Repair PVC drain pipe - small leak

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by TomD, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. TomD

    TomD New Member

    Oct 9, 2009
    We just moved into this house of ours and I noticed a smallish drip in the basement on the pvc toilet drain pipe from the bathroom that was remodeled before the house went up for sale. It is small drip and being a DIY'er I thought it might be easier on us if I just tried to fix it myself instead of hassling with the seller - who might not even be around anymore.

    What do you pro plumbers do to fix a pvc joint that has a smallish leak?
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    You can not satisfactorily repair a leak in a PVC or ABS joint. It will have to be cut out and new pieces installed. The basic reason for this is that PVC and ABS joints are solvent welded. What we commonly call "glue" is not glue at all, it is solvent that briefly melts the surfaces of the pipe and fitting long enough to slide them together. The two surfaces combine together and dry forming the weld. You might be able to make the connection of the new pieces with a banded coupling which would be easier than a regular slip joint, but if this is at the toilet end, probably removing the flange, closet bend and beyond the leak would be the best. Then start rebuilding from the cut and back to a new flange.
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    First thing to check is if it is really a joint that is leaking, or that a leak higher up is accumulating on that lip at the joint, and making it look like it is there. If you can physically see water coming out of the joint, then you'll probably need to replace that section of pipe. Dry it off and then have someone flush the toilet while you watch. If it is say a poor seal between the toilet and the flange, repair that or the floor will rot and give you other problems. Depending on where it is and access, you can buy a special tool to ream out a piece of pipe from a fitting so you can install a new section. Depending on what's involved, and since you may never need the tool again, it may be cheaper to just cut the pipe and rebuild, if it is truely leaking rather than the flange/toilet seal leaking.

    Note, it wouldn't be the first time that someone forgot the cement! Can you see any purple from the cleaner/primer? (note, not every place requires the purple primer - there is a clear one, but the purple at least shows it was prepped for the cement).
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Can you post a picture that is 800 x 800 or less?
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    The same thing we do for a "biggish" leak. Cut it out and redo it.
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