Grout in shower drain (ABS)

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by feather, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. feather

    feather New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Does anyone know of a safe solution/way to remove grout from ABS pipe?

    The tiler washed grout down a shower drain and now we have a major blockage. So far the only solution appears to be to cut out the affected section of pipe. Not my first choice as it means breaking up the tile floor, part way up the walls and having to retile the whole thing!

    Thanks
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I don't know of anything that removes tile grout that doesn't hurt the pipes too. I have no idea why tile setters dump bits of tile, grout and mortar down plumbing drains. That is totally unacceptable building practice, and the tile setter will need to fix this. You had a perfectly working plumbing system, until the tile setter got lazy and decided to cement the drain shut.
    All he had to do, was walk outside, and clean his tools there.
    I had one job where the tile setter had dumped broken tiles down the toilet drain. I wondered if that was sabotage to the homeowner or just old fashioned ignorance.
     
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  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    Yakima, WA
    You use grout on tile because it is basically unaffected by water, so once it sets, water isn't going to remove it. Go after the tile setter, make him pay for the job. As Terry says, this is unacceptable building practice and a professional tile setter knows better. Or if he doesn't know better now, he will after he or his company pays the plumbing bill!
     
  5. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple BATHROOM DESIGN & BUILD for both Canada & the US

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Occupation:
    Design Work World Wide: Bathrooms Vancouver Area
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Tile Guy dumped grout down drain.

    Like the boys said. Not Good.

    It takes little effort to plug the drain and keep the grout out of your homes system. Dumping grout down the drain and leaving it is horrible and shows no respect for a clients home.

    If a small amount where to drop in and the grout was still wet a long washout with cold or hot water would convert the grout to sand and wash away the portland cement. Removing sand from a PTrap is hard to do and replacing the PTrap is the best approach.

    As sad as it seems this is a common practice and one that can be avoided if the test plug is kept in until the tile job is finished.


    JW
     
  6. feather

    feather New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Thanks guys. There was a plug - but apparently it was easily removed. I guess we're demo-ing the shower!
     
  7. MASTERPLUMB777

    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Occupation:
    Retired Master Plumber
    Location:
    Texas

    I just ran a electric snake with a 3/8" cable it breaks it out just fine!
     
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I used muriatic acid to open a drain like that. You have to "suck it out" and put in fresh acid as it gets "exhausted". I had one 3" sewer line through a house that was completely filled with grout for about 20'. That had to be cut out and replaced.
     
  9. Hairyhosebib

    Hairyhosebib New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    I actually agree with Yoda. LOL TILE GUYS DON"T GIVE A CRAP UNTIL IT HAPPENS IN THEIR HOUSE!!It would be great if a short masonry bit attachment could be put on the end of a sewer machine cable and it would just drill a hole through it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If it would drill through grout, it would have absolutely no problem drilling through ABS or PVC plastic.
     
  11. Hairyhosebib

    Hairyhosebib New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    You certainly do have a point there. I'm used to working with cast iron.
     
  12. ResPlumber

    ResPlumber Plumber

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have had success only one time getting grout of a shower drain. I was able to chip it out using a long screwdriver, shop vac with the little hose and a snake. I would chip down as far as I could with the screwdriver then suck out the pieces with the shop vac to get where I could not with the screwdriver I used the snake to bang and loosen up the grout then suck it out it took a while but I was lucky and it ended up working.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2011
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Usually it flows around the bottom of the trap and fills the entire "U" bend, then you cannot get to the section between the bottom of the "U" and the outlet.
     
  14. KateCreative

    KateCreative New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto
    Is muriatic acid safe on all drains? My tiler washed all the chunks of grout down the drain and into the shower trap.
    Now it's backed up. Trying to avoid breaking through the ceiling in the unit below me to get at it. Plumber has an industrial
    snake and shop vac to try. But the acid sounds helpful if it's okay on the metal pipes.
     
  15. MASTERPLUMB777

    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Occupation:
    Retired Master Plumber
    Location:
    Texas
    Muriatic acid causes Noxious Fumes and cannot run a snake down after it has been used, because will ruin the snake and burn the Plumber
     
  16. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Over the past decades I found this is what tile installers do with total disregard for the drainage system.

    So having faced this delima over the past 4 decades I decided to make my own grout/ cement breaker tool :)

    I took a piece of 1/8" steel welded some small chain onto it drilled a hole in the steel so it would fit in the female end of a snake and SLOWLY allowed the chains to knock loose the grouting and then use a decent wet dry to remove the debris so it doesn't go past the trap

    Again slowly feed the snake in allowing the chain to knock the gouting lose
     
  17. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    There is one other option General Pipe Cleaners 1CG 1" ClogChopper
     
  18. tbenton

    tbenton New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Location:
    Virginia

    Terry, Can't blame our grout clogged shower drain on a contractor...my husband did it. He swears he put a towel over the drain in the fiberglass pan in our small stand alone bedroom bathroom shower on second floor BUT yet enough got down there somehow and its blocked. I took the first shower in it yesterday and the pan filled up pretty quickly and almost overflowed and I take fast showers! I stuck a metal rod thru the holes in the drain cap and hit solid stuff a few inches down. It finally drained after many hour but now what? We have septic tank and no windows in the small bathroom so don't want to use acid. Would any of the concrete dissolvers on the market do the trick? I also read about CLR but I use it for toilets when we get crusty stuff from our alkaline water in there but can't imagine it getting thru that hard portland cement grout. I fear that trying to chip at it and vacuuming it out or use a chopper type auger (General Pipe Cleaners 1CG 1" ClogChopper) might send it down further and cause more blockage we could never get to. The only one saving grace may be that the shower pan and PVC piping can be seen in the laundry room ceiling but its near the furnace/ big duct work and looks really hard to get to. He is more than willing and capable to cut out the blocked PVC and put in new one but if he can't get to it??? Thats why I am asking if any of those concrete dissolving liquids might turn the hardened grout mushy enough to force it thru all the PVC and outside and not make more trouble? You have helped me in the past so here I am again. Thanks in advance, Terri
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  19. pipemagic20

    pipemagic20 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2020
    Location:
    Australia
    A safe solution that will not damage the pipe is to use a product called Croc Crete from Pipe Magic.
    The process is, if there is any water or gunk in the pipe at present, this will need to be removed using a wet-vac, or dragging rags through the line etc.
    After this is done, you then poor the Croc Crete solution into the pipe. The Croc Crete solution requires to remain in contact with the grout for a 12-24hr period. This will dissolve and soften the grout and allow to easily flush or remove from the drain.
    Pipe Magic have a number of videos on the Croc Crete product, they also supply pipe relining supplies.
    Thanks
    Ryan
     
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