Tommy Mac Discussions Forums Fix-it Forum: Home Improvement & Do It Yourself Repair Forum Old house plumbing nightmare! Help someone!

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    • #75053

      So my 1896 house was expanded twice, once in 1915 and once in the 40s. The house had the kitchen and dining room added in 1915 and the back bath and laundry room added in the 40s. When we moved in last fall the main sewer line was partly clogged by grease from the kitchen and tree roots from a line of Elms about 30 feet away.

      Yesterday the sewer line backed up again. This time it was in the ‘new’ addition. The plumber couldn’t get the snake through so they sent down a camera. Where the line goes under the original 1896 foundation it has collapsed to about 1 1/2 inches!

      The lines are all under the concrete floor and it looks like at least 20 feet will have to be dug up and replaced, at some very large cost.

      So, the basement is for storage only. The ceilings are a maximum of 6′ 3″ tall but mostly about 6′. Instead of jack hammering the floor out couldn’t I have the new PVC lines run along the walls and to the main line in the old basement where it rises to the second floor bathroom? They would have to punch holes through two brick foundation walls, but it has to be cheaper than tearing up the floor, right? Then the original lines could be filled with cement or something, right?

      There is a floor drain in the first addition for an old laundry area and the drain line from the furnace. I don’t plan on ever using the basement laundry area, it’s too low and dark and ugly to use, so the floor drain would only be needed for the furnace drain. I would think that could be added to the new plastic line easier, plus it would be closer to the furnace anyway.

      I have no objections to seeing 4″ PVC on the walls so wouldn’t that work just as well and cost less?

      The plumbers are coming out next Monday to give me an estimate so I’d like to know what can and can’t be done. I know the bathroom and laundry area will have to be vented and brought up to code, but I was planning to gut them anyway. The bedroom above them is half gutted anyway due to a bad ceiling, so it’s not a big deal to me. No finish work will need to be done, just the rough plumbing.

      So, can anyone offer any pros or cons on this mess? I can’t really afford a $10,000 repair but something has to be done.

    • #305403

      Indoor plumbing was only for the urban
      elite in 1896. It seems more likely
      that it was added in 1915, but you did say it goes under the 1896 floor…
      There wouldn’t have been a sewer in
      1896, but a cesspool. Sewers weren’t available until urban planning of the 1960’s (or later), and they were clay pipe. The original plumbing was likely cast iron, and that can’t just collapse.
      Either you’ve got a hell of leak (broken
      pipe), or possibly rust blockage, and
      it may be local (i.e. not the whole
      length of the pipe under thefoundation).
      It seems a plausible shot to dig up a length where the blockage is known to be, shear it out, and join the ends with a new section of pipe. At the
      very least, a direct inspection would
      tell you whether a repair is feasible.
      I’d not take a jack hammer to a basement slab – you’re going to crack
      it if it’s not reinforced. I’d do it neat with a concrete saw. You’ll need to over cut a little bit – that’s ok. Break the piece to be removed with a sledge hammer if necessary. Use a sawsall to cut the pipe. If a repair is possible, I’d leave an access point right there poking through the basement floor when the pipe is replaced. You’re going
      to have to punch through something anyway, and the repair-it approach won’t
      require any new code fixups – you’re grandfathered in. Your plumbers
      won’t like this precision approach –
      they want to do a big job and charge you plenty. -Stuart

    • #305417

      largely based on you & what we know about you,,, $ is always the common denominator, anyway – good luck, bruno !
      decorative conc artisan
      conc repairs

    • #305421

      of pvc do it ? ? ?

      hope you heal fast,,, plumbers’re not cheap,,, wh ? ? ?
      decorative conc artisan
      conc repairs

    • #305488

      DWV pipe under a thin concrete floor? $6200 and two days work!!

      So 8 feet of 4″ PVC is cheap. As is the 2″ PVC, P trap, and the air admittance valve for the floor drain. A couple of Femco rubber connectors and that’s about it in parts. Certainly less than $100.

      “The pipe is several feet under the concrete”. Yeah right! The bottom of the open, and illegal, floor drain is exactly 5 1/2 inches below floor level. That means the top of the pipe is less than 2 inches below the floor level. Darned if I’m paying a couple of guys and a foreman $6000 to open up a thin veneer of concrete to replace the DWV pipe!

      Time to buy the parts and rent a jackhammer for a day, even though I think a hand sledge and a chisel might work almost as well. I’m sure if I threw $200 at my son-in-law and offered him a good steak off the grill he’d help me for a day. Heck, I’ll even throw in a new set of work clothes and a bottle of cologne!

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