.
  8. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

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    2,051
    Did I ever mention the c-tile job I had where, underneath the tiles, someone had used newspaper as a backerboard. :eek:

    I was hoping to read a nice old news story, but the paper had disintegrated and looked more like compost than anything else.
  9. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

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    689
    I was at a job last month and the LICENCED plumber had to relocate a 3" waste pipe from an upstairs toilet because they were removing the dropped ceiling in the kitchen below it.

    He cut out the pipe and the homeowner promptly took a dump and flushed a turd into the kitchen where everyone was working.

    I was on a job a few years ago where the plumber removed the toilet and set it out of the way in the corner of the bedrom. You guessed it. One of the workers took a dump in it.
  10. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Alectrician, this one doesn't trump yours by any stretch..
    I'd just cut out the 7-1/2" piece of cast iron on the stack to add a tee....kid upstairs decides to skip a trip to the Port-a-Johnny and remove the cover on the closet flange...yup.
    He got me a coffee at lunch, I finally had to ask him to "stop apologizing already!"
  11. This happened today

    Get a call from a real estate agent needing a plumber for a client in town who's selling their house. After numerous phone tags I arrive at the house to a ceiling leak. It's a drop ceiling so access to the source was fairly simple.

    I take the first soaked panel down, no problem. I take the second panel down,

    two HUGE rocks were on top of this panel, one fell off and smashed the top ledge of the fiberglass tub. Put a hole in it 4" wide. :eek:


    It's resting spot was in the tub itself....the customer saw it happen but my body hid the massive hole that just went into the ledge. I "instantly" grabbed that rock and took the shower liner and pulled it outside the tub and covered the opening from wall to wall.

    I'll be damned if I'm paying for that nonsense; what was two big rocks doing up in the ceiling? She's selling the house so I say someone's going to be doing fiberglass repair for a blue tub. Damn.

    The leak was a PEX toilet supply line leaking. Another thank you to plastic piping and fittings.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2007

  12. I wish they would change the code on all kitchen sink drains AND any drain subjected to large volumes of hot waste water be strapped every 2'....not the normal support of 4' for PVC.


    I have seen too many kitchen sink drains in 1.5" strapped every 4 feet that just completely sags between the straps....all because the dishwasher dumps into that line a great deal.
  13. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Gotta love a good plenum though...
    Rugged...I'm PSYCHED you found this thread, I've worked plenty with old time plumbers...even one that had that old WW2 depression era mentality...He'd say "NEVER waste fittings" (back then they were worth more than you were), He knew how to wipe a joint in his sleep.
    I'm going to wager you have some KILLER stories..
    The rock one was funny (I could just vision you standing there hoping she wouldn't move in closer).
    I bet you have some hilarious ones...go ahead...drop us.
  14. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Ohio
    Why in the world did you hide the damage??????

    Obviously it would not have been your fault, but hiding it.

    Now you look guilty even though your not.

    What was the type of crimp system copper or stainless and was it crimped wrong?
  15. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Lemme' guess, his reply: "it's NOT copper!"
  16. :mad: She saw the whole thing happen, she had to know it hit the tub. This woman was hustling me from the word go, even when I got there. The short tempered type that always interrupts you when you're talking. I purposely lowered my rate knowing I wasn't going to be there long and I didn't want a confrontation with her. *For the record, I normally won't even consider dealing with real estate agents and their clientell since they never "cling" as repeat customers*

    This lady was definitely capable of putting me in a catch 22 and saying that the hole wasn't there before you got there and now there is! Shouldn't have rocks out of your driveway in your ceiling lady. :mad:




    The PEX line was one of those gray cheapo 38 cent toilet supply lines. The person who put it in strained it into position and naturally it started cracking right where the nut holds it to the fill valve shank.


    That was when the TRUE plumbers existed. Where skill in the trade was tops and you really had to know your skills of the profession to make a living.

    Now, a glue connection here a push-fit sharkbite there, crimp this and compression tighten that, off you go. Plastic was the downfall of the profession of plumbing in so many ways. That point can be argued to death but the reality is less knowledge is needed to perform the task of plumbing.......whereby that makes the average person more capable of doing plumbing without following the implied knowledge the trade is really worth.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  17. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

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    frenchie

    I don't recall ya. I would guess that a licensed plumber did the hack job and a DIYer of some sort did the other. Just because a guy has a license doesn't mean he is a good plumber. Bad licensed plumbers are more of a threat to my trades' future than unlicensed DIYer's.
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Sorry but I disagree, A TRUE plumber would have pointed out the hole and made sure the lady and the Realtor saw the rock and new it came from the ceiling and that the plumber was in no way responsible for rocks hidden in a ceiling tile.

    I believe that would have been the professional thing to do regardless of what ever was to follow.

    I guess from the description the supply line was an old PB type. Not the newer PEX.
  19. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Cass, I use those PEX or, "poly risers" alot inside vanities ot KS's- the light grey colored ones (beleive it or not I really do and YUP, they're legal)..they can be deceptively easy to use, you crank 'em about the same amount you would regular copper and it seems fine....then. 15 minutes later the line blows out of the ferril. Trick is you have to bottom out the comp nut or they can develope delayed leaks.

    Speaking of "One for the books"...Co I used to work for got a call from a GC.
    Apparently this had happened, on a friday right after the new homeowner had taken off for the weekend. The licensed plumber had the apprentice tying in finish and didn't go over his work.
    It gushed ALL weekend from the 2nd floor down...ugly hit on his liability policy.
  20. Not a problem. I'll let my reputation in the biz serve as the rule and not the exception. If you experienced how this customer was acting, the slightest hint of surprise or discovery would of sent her off the edge. To her benefit of reason, she might not always be this way "normally" and the fact she's paying 2 mortgages while this house sells must be taking a toll financially as well as emotionally. She had to sell due to health reasons, she said she didn't have plumbing problems all those years until she moved out.


    Thus the reason for not charging full amount for my time. Very impatient on every move I make. It's a discovery that if she calls me out on it....I'll tell her that "maybe when that rock fell out of the ceiling, that's when it happened." and let her vent from a distance, not in front of me trying to browbeat me out of not getting paid. < That's not going to happen on my dime, ever.


    As far as putting two and two together to figure out why rocks were in the ceiling? Possibly getting a bow out of the tile or trying to get the ceiling panels to lay flat in the grids. I can't come up with anything else that would apply.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
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