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Thread: replacing galvanized pipes??

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member sox04's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    New York

    Default replacing galvanized pipes??

    We are finally going to replace the last of the galv. pipes in our house. we had a leak in the upstairs bathroom and decided now is the time to change over to copper for the bathroom. we want to replace all the galv. for copper and change all the shower fixtures. our shower/tub is really onld. it has two handle for the H/C shower and threet handle below for the tub controls and 2 for water and on to open and close the drain. We had someone come out who was really hesitant to give an estimate. He just kept saying that it will take a good 3-4 days and the cost will be materials plus labor. It was like pulling teeth to get any sort of an estimate out of him later that evening. He said there was a lot of work removing the galv. pipes. I'm not sure why...don't they just cut and remove??? When I suggested leaving the galv. pipes there and just remove pcs. to get at the fixtures, he said that they might "sweat" and ruin our ceiling below. how is there anymore chance of that compared to when water was running through them?? Is that true about the "sweating"?
    I should mention that the pipes only go from the second floor bath down to the first floor and just into the basement below. So it's not a long run of galv. And I think there's actually an easier route anyways to simplify the new installation.



  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    Sounds like you are tearing out the existing tub/shower? Destruction could go fairly quickly, but it really depends on how much clearance there is to do things and how open it is.

    If the existing pipe is left, as long as there's no water running through it, it should not sweat. But, if you don't cut at least some of it out of the way, you may have real trouble getting the new stuff in where you want it. Plus, you'd need to drill more holes to make room for the new runs, which you may not want to do.

    A good plumber can get a feel for what is required, but until all of the walls and areas are opened, it is just a guess. Depending on how willing he is to accept risk, he may not want to give a fixed price, or if he does, it may be high to account for what he hopes it he worst case. There are benefits and disadvantages to doing both time and materials, or fixed price for both the owner and the worker. There isn't as big an incentive to be efficient on a time and materials contract, but it is possible you might end up with shortcuts with a fixed price - it depends on the skill and integrity of the person doing the job. If everything works out well with no problems, a time and materials contract could be less expensive than a fixed price contract...many people prefer a fixed price so they can budget.

    I'd get another quote to try to evaluate the likely scope of the job, then decide.

    If you can afford to be without the bathroom for awhile, you might get a better quote if they could see what's going on - tear out some stuff like the walls so they can see what's actually there. While you are at it, deal with the drains as well if they include any galvanized, or if cast iron that's not in good shape. It would be a pain to put in a new bathroom, then have to tear things out to fix leaking drains.

    Often, you can't evaluate what's needed until you start destruction.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Member rombo's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    I think a second estimate is the ticket in this case. And the galvanized usually gets removed as you take the same route with the copper for the most part

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Dec 2007


    From your description I'm guessing circa 1930 tub, indirect drain, and the tub having a spout coming out of the tub where the overflow would be on one of todays tubs...

    How did I do?

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default plumber

    You may have two different problems. One is that the tub and its faucet may not be good candidates for replacement. The second is that you have a plumber trying to scam you and run up the bill. Once the galvanized lines are disconnected, they will not cause any problems, and DEFINITELY CANNOT sweat. Get a reputable plumber, not one named after a South American country or which has "rooter" in its name.

  6. #6
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    I would consider replacing the tub faucet at this time, replacing all of the gavanized.

    Old pipes don't hurt anything like hj says.
    You have plenty of nails, and metal ducts in your home, and they don't sweat either.

    You may need to do some tiling around the new tub faucet.

    When I've done repipes, they have always been jobs that I bid.
    I've never done one T&M.


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