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Old Cast Iron

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  • Old Cast Iron

    My 50+ year old house is starting to have some issues with the 4" cast iron DWV system. I am seeing a couple of pin holes in the wye connecting the toilet to the vent/soil stack. I am considering replacing the run with PVC, but I don't know how or if the vent stack might be supported within the plaster wall. The pipe connections are bell/hub poured lead. This is a one-story house with unfinished basement. Is the vent stack usually supported within the walls, or should I expect to have the full weight of the stack to contend with if I cut the fittings in the basement?

  • #2
    Re: Old Cast Iron

    Call plumber.

    J.C.

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    • #3
      Re: Old Cast Iron

      Always assume that it is NOT supported. I try to go back with cast iron on a stack replacement but that is not always possible. Before you cut out the stack you have to support it either with strap iron or what I like to use is a riser clamp. Being only one story, it won't have a great deal of weight on top of it but you still need to be careful. The slightest drop will break the seal on the vent pipe through the roof.

      good luck

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      • #4
        Re: Old Cast Iron

        One storey or two...doesnt matter, cast iron is heavy! You will not be able to support 10-15 feet of cast and once it starts to move watch out! USE CHAINS to support the pipe BEFORE you cut it. And....yes...cast is supposed to be supported with metal clamps and in much older homes I have seen framed-in at the 2x10 floor joist using the bell... but you never know....don't trust it! BE SAFE! (I just finished removing 30 feet of vertical 4"cast a few months ago)

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        • #5
          Re: Old Cast Iron

          I removed cast iron on a demolition job I did with an environmental company and we used riser clamps to support the pipe between floors and strapped it to the masonry wall with metal strapping before melting the hub and spigot connections apart or cutting the pipe with chain cutters. This is definitely not a job for the average homeowner, or anyone with little experience as I did this under the supervision of a local master plumber who came to oversee the removal of all the pipe in the building. Find some old master in your town with a ton of experience in cast and he will fix all of your problems in a jiffy!

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