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Thread: Cast Iron Pipe Corrosion - How bad is this?

  1. #1

    Default Cast Iron Pipe Corrosion - How bad is this?

    I’ve tried posting this 2 times in the last couple of days and for some reason it will not show up and I don't know why. I recently noticed a cast iron pipe shown in my picture gallery and it does not look good to me. We bought the house 1 year ago and the pipe appeared to be fine at that time. House was built in the 1950s. The pipe runs under the slab from my sink in the kitchen to the location in the picture in my English basement. From there it goes into the floor and then out toward the road. There is this whitish yellow crust that seems to be coming from the inside causing the pipe to crack and flake apart. Water still drains fine from the sink and the pipe is not leaking but I was wondering what the suggested course of action would be. I am not a plumber but have done some plumbing in the past. I wanted to know if this is a complicated repair or replacement. If it is I will definitely hire it out. Before I do that though I would like to know what I am dealing with so I can make an informed decision on a contractor. The worst part about this I that I just finished remodeling the room that the pipe goes under and I’m guessing I am going to have to break out the slab and replace the pipe. Any suggestions on what I can do are appreciated.

    -Josh






  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Can't tell...got a wire brush or something? Surface rust isn't a big deal...punky, rusty, holes are another thing.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Your first 2 posts did show up, but for some reason I don't yet understand and Terry himself can not actual answer, they apparently could not be seen or read by anyone other than moderators of the forum It is difficult to tell how extensive or serious the questionable areas are damaged or even if they are. I certainly would have a plumber examine and evaluate the pipes. Cast iron is very durable, so I would not jump to a conclusion that you have a serious situation just yet. Cast iron work is not for most of us DIYers, so you will need a professional in on this. Sorry you had the problem with your questions, but glad you stay with us!

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking looks ok to me

    I would be more worried aboutthe two copper lines
    that are rubbing upagainst the pipe....

    if pressed to do something,
    I suppose you could re-do the elbow and take it down to
    the floor, install a new clean out

    use pvc and fernco fittings

    I would leave the horizontal pipe alone...



    better yet , why not clean the whole thing with a wire brush and then paint it with some
    latex paint and see how long it takes to corrode through .....

  5. #5

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    The copper is actually not touching the Cast iron itself. They are touching the corrsion white/yellow stuff which I cleaned off of them after I took the pictures. I will try cleaning off the CI with a wire brush to get a better look at the extent of the damage. I was nervous to do this before because I wasn't sure if this would destroy the pipe or not. When I first touched the whitish stuff a thin piece of the outside pipe wall came off. I put it on the bell part of the elbow which you can see in the pictures. Thanks for the help guys. I'll let you know what it looks like after I knock the white crude off of it. Hopefully it is only surface gunk and I'll get many more years of life out of it.

    -Josh

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    DIY Senior Member seaofnames's Avatar
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    I'm very suspicious of that yellow/white crust on the pipe and that insulation behind the wall.

    Asbestos. Please get it tested before you contaminate your house. As soon as you nicked that small piece off, you flung fibres in the air.

  7. #7

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    seaofnames - I apreciate the concern but it is definately not asbestos. I work for an agency which makes me very familiar with asbestos and everything safety and health related. It is a crust that has formed since i have moved in. Behind the wall is the same thing. There isn't actually insualtion back there it is the pea gravel below the slab and the crust that is forming on the pipe. This is a better picture of it. The very back is the heat duct in the slab.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It looks like there is an actual hole through the pipe, if so, then it's replacement time.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9

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    Well I cleaned off all of the crude that I could and it is pipe underneath with no holes so I am a happy man!!! Is there anything that i can do to prevent the crude build up in the future or to keep the corrosion process at a minimum? Thanks again for the help

  10. #10
    write diagnostic firmware for embedded industrial digital cameras (aka machine vision) gdog's Avatar
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    I would clean out that corrosion spot thoroughly with wire brush and naval jelly; clean and dry completely; then JB Weld epoxy.

    But i am a DIYer; see what the pros say...

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member seaofnames's Avatar
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    I'm glad there is no asbestos on the pipes.

    Since it looks like its in a cold zone, that yellow coating will probably form again due to the tiny bit of corrosion and the humidity/temperature differences. You could probably paint it with something to keep stuff from forming and/or wrap it in a thin layer of insulation...something like you would put around a hot water tank. A vapour barrier could also help.

    These are just suggestions. I haven't personally ran into this situation but these are things I would think of first.

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