Repair advice for bathroom plumbing + flooring

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Jesse Hazel

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Details: 1930's house, bathroom floors have a 3-4" mortar bed that they tiled over. Fairly certain waste pipes are lead although this one had an extreme bend at the beginning that seemed to be inset into a larger pipe after ~5". And the larger pipe had a strong green patina that sure did look like verdigris. Were brass waste pipes ever a thing? I could not tell how they were joined and my crummy borescope did not reveal any good/useful information once inside.

Problem: At some point previous owner replaced toilet and possibly the flange and supply line. I assume some sort of leak, possibly around the flange, has damaged a corner of the floor over time. Its begun to seep through the floor to the room below. The back 1/4 portion of the floor has raised up significantly causing the toilet to tilt forward. You can step on it and it's like the tile sheet is just completely loose from the mortar. Picture shows an orange overlay of how it's sloped upward toward the corner. I do not currently have access underneath (will need to cut out plaster ceiling to get to it).

bathroom2.jpg
bathroom3.jpg



In the meantime I have pulled the toilet and installed one of those hybrid wax + rubber gaskets. It seems to have remedied it for now, but I don't have enough shims to level this thing. Seems like it would need 3/4" or possibly more. Even if I did, it's not permanent. The floor obviously needs to be fixed. This would be a much easier project if it weren't for that damn mortar bed.

  1. I've done floors and toilets before. I thought about maybe taking my angle grinder + diamond blade and cutting a square perimeter around the toilet and pulling it up. Not sure what I would do after that though. So I'm leaning towards this may not be a DIY repair. Someone feel free to talk me into doing this myself if you think it's not that bad. Looking at stuff like this (pic#4) gives me anxiety: http://www.srwcontractinginc.com/blog/2014/4/27/y7k80d4na9dkihix4x5uzsbeombar3
  2. If I did hire someone else, who would I be looking for here? Just a plumber? Plumber + floor company? General contractor? Seems like a dumb question but I've hired plumbers before and every single time they've done a half-assed job. I have no qualms with the trade, I just seem to be hiring the wrong folks based on bad recommendations. So that's why I'm not clear if a good plumber is equipped to deal with this whole thing or if I need someone else as well.
  3. Is it possible to salvage this tile floor? If I were building from scratch, it would not be my first choice. But it's a neat house and I'm trying hard to preserve its aesthetic where possible.
Appreciate anyone's input.
 

breplum

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That link to srwcontracting shows pic. 5 with a flat vent on the shower ABS which is WRONG and no cleanout for that run, which is reqd. for drain runs on first floor when over five ft in length.
Unfortunately, you likely are going to need to do a full rehab of old plumbing. Lead drains are long past terminal lifespan. Tile work has failed terminally as well.
Sure cut out the ceiling to see what is going on underneath, but really, start facing the facts that any home built in that era requires lots of money to keep maintained.
GC is what you should hire.
 

Jesse Hazel

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Thank you for the advice breplum. I've been calling around today to try to get someone out and so far everyone I've tried is not taking on new customers. Fun times. Obviously I'll keep trying though.
 
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