Solder over existing solder?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by breakpoint, May 25, 2011.

  1. breakpoint

    breakpoint New Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Hello all, I recently found a very very slight leak from my shower valve. I know it will become a problem when time comes. The remodeling was done by subcontractors, so is the repiping. Lucky enough that my contractor still answering my calls to resolve all the problems after he was paid. He told me he was going to solder over the existing solder to cover that leak. How can it be done? The blow torch will melt away any existing soder before he can apply the new solder. Am I right? I have read a lot on the Internet and knew it is not a good solution. I asked him if he should resolder the valve again after cleaning out the old solder. I am choosing between sending him away and hiring myself a plumber to do it the correct way. Please advise.
  2. SacCity

    SacCity In the Trades

    Sacramento, CA
    What he wants to goop on some soder on top of a failed jont?
    No way would that be resonable.
    The joint needs to be taken apart cleaned up and put back together...

    It is going to be burried behind the walls, behind the tile, last thing you want to do is risk having to rip out the finish work to repair a failed joint.

  3. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    I'm surprised he told you that is what his plan was.

    The joint needs to be CLEAN and there must be flux as well as the proper amount of heat in order for the solder to actually provide a proper seal.
  4. breakpoint

    breakpoint New Member

    Los Angeles, CA

    I kind of know what has to be done after getting a lot of good info from the Internet. I was deciding whether to let him tear down my wall and for him not really knowing what to do and end up with a bad leak. I don't want to end up without water for days and an opening on the wall with him running off with the mess.
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    At a minimum he will have to melt and disassemble the leaking joint. Wipe the excess solder off and out of the fittings. Clean any portions of the joint that are not tinned, flux the joint and sweat it again...

    No such fix as heat the joint and put more solder on it...

    If this is the quality of work he did on the rest of the plumbing it is all suspect...
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Another vote for doing it right. All plumbers know, that if a joint is leaking, it's internal.
    It needs to be disassembled and redone. If your "handyman" doesn't know this, then he shouldn't be trying to play at being a "plumber" in "your" home.
    What is his contractors number?
    Is he licensed and bonded and does he carry insurance?
    Does he have a plumbing license?
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    Once water has been in the joint, it is toast. It must be disassembled, cleaned, fluxed, and soldered. It can not be done by just adding more solder. If this "contractor" says otherwise, he is either absolutely incompetent or a liar. Maybe both. I would not let him back on my property for anything. Get a new contractor and/or plumber. I doubt if he is licensed.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    He CAN heat the existing solder to melt it so additional solder can be added to "cover up" the leak, BUT it will still be a bad joint because the problem is INSIDE the joint, not at the surface, and without flux, among other things, the new solder WILL NOT penetrate into the joint. It MUST be taken apart and redone properly once water has leaked out of the bad joint.
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    Any solder you can SEE on the joint is just incidental and cosmetic. The joint is sealed by solder which flowed between the sides of the socket and the wall of the pipe, and bonded to each. Since it is leaking, the hole or path where water is coming out, is contamated, and will not refill by just heating. And a glob of solder at the outside ridge is unreliable to say the least.
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