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Thread: Need some direction, adding basement shower

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Smile Need some direction, adding basement shower

    Hi guys,

    First...thanks for all the informative posts....I've spent countless hours learning from them!

    Asking for help...please view pic (I am facing the back of the house/away from the street)and any advice would be appreciated.

    As per pic - #1 = 2nd floor Main bath Drain
    - #2 = Vent Pipe
    - #3 = Main floor kitchen sink drain (wyes into base of vent pipe)
    - #4 = Main floor 2 piece bathroom drain (notice wyed, and invented bar sink drain)

    Current basement has 2 piece bathroom and we would like to install a shower (highlighted area in green). I could, and still may, hire a qualified plummer, however would prefer to attempt at least the grunt work on my own. So here are my questions:

    1. Where do you think my best option would be to wye the shower drain into (ie. where to dig?)

    2. Do you think all drains going into concrete merge together somewhere? I have looked, and cannot find the main cleanout at the front of the house.

    3. The main water line (and water meter) is right behind the toilet, just to the right of the 3" drain. If this runs straight to the front of the house, will it be a problem?

    4. How should I vent the shower drain? Up from the concrete 42" high and across to the other vent pipe (#2)?

    Thanks for your help!
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    Last edited by clav8; 11-14-2008 at 11:39 PM.

  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    OK...I'm thinking i'll cut the concrete and chip away toward the left and try and tap into the drain that should be travelling toward the front of the house from the toilet. My only concern is that I may run into the main water line before I hit the drain. Any thoughts?

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default plumbing

    1. Where do you think my best option would be to wye the shower drain into (ie. where to dig?)

    Good question. If we were there to check out the entire system we MIGHT be able to tell you.

    2. Do you think all drains going into concrete merge together somewhere? I have looked, and cannot find the main cleanout at the front of the house.

    Depending on the age it could be 6 or 7 feet down. Even if it were elevated once the landscapers, who seem to despise cleanouts, covered it, it might as well have never existed.

    3. The main water line (and water meter) is right behind the toilet, just to the right of the 3" drain. If this runs straight to the front of the house, will it be a problem?
    Maybe, but we do not know how the plumber installed it.

    4. How should I vent the shower drain? Up from the concrete 42" high and across to the other vent pipe (#2)?

    There may be a better way, but we are not there to diagnose it.

    This is a case of plumbing that "even a cave man can do it".
    But doing it and doing it correctly can be miles apart. Which is why plumbers go to school. I hope you did not put that trap for the basement sink inside the wall, or that you intend to use it for that.
    Last edited by hj; 11-15-2008 at 06:29 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Thanks HJ,

    Certainly, don't mean any disrespect to the trade..but like most people asking for help on here trying to save a little cash and also get enjoyment out of pushing my handyman abilities.....oh and if I can impress the wife at the same time...well that can have it's rewards too )

    This house is 30 years old. Trap is not inside the wall, it's in a nook under the light (and between the studs which are 32" apart).

    The city water shutoff to our house is near the sidewalk infront of our house. Can I make the assumption most fittings run toward the front of the house?

    I attached a new pic with possible drainage and venting options...let me know if this looks acceptable and any concerns.

    thanks...much appreciated!
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    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Any plumbers out there able to look over the second diagram to let me know if that would be acceptable?

    Thanks.

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Unfortunatly with under slab there's going to be a "best guess" scenario when it comes to digging up the floor. I usually start wher I know there is a drain and chase it from there.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Thanks NHMaster,

    So if I can see where they previously dug out the concrete for the toilet, (the digout extends toward the front of the house about 1 foot from the base of the toilet) it leads me to believe that it continues towards the front of house. In that case, would the piping in my pic be acceptable; wye into the toilet line and vent after the p-trap from the shower, up and over into the existing vent (42" up from ground)?

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    What you have drawn MIGHT be acceptable, it depends ENTIRELY on exactly HOW you do it. Done one way it would be correct, done differently it would not be.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhmaster View Post
    Unfortunatly with under slab there's going to be a "best guess" scenario when it comes to digging up the floor. I usually start wher I know there is a drain and chase it from there.
    OK..I ran a small camera down into the pipe about 5 feet and to my surprise it runs diagonally toward the front corner of our house. I thought for sure it would run straight toward the front. There are no other drainage pipes to the left of this one. Does this mean that all the others likely run in the same direction? I'm having trouble getting the PVC cleanouts off of the other 3" drains to check thier direction.

    If they do run in same direction, or join with drain #1, I should be able to easily wye the shower drain into drain #4...no?

    Thanks...if anyone's out there???
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    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    few responses....I guess all the plumbers are plumbing this weekend!

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    What you have drawn MIGHT be acceptable, it depends ENTIRELY on exactly HOW you do it. Done one way it would be correct, done differently it would not be.
    huh? would you mind to elaborate? your response doesn't get me any further ahead.

    If you could suggest a possible solution based on the info I have provided within the thread, or ask a question to clarify the problem that would at least HELP work towards a solution here.

    Is that not what this forum is for?

    Terry Love's Plumbing & Remodel DIY advice forum > Plumbing Forum discussions > Need some direction, adding basement shower

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    IF your second drawing is correct, you still need a vent for the shower drain, and that vent MUST be above the level of the pipe to the shower drain, and preferably not be horizontal in the first place. There are few installations where the drain cannot be rerouted to give a vertical vent connection.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice! I'm getting a pipe wrench to get the cleanout valves off the other stacks so I can check direction with my camera....want to ensure the least cutting of concrete possible.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member clav8's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    OK...dug down into concrete almost right underneith where I want the shower is the 4" ceramic drain pipe that comes through from the floor drain that's 4 feet away.

    Can I plumb the shower (with p-trap) into this ceramic drain somehow and then run a vent pipe up into the existing vent stack?

    Urgent answer lease....need to bring the jackhammer rental back in a couple hours.Thanks!

  15. #15
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clav8 View Post
    Urgent answer lease....need to bring the jackhammer rental back in a couple hours.Thanks!
    I'll give you the quick answer since you're in a hurry - there is a real probability that your floor drains are not connected to your sanitary sewer. There is also a real probability that you will revising your plans and busting up more concrete.
    Last edited by sjsmithjr; 11-17-2008 at 11:59 AM.
    -Sam Smith
    Licensed Professional Geologist - AL, TN, KY

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