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  • Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

    Hi there,

    I have a major dilemma, and I hope you guys can offer a few answers. (The answers I'm looking for do not include 'hire a plumber'. I will explain why in a minute.) I had a fire in my house, and the 2nd floor bathroom was one of the areas that was not fire damaged, but the firefighters did a lot of damage because the fire was in the next room. Our insurance company's initial estimate included just replacing broken plaster and things like that in the bathroom. However, when the fixtures were pulled out to do the sheetrock, they discovered major structural 'anomalies' that needed to be corrected (which I wont get into because they arent relevant). We also uncovered a plumbing nightmare. We were also alerted to the fact that the main cast iron stack has a huge crack in it running its full length, and the 90 deg turn down is crumbling. The plumber hired by the fire restoration company told us that they would change the bare minimums to get up to code, but the damaged pipe is on us. To replace the stack with PVC until the top of the back to back tee (not even the whole vent through the roof (with everything exposed, mind you), he quoted us $1300. He is calling for $300 in material and 6 hours of labor.

    First of all, I'm not knocking anyone's profession, but charging almost $200 an hour is obscene. I also know what PVC costs, and this job doesn't need $300 worth of it. We're talking $11 for each 10' section of 3", a couple 90 deg's, a couple 45 deg's, a combo, and a couple san-tees. MAYBE $100. (and we all know he's just going up to home depot to get his pipe and fittings anyway)

    Have a look at these pictures and you tell me. See any code violations?











    The guy also just sent us a bill (which should've gone to the ins company, but I'm glad I saw it first) for $800 to remove the toilet, (steel, not cast iron) bathtub, and sink. That took him 2 hours at the absolute most. So I don't know what this guy's deal is, but I'm getting the feeling he's crooked.

    So since it is a very straightforward layout, I want to pull a permit and do the job myself (it is legal in my area). I have done major plumbing before, including a new kitchen and bath by myself on the first floor. I just want to double check my plan with some pros to make sure I'm not missing anything obvious, since this has to pass inspection.

    What I want to do is run a combo tee on its back through this existing hole (hole measures about 5" square - those water pipes are coming out too),



    giving the toilet the straight flow, and the wet vent going vertical (I know I can't use a san-tee in this position). Then using a pair of 45 degs, bring the PVC down and away from the wall a few inches, then make the horizontal run (with the bathtub combo tie in) and the 90 deg turn down, with a transition coupling to the cast iron at the floor. (as long as the bathtub drain dumps into the stack at or below the closet flange, it does not require a separate vent, correct? Would you recommend putting one in anyway?)


    The upstairs part of the wet vent will have the sink drain with a san-tee, as well as the vent from the downstairs plumbing above the sink flood line (and the bathtub vent if you think I should). I am going to use 3" all the way through the roof.

    Any problems with this plan? Recommendations? Like I said I respect all tradesmen, but I refuse to pay this guy $1300 for this job because it's not a $1300 job.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Taz
    Last edited by taz420; 08-30-2007, 09:55 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

    With an attitude like yours I would have charged you at least a flat rate of $2500 for a job like that. Idiot.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

      I didn't think I came off with an attitude, but if that's your attitude then you wouldn't get the job either.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

        Taz, I know you don't want to hear this, but those questions you asked is why you're paying him 200 an hour because he has the answers. I don't know what his credentials are but 200 is on the high end but not outrageous. If this plumbing was going to be exposed and in a crawlspace or basement, no problem, I'd tell you anything you need to know. This is going in a finished wall. You might save 1000 bucks by diy but in 5 years you have a leak, get mold, who knows? The money you spend on a plumber is for his knowledge and experience but most importantly- peace of mind in knowing the job is done right the first time.

        Best of luck.

        Ben
        Buy cheap, buy twice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

          Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
          Taz, I know you don't want to hear this, but those questions you asked is why you're paying him 200 an hour because he has the answers. I don't know what his credentials are but 200 is on the high end but not outrageous. If this plumbing was going to be exposed and in a crawlspace or basement, no problem, I'd tell you anything you need to know. This is going in a finished wall. You might save 1000 bucks by diy but in 5 years you have a leak, get mold, who knows? The money you spend on a plumber is for his knowledge and experience but most importantly- peace of mind in knowing the job is done right the first time.

          Best of luck.

          Ben
          Wow ,look at ben taking charge

          You go Ben

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

            Thank you for the honest reply, Ben.. As I said, I've done my own work before. The kitchen/bath, and washing machine drain have gone 15 years thusfar with not so much as a slow drain. Self-installed water heater is 5 years in. I know that I am capable of doing the work, and not to toot my own horn, but I'd let a master plumber inspect and critique it any day. All I'm asking though is if anyone finds fault or a potential code violation in my plan.


            Tiegre:

            Its amazing what they got away with 70 years ago when that piping was put in, isn't it? There IS in fact a cleanout plug at the stack base, it's just under the floor (there's a trapdoor there to the crawlspace).. I think that's the only thing that was done to code. That entire mess is getting ripped out and replaced, thus the meaning of this thread. The only thing that is staying and being connected to the new stack is the PVC that joins to the union. That is from the 'new' kitchen/bath, but when I did that work, all I did was unscrew the old iron pipe and screw in the new one from the first floor. I never opened that wall so I had no idea of the disaster that was back there.
            Thanks.
            Last edited by taz420; 08-30-2007, 01:59 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

              I am a contractor and I pass the home depots and lowes during normal business hours . I have issues guaranteeing most items not from a plumbing house , and if I have to pay a little more for gas and more for a QUALITY part , so be it . Don"t assume tradesman run to the easy out .There still is some dignity in the trade .

