Help With Replacing Cast Iron Pipe

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Old 01-26-09, 08:48 PM
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Lightbulb Help With Replacing Cast Iron Pipe

First off please no plumbers saying CALL A PLUMBER! I'm a first time homeowner who works retail, but is getting better at these projects. Paying a plumber is not an option. that said....

OK guys, here's the issue. My main cast iron drain pipe that leads from my main floor to my basement has a crack in it. Or more precisely a very large pain in my butt crack. The crack runs from about a foot from the top of the pipe all the way down to the bell on the pipe below it. The pipe runs completely vertical, from the main floor down into my concrete. So from what I've gathered from numerous other forums and web sites i have to cut out the bad section of tube and replace it with PVC. Now i realize that once i remove this bad piece using(angle grinder??, sawzall?? any suggestions) there's a chance all of my plumbing attached to it above will shift. And i do not want that. So my best bet would be what? how do i prevent my pipes from shifting? what type of PVC do i use? what should i cut the pipe with? whats the best way to connect the cast iron pipe to the new PVC? Please someone point me in the right direction...

 
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Old 01-27-09, 09:36 PM
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You'll need to support the upper piping somehow. 2x4s and steel pipe hangers.

The easiest way to cut cast iron is with a rented snap cutter. I've had good luck with an angle grinder with a metal cutting disc. PVC replacement pipe with mission couplers finishes the project pretty easily.

Be sure to wear a mask and goggles when you cut the pipe. There will be dust and goop that you don't want to get on or in you.

Good luck!
 
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Old 01-27-09, 10:11 PM
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The easiest way to repair this would be to put an ad in the paper for a plumber... just kidding

If you could post some pictures of the piping, we could give some better instructions on supporting the pipe. A chain snapper is the fastest way to cut the pipe, but a sawzall or an angle grinder will also work with a little sweat.
 
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Old 01-28-09, 11:42 PM
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actually if the pipe is split chain cutters will just crush it and hopefully everything is supported properly because with the sudden support removed your stack is coming down and we have no idea what kind of damage may be caused but a trip to the emergency room would be a result IF the pipe drops to much to fast. an angle grinder with a diamond blade will cut it like butter but you have to get it all the way around or finish off with a sawzall, it is also messy with the grinded up steel powder coming off in the form of sparks. this is a hard n dangerous project, im just stating the obvious and a professional that is licensed, knows what they are doing , has the right tools and equipment, and knows what to do if this or that happens, and are insured for that reason would be a good choice in your situation, now the next time? well youll know a whole lot more than we can tell you from here.
 
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Old 01-31-09, 11:49 AM
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I have pictures of the piping but i can't really seem to figure out how to get it on here. it wants a url address....?? why can't i just insert pic?
 
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Old 01-31-09, 05:44 PM
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Actually, even I have a hard time with pictures on this site sometimes, so I recommend joining a photo hosting site such as photobucket.com, then upload the pictures there.
Then post the link to the pictures here and we will be able to view them
 
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Old 02-02-09, 09:38 AM
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Old 02-02-09, 11:14 AM
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all i can say is WOW ! i have never seen a vertical pipe look like that, it is like it is horizontal and has had a bunch of draino and such poured down it.

the location is going to make this a little difficult even for an experienced professional. youll have to rig something up to hold the upper portion or maybe the air duct will hold it from dropping. you can try it but i would highly recommend a plumber be called in to do this, cast iron pipe isnt light and thee is no telling what this one is gonna do as you cut it out.

with photobucket you can use the img code and we can see the pics right here on the board
 
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Old 02-02-09, 01:21 PM
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Hey Dan,

I have actually personally ran into this exact situation once before and am totally amazed at how this could happen. It is like the cast iron spreads apart. very strange.

The house I was replacing the pipe in was an older woman that rarely used the 2nd floor bathroom. Then one day she noticed a leak and after dissecting the walls to get access to the pipe, that is exactly what I discovered.

As far as replacement is concerned, I guess that would be determined by how mechanical the person is. It can be a do it yourself project, but on a scale of 1(easiest)-10(hardest) I would give it an 8.
 
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Old 02-02-09, 02:49 PM
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Had that happen at one of my rentals during a hard Chicago winter: 2" cast iron stack partially embedded in wall at corner of exterior wall behind kitchen cabinets and sink, clogged with cat litter above 1st floor sink, tenant on 2nd floor continued to use sink, stack filled with water, froze, cracked.

I was young, and broke - opened the wall, caulked the crack, and it held 'till next summer!

So when I stand there in the pulpit, waving my copy of the IRC and preaching the path of righteousness, remember I too was once a sinner .
 
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Old 02-04-09, 01:30 AM
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i have seen a rice blockage that expanded enough to split the pipe.

i agree with plumbingods on the 8 of difficulty.

but if something happens would you not want a plumber putting it against his insurance instead of you against yours?
 
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Old 02-04-09, 11:16 PM
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Judging from the pictures, it doesn't look like too bad of a job to me.

I'd cut off the hub near the floor so you can install a coupling on the stub of the cast iron pipe near the floor.

Cut off the damaged pipe leaving undamaged pipe for another coupling, and install plastic in between.

I'd certainly install some good support for the cast iron above, but there ought to be ways of doing that.

I think I'd be inclined to use a sawzall and a package of metal cutting blades for cutting the pipe.
 
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Old 02-06-09, 12:53 AM
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never done anything like that before have ya seattle?
 
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Old 02-06-09, 07:11 AM
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Seattle,

In most cases it can be as cut and dry as you have described, BUT the average homeowner has no idea how much that cast iron pipe weighs and if you have 20 feet of vertical pipe, as well as the fittings going to the bathroom fixtures, you will be well into the hundreds of pounds. If it is not properly braced, hung, or suspended and that pipe moves even an inch after you cut the pipe, you could have catastrophic results.

I do not like to scare people from doing things themselves but they do need to know the possible dangers so they can make an informed decision as to if they are still willing to do the job or call in a professional.
 
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