Please help! Want to raise drop ceiling in kitchen remodel, waste lines in the way

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by lindalou, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. lindalou

    lindalou New Member

    Messages:
    9
    We are planning a kitchen remodel in our 1975 tract house which has a drop ceiling in the kitchen (drops 7.25"). We have cut away the drywall on the sides of the recessed florescent light in the center of the kitchen, which has allowed us to peek at what is hidden in the ceiling. We can't see everything clearly this way, but we don't want to cut more drywall until we know that we can raise the ceiling.

    Above the kitchen is the kids bath (with one sink, toilet and bathtub) and the master BR (with shower, toilet and 2 sinks). Most of the waste lines for these bathrooms are below the joists, in the drop part of the ceiling. We are looking for help in re-routing these waste lines with the ultimate goal of raising the ceiling all the way to the joists. If this isn't achievable, we would still like to raise the ceiling as much as possible and add soffits above the cabinets if necessary.

    I have made a crude drawing of the ceiling with approximate locations of the waste lines and heating/venting ducts. The ONLY waste line that is above the bottom of the joists is the one that is cross-hatched. All of the heating/venting ducts are above the bottom of the joists. There are also supply lines running perpendicular to the joists, hanging just below the bottom of the joists - we aren't too worried about re-routing these. We can't see very well in the upper left corner (where most of the pipes are, of course :mad:):

    the thick grey lines are walls​
    the skinny yellow lines are joists​
    the square in the middle is the 4'x4' recessed florescent fixture​
    the green lines are the waste lines​
    the solid black circles are vertical junctions​
    the open black circles are the main stacks​
    the fixtures are in the bathrooms upstairs​

    Thanks!
    Linda

    Attached Files:

  2. export!

    export! DIY Member

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Not going to be easy. There was a reason for the drop ceiling in the first place. Are both soil stacks the same size? I wonder why the one toilet traverses the whole room to empty into the far stack. I'm not sure what a tract house is. Is there a basement underneath? Crawlspace???

    edit I'm guessing the toilet does that to avoid the extreme change of direction to hit the other stack. Did they really put that in there just for the tub or does your kitchen plumbing currently sit at the upper part of the drawing.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  3. lindalou

    lindalou New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Thanks for your reply, Export!

    No, both soil stacks are not the same size. The one that the tub connects to (which is also what the kitchen sink is connected to) is smaller. It appears to be about 2.5" outside diameter (it's painted in the basement, so I can't see any markings). The other soil stack says 3" on it (but it seems bigger than that - is that inside diameter?).

    A tract house is just where builders use the same 5 or 6 models for the whole subdivision, just as many are now. I only mentioned this because it's not custom and I thought that it might provide clues as to why it is plumbed as it is.

    I know that others in the neighborhood with our house model were able to raise the ceiling to the joists, but I don't know if they had soffits or how they accomplished it.

    Thanks again,
    Linda
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,990
    Location:
    New England
    You shouldn't make mincemeat out of your joists to cross the pipes through them - there are code issues about maintaining strength. The pipes need a pitch (normally 1/4" per foot) to them, so depending on the distances involved, that could be an issue as well. So, it may be that you can raise things some, but it might be a major pain for not much gain. You'd need someone there that understands what's possible and would meet code to evaluate it.
  5. export!

    export! DIY Member

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    What is the distance from the load bearing wall to the exterior wall and how high are the joists?

    I am NOT a licenced plumber but if possible (if there is enough drop) I would imagine you want to run all the drains to the loadbearing wall and connect them to a run under the joists which ties into the larger stack. This would necessitate a bulkhead at the ceiling of the loadbearing wall It would be in the neighbourhood of 8" square in cross section. I think you would need an accessible cleanout at the high end of that bulkhead run.

    This way you would not have to butcher ANY structure.

    Make sure you insulate the ceiling for sound whatever way you go.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  6. lindalou

    lindalou New Member

    Messages:
    9
    I totally agree with not drilling holes in the joists to accomplish this, unless it still meets code.

    The distance between the exterior and load bearing walls is 11' (inside the kitchen) and the joists are 7.25" high.

    It looks to me that the line for the two upstairs sinks can go to the exterior wall stack pretty easily (my DH may agree with the 'pretty easily' part :)).

    The rest are more problematic. If I totally want to avoid any kind of soffit/bulkhead and drilling in the joists, will the following work? Run 3 separate lines down the joists to the load bearing wall. The 3 lines are (1) the left-most toilet, (2) the left sink, and (3) the other toilet and the shower. The tub goes on either (1) or (2). I think this causes toilet venting problems? Then, once the lines meet the load bearing wall, they run down the wall into the basement where they connect to the stack.

    I realize that this is a HUGE re-routing, and we almost certainly would not do this, but I am just wondering how it could be done. We might consider running line (2) through the wall and into the basement and doing the soffit/bulkhead thing for line (1) if we could hide this behind a kitchen wall cabinet.

    Thanks for your help!
    Linda
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,607
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Dwv

    You are looking at a huge remodel job, and it is NOT a DIY project. The drains will have to be revised and relocated between the joists then run to the wall, where they would turn down and be connected together and then run to the main line.
  8. lindalou

    lindalou New Member

    Messages:
    9
    OK, it's not a DIY job. Just as my husband said...

    Is there any part of it that you think we could accomplish ourselves? DH is not exactly excited about this project, but he isn't scared by it either. For instance, raising up the shower p-trap (which is probably too low, anyway) is certainly within his skill-set. I know this because he replaced it when the shower pan contractor filled it with mud.
  9. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    I would just get about 3 quotes and see what options the plumbers come up with for routing. I don't think you will save any money by moving some of the pipes on your own. Best to let the plumber handle it all. To save money, have your husband do any of the non-plumbing stuff (remove drop ceiling to give plumber access, hang drywall after the plumbing is done, etc.). You might be able to save some money if your husband helps the plumber remove the old work, but he might end up being in the way and actually slow the job down.

    Remember that the faster the job is done, the sooner the bathrooms will be up and running again. This is especially true if your husband isn't felling very comfortable about doing this job. You don't want the bathroom out of commission for a long period due to your husband not having time to work on it, can't find a part to make it work correctly, etc.

    I like to do things myself, but it is much slower since I research and figure everything out before doing it. There are times when a pro will end up being cheaper. The pro will also be much faster and will hopefully do everything right the first time. Sometimes you have to pick your battles. It will save time, stress, and possibly money to let a pro tackle this job. Once the new plumbing is in, you husband can take it from there.

    Good luck.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,607
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drains

    Unless you husband does HIS plumbing after the plumber does his, it will probably be wrong anyway. And your savings will be minimal. I normally would not start until the ceiling was removed, and I do not install sheetrock. When one person wanted me to remove sheetrock, he asked me what the hatchet was for. I told him it was to remove the sheetrock unless he wanted to do it himself.
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