Bathtub Drain Tie-In - Help Needed!

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FeelingDrained

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First, I just want to take a moment to thank Terry for this wonderful and informative forum! Although I have some remodeling experience, I have been reading quite a bit over the past few days, and have learned a great deal. Thank you!

Now, on to the problem at hand. Last week we discovered that water was leaking around our tub (a poorly installed insert, hiding a damaged tub and wall, installed by the previous homeowner before we bought the house). By this point, I have torn everything out down to the studs, and replaced any water damaged materials. I am now prepping for a new install in our 3 wall alcove. Since the alcove is large enough, we decided to upgrade to a slightly wider bathtub (previous tub was 30" and new tub is 32"), and as a result, will need to relocate the drain slightly. However, this is where the problem lies.

This tub is on the first floor, directly over concrete slab. There is a round opening approximately 12" where the PVC waste line enters the alcove, vertically from underneath, through a plastic sleeve that was presumably set when the foundation was poured. Whoever installed the previous bathtub cut the vertical drain pipe just long enough to clear the plastic sleeve, and then glued 2 PVC street elbows to the drain, and then glued the tub drain pipe directly to the street elbows. (After re-reading, this may sound confusing, so I've attached a photo to show what I am attempting to describe).

How can I remove the old tub drain, relocate the drain tie-in, and fix this?

Being that the vertical pipe sits at the bottom of the opening in the slab, I can't get a hand saw down in there. With no straight sections of pipe or nipples above that, I have nowhere else to cut or any usable flange to work with. I can't imagine if I cut a street elbow off below the joint that that surface would be usable. What options do I have? Heat gun on the pipe to try and remove (I've heard of others attempting this technique in a pinch, although I know it's not ideal)? Perhaps I could get in below the first street elbow using a dremel with a cutting disk, but I may have to penetrate the plastic sleeve in the foundation to get that low?!

Can someone please tell me the best way to approach this, and how I should attach the new plumbing properly? I'm assuming it'll involve topping the PVC with a trap adapter as well (in order to receive the new tub drain), correct?

Thanks in advance!

***Sorry for the double post. I'm new here and not sure which forum this belongs in.***
 

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CountryBumkin

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It looks like you should be able to get a blade in there and cut the fitting just below the elbow. I have small hand saw handle that a hacksaw blade attaches to (I've even wrapped the end of a hacksaw blade with a rag and cut like that). PVC cuts pretty easily.

Somewhere below ground there is a P-trap. You may want to confirm it is in good condition while you still can.

The tricky part of that job is going to be to get everything back together (glued up) properly as you set the tub in place. Is there any way to cut a hole in the wall so you can have an opening to look/work through as you set the Tub in place?

Lastly, I'm not a plumber so I haven't done this before, but I read here that you should make all the tub connections (drain and overflow) first then set the tub in place (don't try to install the piping first then align to tub drain/overflow opening after tub is installed.
 

Dj2

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A recip saw with a long blade can cut the drain deep.

However, first dig out all the sand around the drain and the trap, to determine where to cut. Also create an access door in the wall behind the overflow, for easy installation.

My gut feeling is that this job may be too much for you to handle, as there are many things here requiring experience. If that's the case, get a plumber to help you here. It will be money well spent.
 

FeelingDrained

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Thank you both for the responses.

I sounds like my fears may be confirmed in that I will have no option but to try to cut off underneath the street elbows.

As CountryBumpkin mentioned, I am planning on attaching the tub drain prior to the install. I know it is hard to see in the photo, but when you look at the wall behind the existing drain, there is already an access panel in place... it's just that the cover is sitting overtop of it at the moment, as there are still clothes in that closet that I didn't want to get dirty while working. I will be removing the access panel when performing the install.
 

Terry

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I like to assemble the tub drain on the tub, take it off and then install to the p-trap.
Then I drop the tub down and thread in the drain the overflow.
 

FeelingDrained

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Terry,
Thanks for the tip regarding the tub drain. Can you see any other way around the current piping situation, or do you agree that I just need to find a way to cut off both the street elbows and refit?
 

FeelingDrained

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Just wanted to give you all a quick update.

Thanks to CountryBumpkin's suggestion, I was able to get a half-length sawz-all style blade down underneath the lowest joint. With the base wrapped in a rag, I was able to cut through the pipe. I did cut a flap to look underneath the sleeve at the p-trap, but it extends back underneath the slab in such a way that I would have to cut out some of the slab to get to the joint behind it, so I don't see any way to replace the entire trap as Terry suggested.

Tonight I will try to dry fit the tub to layout the tub drain location, and then attempt to piece together a PVC offset accordingly. This time (if possible) I will fit with a trap adapter.

Thanks!
 
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