View Full Version : Re Routing Stack of drains and water lines

10-13-2009, 07:05 AM
Hello Everyone
I'm remodeling my kitchen and need some advice as the quotes I've gotten from plumbers have ranged literally from $600 to $15,000 dollars. Now I am by no means a plumber, but I am certain that this part of our remodel job is less than 2k. That said looking the picture, what I want to do is open up the upper kitchen wall (between kitchen and living room) and leave the countertop/lower cabinets, creating a peninsula with breakfast bar. The sink will remain where it is (marked in the photo on my post below this).

As I see it, this means
1)Either the pipes will have to be run through the ceiling and down the right side of the wall (where you see the small rectangle cut out) or

2) It will run through the ceiling and to the back of the kitchen, where the water originates into the unit.

Any advice suggestions on how much this should cost? We have been told my most plumbers we have had out, that it's not a difficult job but the quotes we are getting are all over the place.

Thanks for the help.8625

10-13-2009, 07:11 AM
Your picture and description are too vague to make a decision. How much wall are you cutting out? What are the pipes on the left side and will they be in the way of the opening? Where is the sink now? Where is the existing drain. It may be that neither of your options is the best one.

10-13-2009, 01:07 PM
Ok, I took a new photo and marked it up- hopefully this will help. The second photo is how we hope for it to look.

I should add that we are a bottom duplex in a 2 duplex (town home style) building. There are no load bearing walls, and our bottom floor is concrete. We have a full bathroom upstairs above where these pipes are. We are planning to keep the kitchen sink where it is.

If you look at the first photo, you can see (in the back of the kitchen) the door to the laundry/water heater room. This is where the water comes into the unit. Also, those two drains you see in the photo run to the back of the kitchen as well (under the cement).

We have been told we have 2 options: either reroute the drains/pipes through the ceiling, over to the right (empty) wall, and back down to the original location of those pipes in the cement, OR, reroute the pipes back through the ceiling (capping off the original drains in the floor) and towards the back of the kitchen, where the water originates. I dont know exactly how this works, but it is what we have been told.

We will be digging into the concrete as it is, since we are moving that laundry room/water heater, and adding a shower to a bathroom that is also on the first level. (If you are looking at the photo, it is in the back left of the photo.) So more digging into the cement is not a big deal.

If there is anything else I can clarify, please let me know!
Thanks for your help!

Peter Griffin
10-13-2009, 01:24 PM
Yes, but you will have to drop the header above the opening to get enough pitch on the pipes coming across. I'll do the job for $ 11,500.00 and throw in a new faucet :D

10-13-2009, 01:33 PM
Thanks, Peter.

We have been told that a header will not be necessary, as there will be a way to run it out through the ceiling first and then back into the wall, keeping the correct pitch.

I appreciate your amazing "offer", but I am really looking for advice from master plumbers or contractors who can give me something constructive to work with.


Peter Griffin
10-13-2009, 01:39 PM
Oh come on... alright you got me, I'll come down to 11 grand even but that's a bargain and I'm loosing money :D

So that's not a load bearing wall?

10-13-2009, 01:43 PM

Tempting, Peter... tempting!

You are correct, that is not a load bearing wall.

Peter Griffin
10-13-2009, 01:50 PM
Then by all means drill away......

Ok Ok 10 thousand 500 but that's my final offer....

Ian Gills
10-13-2009, 01:50 PM
I'd feel really scared about re-routing a neighbor's drain. Is that really allowed in This Great Country?

It would ceratinly raise a few eyebrows in England.

10-13-2009, 02:43 PM
God bless America.

Bottom line is I'm looking for someone who knows what they're talking about to give me some constructive advice. I'm not interested in bogus prices or anything of the sort. I've been told this is a serious website where you can find good advice and from what I've read, it seems to hold true.

So lets get some real discourse going on here. If not, please by pass my thread. Thanks

Peter Griffin
10-13-2009, 02:51 PM
I did give you good advice, I said to go ahead with what you had proposed. Now if you want me to tell you what fittings and how much pipe to buy that's something different altogether and honestly, even though the pictures are pretty good, without being there I just can't go that far out on a limb.

