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Kitchen: How to access water line under floor when basement ceiling is finished

Kitchen: How to access water line under floor when basement ceiling is finished


Old 07-26-07, 06:39 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 15
Kitchen: How to access water line under floor when basement ceiling is finished

This is a plumbing question as part of a first major kitchen renovation in our 27-yr home. I've done all the tear down in preparation for folks to come in soon to lay hardwood floor and then new cabinets.

Right now all the old cabinets are gone and the entire old flooring has been removed, down to the sub-floor which is 5/8" plywood I think. The challenge I have is that I am doing the plumbing (relocating the sink rough-in, and also hook-up for fridge icemaker). I need advice on alternatives to plumb the fridge water.

The fridge is on the total opposite side of the kitchen where the sink is located so I dont have direct access, and I can't access from the basement since it is finished with stippled ceiling (sigh). Previously I ran flex 1/4" copper tubing all around three walls of the room behind the lower kitchen cabinets to hookup to the fridge, but that is now removed. With new cabs coming in, I am reluctant to go that route due to damage and leak possibilities. I'd like a more solid solution.

I know there is a pair of pipes under the subfloor crossing the room through the joists, but this is about 4 or 5 feet from the location of the fridge.

Suggestions on alternatives would be most appreciated.

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Old 07-26-07, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 450
I would bite the bullet and make some holes in the basement ceiling. Run PEX pipe(or copper) over to the fridge and put a fridge connector in the wall(a plastic box with a valve in it). You might be able to match the ceilings back together with new mud and paint(I've never tried but everything can be fixed). I would say thats the best option in the long run.
Old 07-28-07, 09:29 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 15
Running copper thru joist bay to box with shutoff valve in wall

After much estimating where the water supply lines were crossing under my kitchen floor, I decided to cut into the subfloor near the wall where the fridge will be located.

The joists are parallel to that wall and the hot and cold pipes (3 inches apart) are perpendicular to the joists, and the distance from the cold supply to where I need copper to go is about 3 feet. I removed some drywall so I can eventually recess a box with a valve. (What is that box called and would Home Depot stock it?)

I guess I will have to drill a decent sized hole down thru the bottom horizontal member of the inside wall frame to push 1/2" copper thru from the bottom.

Here is my question. The 1/2" copper pipe in the joist bay is reasonably accessible by hand and torch. However only about 10" of pipe is exposed in the joist bay and I dont know if there will be any wiggle room or how much wiggle room I need to insert a copper T fitting.

If I cut into the copper, do I need to make 2 cuts and how much exactly should I remove to be sure (a) I can squeeze in the "T", and (b) there is enough surface area touching for a good solder joint.

Is this feasible?

Thanks for your help. Anything else I should know about?

Old 07-29-07, 09:25 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Not to worry about the T. If you can't find a T without "stops" inside, file out the "stops" and the T will slide all the way over one pipe half and back to center it afterwards. Sand and flux everything ahead of sliding on the T, and thenm maybe add some more flux at the entrance to each end of the T once in final position. I have had to do many such copper plumbing repairs with stopless connectors for reasons you cite.

Oh. Important!: Obviously with a T, as opposed to just a stopless connector, it is imperative that you have the center cut out of the pipe, say about 3/4 inch, so that when you center it, the water can go up the T!. I have never done a T this way. Only couplings. You would obviously have to have T that does not have hubs on each end, for this theory to work.

But first, by making one cut through your copper line, you will know when you try to spread the two pipe halves apart, if what I suggest is even necesary or not. Maybe there is give there and a conventional T will work for you.

Last edited by ecman51; 07-29-07 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Added last two important paragraphs
Old 07-29-07, 10:57 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 15
Thanks ecman.

The pipe is at the bottom of the notched joist and rests on what looks like tar paper. The notch is approx 5/8" by 3" passing hot and cold copper. Looks like there is about 1/8" clearance above the tar paper.

Given the tight access, what advice do you have re cutting the pipe so I dont mess it up? Cut with a hacksaw blade in bare hand or mini-handle? There is no room for a mini pipe cutter. Seems like I'll only have one chance to get it right. How much tolerance is there for not-a-perfect cut?

Next question. Once I take the plunge and commit, how do I make sure I get enough water out of the horizontal pipe and without wetting the ceiling below? I am thinking of turning on upper and lower faucets (maybe even all in house to be safe), to let as much as possible drain out, then leave open a path (two faucets only) from front to back of house so I can blow out what's left. Then have rags ready in the joist bay in case of more.

BTW, in another forum, someone suggested I use two slip couplings and make a T with two nipples same size as approx 5" cutout, then solder.

What do you think so far?

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