Removing/replacing lead trap

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by jdkimes, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. jdkimes

    jdkimes Engineer

    Messages:
    181
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    I'm making some plans to update a bathroom includding possibly replacing the tub and tiling the walls. In doing so I'll be removing the "dry"-wall behind the current tile (w/ help from JohnBridge.com). I know the tub drain trap is lead, probably original 1957, that leads into a cast iron drain system.
    -If I've had no leaks or problems w/ this piece of lead piping is there any reason to replace it during this work?
    I'd like to leave it to save myself the effort/headache since I've never work w/ lead or cast iron other than cutting it out and replacing w/ ABS.

    -If recommended to replace it where can I find some information on how to work w/ this type of plumbing?
    I've looked in my DIY material and found no information on lead piping
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
    New England
    Probably would be shear luck that the trap would line up with a new tub, so you're likely to have to replace it. There are couplings to transition from cast to pvc, or, they make an epoxy as a substitute lead to attach cast iron to the hub. My unprofessional opinon.
  3. jdkimes

    jdkimes Engineer

    Messages:
    181
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    The drain is like this-- brass drain to brass tailpiece lead trap to cast iron pipes.
    So I think I could get the new tub and brass drain pieces to line up with the lead.
    My main worry would be getting that lead trap out of the cast iron with out messing up the rest of the cast iron fittings. I guess if it's deemed necessary to replace this lead trap I could pay a plumber to do the work with the cast iron and lead that I can't do.
    Any further thoughts?
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
    New England
    Post a picture, it can really help the pros (not me!) give you some more valid opinions, rather than having to guess. But, if it were me, I'd get rid of the lead stuff. It might crack while you are mucking around, and you might not know...I'd rather put some new stuff in there so it will last another 50 years!
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,309
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Cast iron is difficult for a DIYer to work with especially if space is limited and if you have to have things in exact alignment within that space. Cast iron takes special tools to cut, some of which can hurt you. On top of all of that, you must install correct replacement parts properly as well as abiding by Code. There are some things that we DIYers eventually have to call in the pros. As Dirty Harry said, "A man's got to know his own weaknesses."
  6. jdkimes

    jdkimes Engineer

    Messages:
    181
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    I'd post a picture but at this point, it's all behind walls and under floors. I only know it's there because I finished a basement bathroom under this tub/bathroom last year, like I said I'm trying to do some planning on what I'll need to do.
    I thought about replacing it all at that time but had my hands full finishing the new plumbing/bathroom. Plus like I said, there wasn't and still is not a problem with it, so I figured why mess it up, in addition to what Gary said: I knew my limitations...I don't know jack about working on cast iron or lead, other than cutting the cast iron with the rented cutter and putting the rubber fittings/boots on to connect w/ the ABS.

    So if a miracle occurs and everything lines up I could keep using it (unless someone tells me there is an inherent reason to get rid of it (like lead fails after 60 yrs), otherwise probably best to hire pro to deal w/ the lead/cast iron.
    The other thought is that I might just keep the old steel tub and have it refinished- there's nothing wrong with and I don't think I'll be able to get a bigger/better one in there. The reason for the bath remodel is the cabinets, crappy tile/rotting drywall, and linoleum floors.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,309
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    trap

    A drum trap is going to give you a problem sometime and a lead one could cause an impossible problem. Call a plumber to remove it and the lead pipe and install a new drain line and "P" trap.
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