Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pipe is done!

Top of fitting
Check one more major item off the Bathroom to do list!  I was concerned about the remaining cracked section of cast iron and researched ways to repair it but came to the conclusion that the best way to repair it was to replace it with PVC.  That approach would have worked great but I was concerned with possibly cracking the fitting in the basement. 

"Just replace the fitting then," one may say.  Well, that would have taken me at least a weak to do as the fitting was partially concreted in the corner and had every fixture on the first floor connected to it. 

We're talkin' kitchen sink, washer, toilet and bathroom sink!  And to make things harder the pipes for the washer, toilet and sink penetrate and are concreted into a load bearing wall.  I know I have to replace the whole thing eventually but I wouldn't have met Mrs. Forest's deadline if I tackled it at the time.  So there's one more thing added to the house to do list.

Bottom of fitting
I ended up solving the cracked pipe problem by lining the 4 inch cast iron with a 3 inch PVC pipe. I measured the length needed to line the cracked section and extend into the cast iron fitting in the basement. The length came out to 60 inches but of course when I inserted the PVC into the cast iron it would only go to about 28 inches. I thought maybe that would be sufficient but realized I was wrong after pouring water down the pipe and noticing water seeping through the crack in the basement section.

A decision had to be made:
  • Leave the pipe at 28 inches and try to epoxy the crack in the basement
  • Attempt to pound the pipe in the 32 inches and run the risk of cracking the fitting or getting the PVC stuck short of the 60 inches
I went with the 2nd choice and I'm glad I did because it worked like a charm!  Next was to complete the connection to the PVC coming down from the 2nd floor, which went together fairly quick.  And finally the leak test - YES, IT PASSED!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to the Bathroom!

I have been given an ultimatum by Mrs. Forest - "Finish the bathroom before school starts or I'm outahere!"  Lucky for me school starts a week after Labor Day!  Also, lucky for me "Finish" means a working tub and toilet.  The main obstacle to having working fixtures being the cracked cast iron drain pipe that was dumping water into the basement.

I had previously spent a lot of time (years) thinking about how to go about removing the pipe and the consequences of doing something wrong (causing more cracks or failing the pipe above).  Well, I finally MANNED UP yesterday and took out my trusty reciprocating saw.

I made sure that the pipe had adequate support above and planned my cut below the cracked portion of pipe.  The proximity of the pipe to the wall and the box-out sides didn't make cutting any easier and it took roughly an hour to get through or at least mostly through the pipe - the pipe cracked the rest of the way to complete the cut.

After the cut it took awhile to remove the 7ft section of pipe as the top was hung up at the connection to the new PVC above.  Plus the pipe was heavy as A$$.  I decided to try and crack the pipe into smaller pieces by hitting it with a small sledge hammer.  I was hitting it up high and it ended up cracking down low so I scrapped that idea.  The small section came out easily and the larger section came out with a little more effort.

After I got the pipe out of the way I discovered what I was hoping not to find on the remaining pipe - a large crack running down to the floor of the kitchen.  I'm fairly certain that I didn't cause this crack during removal as there is a good amount of corrosion and section loss of the pipe.

Hopefully there is enough sound section of pipe for me to connect to new PVC pipe.