And hey, what's bogus, I came in a full $ 4,500.00 under your top bid

10-13-2009, 06:40 PM
I'd feel really scared about re-routing a neighbor's drain. Is that really allowed in This Great Country?

It would ceratinly raise a few eyebrows in England.

I think that could be an issue. I'm sure you'll need their permission. Have you spoken with them (yet)?

You're going to have to open up the ceiling and that wall to the right anyways (you don't want to be paying the plumber to do it), so do it now and take some pictures for us to see.

I don't see a problem with what you've shown as far as running them to the right, down and then over provided you can maintain the pitch. You may not need to run them in the concrete, but you might have to get creative as how to support the counter and any wall above it.

What material and size are the drain lines, cast or abs? I'm assuming they're ABS because that insulation is probably to cut down on the noise. I highly recommend that you put insulation back for the same reason.


10-13-2009, 07:15 PM
Thanks for the insight.

Yes we spoke to the neighbors about it. They are ok with having their water shut off while their drain is moved.

Once the wall is gone, there will be no wall above it. On the other side will be base cabinets, so those will support the countertop.

The pipe is abs- I want to say 4". The contractors have all said it will be replaced with PVC I believe.

We are doing all of the demo, which should save a bit in costs. I will open that section up and take a photo as soon as I can.

What do you all think a reasonable price would be for a contractor to do this?

Is there another way you can think of to do this more effectively?

Thanks for everyone's comments!

Peter Griffin
10-13-2009, 07:23 PM
Come on man, I've already come down as far as I can and still put food on my table :D

sorry, but you can't ask prices here. We don't do that. Get at least three and pick the guy you feel the most comfortable with. Doing all the demo should save you a few bucks and it really does not look like a big project to me, about a half day for a couple guys.

10-13-2009, 07:24 PM
It's pretty hard to nail down a price on the internet. What costs $1000 in VA may run $2500 in AZ and $4500 in NY.

For the ranges in quotes that you recieved, was that for identical work? Some of those quotes may be for just the rerouting of the pipe, others may include ceiling repair, insulation and paint.

10-13-2009, 07:33 PM
Thanks, guys.

I see what you mean about price.

The quotes were all for the same thing- all demo done by us, and then all ceiling repair, insulation, etc etc. We are just talking rerouting of the pipes and nothing more.

What should we be looking for when we meet these contractors?

We have seen about 5. Some say they draw their own plans pull their own permits, some say they expect us to draw the plans pull the permits. Some have told us we don't need permits.
(We NEED permits- not messing around with that!)

Here is another question- Would it be easier to run these pipes maybe to the left- leaving a "column" where the pipes will run, leaving the rest open? (I hope that made sense)

Thank you all again.

10-13-2009, 07:50 PM
You want to see that they are licensed and insured for your area, references help also. The more you expect them to do (draw plans, pull permits) the more they will charge but then they are more likely to not cut corners either with the greater responsibility.

My only concern with messing with your upstairs neighbor's plumbing is if they have any issues with their plumbing after your alteration. Whether or not the alteration is responsible you could end up with a headache on your hands. If the contractor is doing all the rerouting, including plans you should have his backing if there are issues. When we do plans for clients we explicitely write into our notes that the contractor is responsible for providing a minimum 1 year warranty on the work.

10-13-2009, 09:40 PM
You haven't answered the question about the possible load bearing post to the left of the kitchen "window" shown. We are just guessing based on photo which does not have enough detail.

One problem you have regarding the neighbors drain. You are putting more than 135 of bend in it, so your inspector will probably want a cleanout in this equation.

The line you call a vent...where is that coming from? If it is venting anything on that level of the building, you cannot take it horizontal where you show.