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

                Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                Taz, I know you don't want to hear this, but those questions you asked is why you're paying him 200 an hour because he has the answers. I don't know what his credentials are but 200 is on the high end but not outrageous. If this plumbing was going to be exposed and in a crawlspace or basement, no problem, I'd tell you anything you need to know. This is going in a finished wall. You might save 1000 bucks by diy but in 5 years you have a leak, get mold, who knows? The money you spend on a plumber is for his knowledge and experience but most importantly- peace of mind in knowing the job is done right the first time.

                Best of luck.

                Ben

                Welcome Taz.
                #1 besides what ben say's do you have 1.000,000.00 dollors liabilty insurance to cover any mistakes you make???
                #2 do you have a state lic. certifing you know how to do the job properly??
                #3 do you carry a busness lic. to operate a plumbing busness in your township. or area??
                #4 imo plumbing is a lot more then knowing how to glue two peices of pipe togeather!!!
                #5 would your home owner's ins. stand behind any work you do. or mistakes you "MIGHT' make ???
                #6 how many times are you willing to call the plumbing inspector back out to check your work?? most places now charge extra fee's for this !!
                so you see these are just a few of the reason you pay the plumber !!!

                #! no p-trap under the bathtub!! that can be seen in your pictures

                Remember this all plumbing that is exposed needs to be brought up to
                todays plumbing codes not what existed at the time your house was build!!

                JERRYMAC MASTERPLUMBER & MASTER DRAINMAN

                P. S. LAST THOUGHT DO YOU HAVE A TRUCK LOADED WITH ALL THE PROPER
                " tools" to do work plus work comp. ins. for any friends you get to help you??
                JERRYMAC
                E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                SINCE JAN. 1989

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

                  You could Go to A few bars in the area, thats where the cheap plumber in my area hang out. You may find one who could give you a hand on how to best re-run this pipe. Probably will be moonlighting the job for you. Running this drain in pvc pipe will make more sound when flushing the water down drain. I would run the drain PVC all the way through the roof.
                  Ask your friend if they know anyone that may be able to help you out. Get-er-done

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

                    It all looks pretty good to me.

                    I wouldn't change anything.

                    It lasted this long why change?

                    Just pipe everything back like it was and you should be good to go.

                    $1,300 is a good number whether you believe it or not.

                    Sometimes I see stuff and wonder why a plumber would work so hard to do it all wrong.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

                      "Its amazing what they got away with 70 years ago when that piping was put in, "

                      I wonder how long your 'expert' repairs will hold up? It looks like the original work has been mutilated at least twice over the years. It's tough to balme the original installer when his work has been altered a few times. W/O seeing the structural nightmares you mentioned there's no way of knowing if it contributed to the early demise of the CI. Clueless homeowners are great for eliminating hangers and other supports, cutting through the lower half of a joist or beam and then wondering why the floor sags.

                      But I am sure you will have no trouble figuring it out. Next time you need a tooth fixed come on back and we will fix you up. You don't need to pay the dentist big bux to get your cavities filled. Doesn't take any special knowledge to fill a stinking tooth right?

                      Don't forget to pull a permit for this work. If its your own home you don't need a license but otherwise you do in NJ.
                      ---------------
                      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                      ---------------
                      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                      ---------
                      "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                      ---------
                      sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

                        Originally posted by taz420 View Post

                        I also know what PVC costs, and this job doesn't need $300 worth of it. We're talking $11 for each 10' section of 3", a couple 90 deg's, a couple 45 deg's, a combo, and a couple san-tees. MAYBE $100. (and we all know he's just going up to home depot to get his pipe and fittings anyway)

                        Taz
                        First off, yep thats some nasty looking plumbing right there, but times and codes have changed (for the better in my opinion).

                        As far as you knowing what PVC prices are and that the plumber will just go to Home Depot to get supplies is irrelevant.

                        First off, I dont know of any plumbers that get supplies from the big box stores. If he does any volume of busineess to speak of, he will get better pricing from a local supply house.

                        Secondly, you are not paying just for materials and time, he will have to pick up materials, bring them to your site using his vehicle ( Insurance, fuel, etc.). He has a license and insurance/bonding to pay for, And most importantly, YOU ARE PAYING FOR HIS KNOWLEDGE.

                        If something leaks in a week or two, its his insurance (that he pays for) thats going to flip the bill for the ruined ceiling, walls, floors etc.

                        If your work leaks, its your insurance carrier that not going to be happy to be paying out for DIY job that saved around a thousand dollars for you, but is costing them many times that to fix what it destroyed.

                        Not trying to come down hard on you.

                        Just bear in mind that there is a lot more to it than many people think of.

                        Good luck,

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

                          i do a lot of things my self but when it comes down to knowing the codes and doing it right i will stop there . so do what you want but there are a lot of good trades men here that will help with things they think a non trades men can handle ,but just because some one says the can do it does not mean they can .
                          what do you do for a living [DIY'er ???????] do you think you can talk some one throw some thing they know nothing about .
                          i did get on the NASA web site and was trying to build a rocket but i was surprised that no one would help ,i don't know why
                          Charlie

                          My seek the peek fundraiser page
                          http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


                          http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                          new work pictures 12/09
                          http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)

                            Dog where are you? It must be too hot to come out and play. I thought you would have a field day with this once I saw it!

                            Joey
                            I love my plumber

                            "My Hero"

                            Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Replacing cast iron stack (pic heavy)


                              yeh dog you slaim me for being on disability, why don't you have something to say about this????

                              JERRYMAC
                              JERRYMAC
                              E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                              CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                              FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                              SINCE JAN. 1989

                              Comment

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