(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: mortar from tile job is stuck in P-trap

  1. #1
    Home builder heyjack's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Dallas,TX
    Posts
    2

    Default mortar from tile job is stuck in P-trap

    Help! My tileman allowed excessive mortar into the 2 in P-trap in a shower drain. Its in a slab and so far I have gotten rid of it to where the trap turns upward, primarily with muriatic acid and shop vac. A power rooter won't bend enough with a head on it. I'm reduced to jabbing at it with a toilet auger. Any ideas/tools on attacking this problem? Its a new house ready for occupancy so I dread tearing out the shower pan/slab with its associated costs and risks of hitting cables,etc. Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,244
    Blog Entries
    1

    Talking make the tile man fix it.....

    go to sears and get the longest screwdriver
    you can buy and try to poke through the trap with that..

    also I have had some luck before with just bending a 2 foot 1/2 piece of copper flat
    on the end for about 6 inches worth of copper , then sort of bending the
    flat copper like a half moon and try pokeing that through......



    if the trap is too deep in the floor then you are screwed beyond hope....

    your tile man is a total idiot and should have to pay
    for the damages....

  3. #3
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    7,463

    Default

    I'd say your tileman has a new shower to tile after the plumber fixes the pipe in the floor.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Yakima WA
    Posts
    7,246

    Default

    If you can get all of that mortar out, the rough surface will alway catch hair and clog the drain. As Redwood says, the tile man has tile job to redo and a plumber's bill to pay for replacing the trap. Too bad, but he should have taken precautions.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    3,307

    Default

    This is a case where full-strength muriatic acid is called for.

    Vacuum all of the water out of the trap. Close up the bathroom and ventilate it with window open and fan on.

    Then, WITH PERSONAL PROTECTION AGAINST SPLASH, slowly pour muriatic acid into the presumably plastic trap. After 24 hours, try to wash it out with plain water and see if it is clear.

    Repeat one more time. If that doesn't break it up so it can be cleaned out with a sewer auger then it probably can't be done that way.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,673

    Default auger

    There is almost no auger that will drill through cement or grout. If you can get a little flow going then muriatic acid will eventually open it, but if there is no flow, then putting the acid in the drain and then sucking the spent acid out will be hazardous and time consuming.

  7. #7
    Plumber krow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    906

    Default

    The 1st thing on your list to do, "Fire your tile man"

    2nd, back charge him for what its going to cost to remove the mortar out of the trap , whether a plumber can rod it, it will be unlikely.

    It took myself and an associate plumber 4 hours to try and snake and plunge a 3"trap full of thinset and grout in a community centre public bathroom floor drain. I was very close to removing the 3" cast iron trap from below, where the main offices were. Man, that tile setter was kicked out on his butt so quick, he didn't know what hit him. Management went after him for my labour and time lost.

  8. #8
    Home builder heyjack's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Dallas,TX
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try the acid straight and see how it goes. The frustrating part now is not knowing how close I am to breaking thru. I'll be extra pissed if I tear it all out to find myself almost there.

  9. #9
    Plumbing Contractor srdenny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    SF Peninsula
    Posts
    361

    Default

    Rather than using muriatic acid, a friend of mine swears by Coca-Cola.

  10. #10

    Default

    Man, I love this forum. That's some amazing free professional counsel!
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,434

    Default

    Acid will disolve the calcium in the mortar leaving just the sand and other components of the mix. Some mortars are modified, and if mixed properly by the end user (a lot aren't!), entirely coat the mortar. If it is modified mortar (thinset), it is much harder to break it down than say cement or a sand mix. The more aggressive the acid, the quicker it can happen, but some of the laytex addatives are pretty resiliant to most acids - it takes abrasion and aggitation to scrub the laytex off to expose the cement to ultimately break it up.

    If you take a sea shell, and set it in a bowl with Coke, it will disolve eventually (if there is enough and the shell is small enough). But, there's no laytex modifier coating it either.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12

    Default

    FYI, Coke has a decent % of phosphoric acid in it. It's 'safe'? for consumption bkz the acids in yr stomach break it down reasonably well.

    I can't say the same for my car: A few yrs back I left a can of coke in my cupholder overnight in January. It exploded. Got a little - I mean a little - bit in the gear shifter. A few months later after it kept sticking and acting funny, I took it to a mechanic.

    To his consternation, the entire gear assembly had been stripped and eaten through. He said, "Looks like this car sniffed too much coke [cocain]".

    "Yup", says me.

    There's a book out there somewhere about all the scary things u can do with coca-cola.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  13. #13
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    7,463

    Default

    FYI, Coke has a decent % of phosphoric acid in it. It's 'safe'? for consumption bkz the acids in yr stomach break it down reasonably well.
    That little bit of phosphoric acid ain't jack compared to stomach acid!

    The last drain that I cut out because of grout only had 3' of 3" PVC filled with grout! Good luck! Its sawzall time baby!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •