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Thread: Shower remodel question

  1. #1
    Software Engineer jchance's Avatar
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    Default Shower remodel question

    I am in the process of tearing out my shower and rebuilding it (the previous shower which was fairly new, someone had installed it with sheet rock inside the liner which got wet and rotted out).

    I have successfully taken down everything (tile, sheet rock, liner, mortar bed, etc...) and am left with a slab cement floor with a shower drain sticking up. I was able to salvage the prior two piece shower drain (the type that squeezes the liner between the two pieces) but unfortunately, one of the bolts that clamps the upper piece to the lower piece is stripped and wont go in or out.

    I'm a little hesitant about replacing the shower drain because I have no access to the plumbing from below and its a cement slab. If I had to, I guess I could cut the shower drain pipe from the inside and replace it, but I would hate to screw it up and then end up having to knock a hole in the slab to fix it.

    So my first question is: Do you think I could salvage the old shower drain with only 3 of the 4 clamping bolts working properly?

    Second question is much simpler. In my prep work for this project I have been reading up on installing the liner and everyone mentions testing the liner by blocking the drain and filling the liner up with water overnight. That sounds good, but how do you block the drain? One source said just to cover the top screen of the drain with tape, but what about the weep holes? Wouldn't the water escape through there? How else could I block the entire drain?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Tradesman Plumber Kristi's Avatar
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    You can go to a tool rental store, or HD, and get a simple 2" plug. With the type of drain you're talking about, I use the 2" with a wingnut that you wind down which expands the rubber and seals the drain. If you put this deeper into the drain, then you are past the weep holes... BUT my hands may be a little smaller than everyone else! It's a tight squeeze in there, but maybe you could find a set of smaller hands in the house to help - I mark the liner with a white paint pen so you can see if the water remains at its level overnight...

    I would personally not work with the old drain, I like that shower drain to have every part of it functioning and installed at its best - you do not want to be dealing with any problems after you've finished the entire shower and it's a month or two down the road before you notice a tiny issue that will grow to be a huge issue!

  3. #3
    Software Engineer jchance's Avatar
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    Hummm...well thats not the answer I wanted.

    So any advice on how I can replace the drain without breaking out the concrete?

  4. #4
    Engineer chassis's Avatar
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    You might be able to get the bolt out using an "easy-out". It's a reverse twist drill bit that digs into the offending bolt and most of the time gets it out. You can buy them at Lowe's/Home Depot and the like. If, after removing the bolt, the threads are mucked up, you still have an option. You can try a Helicoil thread insert kit which I think can also be purchased at Lowe's/HD. If not there then probably a plumbing supply or "real" hardware store.

    If the easy-out and Helicoil work, you can then reuse that portion of the drain flange, with a new bolt of course. If the easy-out doesn't work, you're probably looking at breaking up the concrete around the flange and re-doing the drain.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    One word of caution with the EZ out... use the proper size for the stud your removing. I got in a hurry last month removing a frozen stud in an engine head, used one that was to small, snapped it off..... and there is no drilling out of that hardened steel piece you leave in the unit.

    Shouldn't be an issue with plumbing hardware.... hopefully
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

  6. #6
    Tradesman Plumber Kristi's Avatar
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    hummm... well, I guess I just don't find knocking out a bit of concrete that big of a deal... you just fill it back up

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi
    hummm... well, I guess I just don't find knocking out a bit of concrete that big of a deal... you just fill it back up
    Hmmm........ Seal off the room to avoid dust scatter..... Choking on dust while scoring existing slab..........Beating hole in concrete........cleaning up the debris............ correcting piping.........carrying/mixing/finishing Sacrete............Cleaning up mess............ Waiting 2 days to cure before proceeding.....

    Yeah, you're right Kristi (my better half's name, by the way)....... not that big of a deal..........
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

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

    How you remove the drain depends on how it is attached. I just had one last week that was cast iron and it just pulled off the plastic pipe it was attached to. If it is a plastic drain cemented to a plastic pipe, then there are several possibilities, but all require special tools that a plumber would have, and you wouldn't.

  9. #9
    Software Engineer jchance's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm over simplifying this, but could I not just get my dremel and cut the pipe from the inside, then install a riser, and attach the new drain?

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    That is one way, assuming the drain fitting has to be cut off.

  11. #11
    Engineer chassis's Avatar
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    If you want to cut off the flange yes you can use a dremel or even better a Rotozip with cutoff wheel. If you want to reuse the flange the EZ out/Helicoil is the way to go.

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