Scale in Shower P-Trap, Concrete Slab Floor

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by albert436, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. albert436

    albert436 New Member

    Nov 6, 2009
    San Diego
    I am leasing an older property and remodeling it to set up a day-spa. The property has been unoccupied and the shower drain was blocked.

    The property manager sent out a plumbing company, the guy who showed up God bless him, was a young guy, with braces on his teeth. That concerned me, as a friend has told me to always try to get a guy with gray hair.

    Anyway he stuck a small snake on a drill down the drain and got out a hair gunk, but said he couldn't get the snake around the turn in the p trap, due to a high degree of scaling in the old pipe.

    His proposed solution was to jackhammer up the floor of the shower and replace the cast iron with plastic pipe. :eek: Obviously I would like to avoid this.

    He also said he didn't want to put a jet in there because 1) he wouldn't be able to get it around the corner of the bend in the trap, and 2) it therefore might exploded the pipe. He was uninterested in trying to approach the trap from the other end via a cleanout or whatever, and even though I told him where the lateral ran, he seemed to not grasp the basic anatomy of the system.

    The scaling will supposedly (and understandably) cause more clogs in the future.

    I am wondering if there are any solutions to this. What's the real risk of jetting exploding the pipe? Might it be accessible on the downstream side via a cleanout? Could it be jetted from each end?

    Are there any flexible wire brushes that could be ran through there to do some descaling?

    Wouldn't jackhammering the floor violate the moisture barrier? And just be really expensive? The trap is down about a foot.

    Thanks everyone.

  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Aug 9, 2009
    There are snakes that will go through a 2" trap. Get someone with gray hair that has the right equipment.

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  4. albert436

    albert436 New Member

    Nov 6, 2009
    San Diego

    Thanks, I'm gonna call my friend who is in the field building maintenance and get a referral to someone who can give me a second opinion.

    BTW is there a jet or cutting device/brush that can fit through there?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    There is almost zero risk of a jetter exploding the pipe, but there is also almost zero possibility of getting a jet into the pipe and around the trap. You may have a trap with a cleanout plug in the bottom and that is where his snake is getting stuck. That type of trap should never have been used under the floor, but I have run into many of them. Drain piping is installed in such a way that you CANNOT normally snake if "from each end".

    The pipe is too small to get any effective tool into it, but first I would make sure that scale is the real problem. I have had a couple of drains where that was the case, but usually only when it is 1 1/2" pipe.

    As soon as you "jackhammer" the floor you might as well resign yourself to installing a new shower, or at least a new floor and the lower 10" of tile on the walls.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2009
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