10-14-2009, 08:42 AM
Well one thing is for sure, you can forget about that $600.00 bid, because there is no way it could be done for less than four times that amount. Whether you way is easiest, or even possible, depends on what is above the ceiling. If you have a dropped ceiling it may be possible, but if you have joists and they run perpendicular to the wall you are removing, it may not work. I would not even attempt to make a recommendation without seeing the actual site, or at least more pictures of the proposed routing. But, I do not see anything that looks like 4" pipe, unless we just do not have anything to compare the scale with.

10-14-2009, 09:03 AM
I disagree with your assessment on the price. I have more than 10 years experience working with one of the largest construction companies in the world. Have many friends in the MEP world so let's put the money issue to rest. This is a fairly simple job and can't see it costing more than $1600.00.

Materials alone for this job are $325.00. Labor rates are negotiable if people want to keep their folks working and while I'm not looking to undercut anyones living we all have to make sacrifices when things in commericial and residential construction are slowing down.

Jimbo- I actually did answer the question about load bearing walls- There are none in the unit. The vent I pointed out is the drain for the kitchen and it's vent above.

HJ, thanks for your input- The ABS drain pipes look like 4" pipes to me, but they may be 6". The unit was built in 1979, if that helps any. The joists (w joists) run parallel to the wall we are removing.

Everything else you said are certainly valid points that will be given due consideration.

10-15-2009, 05:50 AM
IF those lines are 4", (they will NOT be 6"), and as I said, I am taking your word for them since I nothing to compare them to and having the insulation on them makes it even more difficult, then they are for something other than the upstairs kitchen sink. The larger these pipes are, the more difficult it will be to reroute them and the more it will cost. IF the parts really cost $350.00 then your $1,600.00 estimate only leaves about $1,200.00 for labor and two men could eat that up and still have an early supper. MY labor rates are NOT negotiable, since my costs have not gone down even though the economy has.

10-15-2009, 08:01 AM
Thanks, HJ

Those large insulated 4" (measured this morning) ABS pipes have nothing to do with the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink is behind the wall (in the kitchen) in the labeled photo where I outlined in purple. Upstairs, we have a bathroom directly above the drains/"sewer stacks" (like I said earlier), and the drain on the left is the drain from our upstairs neighbors. The smaller black pipe to the right of the drains is the vent and drain for the kitchen sink.

I think after all of the tangents that have been taken, things are getting confusing because people are commenting on things that I addressed clearly early on.

I just wanted to come here and see if anyone had any other ideas about how this could be done. The contractors we saw had the two ideas:running the pipes over to the right, or running them back through the ceiling to the back of the kitchen where the drains go out of the unit.

I asked about the possibility of running them over to the left and leaving a "pillar" of sorts so that the rest of the wall would still be open. No one has answered that at all. The distance between the larger drain on the right and the end of the wall on the left is exactly 4 feet, which should leave just enough room to maintain pitch.

Let's not focus on the money. I was wondering about how much it should cost, but another poster had a good point about location, etc. I only asked because as I said we had such a wide range of quotes, we were confused and thought someone could center us a little. I am more concerned with hiring someone who will do quality, legal work.

If anyone has any ideas about how this might be done and still look nice and open, please let me know.

We have had a few residents do similar work (with our exact construction), but the contractor who worked for the only resident who still owns the place is not in the country. That contractor eliminated the entire wall, cabinets, base cabinets and all and rerouted the pipes to somewhere hidden in the unit. We know it can be done. We know it has been done. That is not the question. The question is, can anyone come up with a creative/sensible way to do this, other than the ways the contractors have suggested?

Thanks for everyone's time. Hope I have clarified a little!

10-15-2009, 12:53 PM
Thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute.

Turns out, we have plenty of room to move the pipes to the right and keep the .25"/1' pitch. (about 7 feet... more than enough of room in the 1 foot space we have between the ceiling and next floor) So the original mockup I posted is the way we are going with it- although we may run one pipe out and then down with the other to ensure there is room in the ceiling. We found a plumber who pulls his own permits and seems pretty knowledgeable.

Thanks again.

Peter Griffin
10-15-2009, 01:56 PM
Hazzzauh ..... victory is yours :D