Standing Water, Slow Drain in new tub install

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by spoon, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. spoon

    spoon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Ontario
    Recently had a new tub installed as part of a complete re-do of a surround tile job that was done poorly the first time round. Contractor offered to put in new tub as they had chipped the previous one, and were redoing all the initial tile anyway.

    During installation, when old tub was ripped out and new one was being installed, the contractor had to remove the drain line because of misalignment. He pointed out how amazed he was at how clean the pipes were for an older installation. I said we were having drainage issues and had used vinegar and alkaseltzer and it had cleared the problem up perfectly. We had a good chuckle about it because he hadn't heard of that trick. The old tub was draining perfectly the week before the work.

    And now... the new tub drains very, very slowly. I can see grit in the drain and some larger pieces of debris and can feel hardened material on the 1 1/2" pvc drain with a finger. The contractor insists it is a pre-existing condition based on our conversation above. The only reason we had the conversation is that he was amazed how clean the line was!

    Anyway, attached you can see the picture of the drain. I had to "dry out" the drain with paper towel because it has standing water in it.

    My questions:

    1. Is the standing water in the drain, hours after the tub finally drains, a clear sign of pipe blockage directly in the tub drain?

    2. What is the likelihood that, if the contractor washed material down the drain during tiling, that a larger issue exists further down the line?

    3. Is it acceptable practice to wash any material down a drain during a tiling job?

    Any advice on countering the argument of pre-existing condition, if you agree with me, would be appreciated.
    DSC_0569.jpg DSC_0571.JPG
    Spoon
  2. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    622
    Location:
    NC
    Have you checked the tub drain linkage assembly?
  3. spoon

    spoon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Ontario
    Not sure what the terminology refers to. It doesn't have a trip lever for the drain if that's what you mean.
  4. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    622
    Location:
    NC
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That drain is tapped for a "push/pull" or "lift and turn" plug so there is no linkage. It is seldom acceptable to flush tile grount residue down the drain, and I have had several instances where it completely closed the drain, and in one case it filled the main drain line for the entire house. There is no way for us to tell WHY your tub does not drain, but since vinegar and alkaseltzer, (or baking sode), may make a good volcano for a science project, but do nothing to clear the drain, it could be a "preexisting" situation.
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,156
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    That sure looks like mortar or grout residue. This is so common in the industry and shameful that such little respect is offered to clients new purchases.

    One common practice with tile crews is to send the youngest employee to do the grouting. It is often these "Green Horns" that do the most damage.

    JW
  7. spoon

    spoon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Ontario
    To test my theory that it is just the immediate tub drain causing issues, as suggested by the standing water, I directed full shower flow thru the overflow pipe. No backing up at all after a minute. Within 3-4 seconds the same flow in the tub is backing up.

    As for the vinegar treatment, we had water over our ankles after a shower before for about a week, getting progressively worse. After treating there was zero backup, so it's not just a perception that it helped, it was night and day. The grime free pipes that have been there for over 10 years suggest it did something as well.




    Thanks for your responses.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,013
    Location:
    New England
    Acid disolves the calcium in cement so what's left is sand and other aggragates that may be in the mix. How quickly it does this depends on the strength of the acid. Most vinegar isn't all that strong, but leave it long enough, and it will do it. Had some residue in a plastic bucket that didn't get washed out completely...covered it with vinegar overnight, and what was left just rinsed out. A quick flush with it won't do much unless you can add some scrubbing action or use a much stronger acid (stronger acids can be dangerous - be careful and read and follow the warnings on the label). Weak acids over long periods of time created things like Carlsbad caverns, and numerous other really significant cave systems in the world all on weak acid rainwater.
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