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Thread: Length from sink drain opening to p trap

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Corgilvr's Avatar
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    Default Length from sink drain opening to p trap

    I am a first time poster here and may need help translating to correct plumbing vocabulary. Thanks in advance for your patience.

    The water was turned on yesterday in my just almost completed 7 week bathroom remodel. This is an old house and the bathroom was gutted to the studs and all old plumbing was replaced from the basement to the second floor. I love my new Toto toilet! I do not like the way the plumbing looks under my sink. All the undersink plumbing is visible since there is no cabinet under the sink and counter top. A contractor with excellent references was hired to do the work and this was not a "budget" job. We welcomed change orders if costs to meet our expectations exceeded those in the original contract. The contractor was aware of the design, pictures were provided at the outset of the job and he made a point of having me order a sink which was glazed on the underside since it would be visible. I specified for all visible pipes and supply lines to be upgraded. I did not want any flexible tubing to be seen and wanted polished chrome for anything visible beneath the sink.

    The lenght of the tail piece and extensions leading to the p trap is 12 inches long. It looks ridiculous. I expected the length to be similar to plumbing in other rooms. The outlet to the waste pipe is not centered between the supply lines for the hot and cold water. The p trap is also turned slightly to the right of the waste outlet. There are two extensions between the chrome tail pipe and the actual p trap. They are two different colors and one is a brushed rather than polished chrome. Teflon tape is also visible at one of the connections. Frankly, it looks like a a beginner DIY job with found bits and pieces joined together to make things work. I was home as the flexible mesh supply lines were about to be installed and those were changed to chrome. I was not at home when the water was turned on and could not see how the drain would function or look.

    The outlet to the waste pipe is 11 inches above the floor. Any of this plumbing could have been moved before the new walls and tile went up. I readily admit this was not something I knew anything about. That is why I hired someone with excellent references and provided pictures of my desired outcome.

    To add to all of this, water pools in the sink instead of flowing freely into the drain. By the time the water gets hot, about three inches of water has accumulated in the sink It seems the pop up does not lift high enough for the water to flow freely. I hope an adjustment there will solve this. This was not a problem with the old sink.

    Needless to say, I am very disappointed with both the function and appearance of the final outcome. I have yet to turn anything on in the shower area as I'd like the contractor to be there for that experience.

    These are the questions I plan to ask the contractor: Is 12 inches from the sink drain outlet to the p trap a normal distance? If a job was planned well, would two extensions really be necessary to connect the tail pipe to the p trap? Is the waste outlet usually centered between supply lines? Why is the p trap be turned to the right of the waste outlet? How can we fix this?

    Will I need to have the waste outlet raised to solve this? I have boxes of extra tile I have yet to return and we have not made final payment. At least I love the toilet!

    PS We just realized the shower, which has yet to be turned on, is dripping!
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  2. #2
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    The standard height for the waste line is 17" to 19" on a bath sink. But from the looks of the height of the sink even at the std height a extension tube would have been needed. Looking at the tile it appears the sink height is about 40". (std for that is 31" to 34") My guess would be there was no communication between your plumber and the contractor. The teflon tape can be removed and the sink can be moved to straighten the trap. The pop up can be adjusted to give you a larger opening to the drain.

    John

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Corgilvr's Avatar
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    Thanks, John. The contractor was the plumber. We actually added to the table height to bring the sink up to what he claimed was standard height. The sink height is 31 inches from the floor.

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    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    As John mentioned, it seems that most of the issues are due to the fact that the waste outlet is too low. Typically, they are at about 17" or so and your's is 11". This means that you have at least an extra 6" of tailpiece to deal with.

    This is one of those things where there is nothing wrong from a code point of view, but just doesn't have the look that you expected. It seems like you have a couple choices here:

    1. Open the wall back up, move waste/supply up. This willl cause less tailpiece to show. You might be able to also better center the waste outlet.
    2. Go with a different vanity that covers things up a bit better
    3. Leave it and see if it continues to bother you. This is one of those things where it might bother you because to know about it, but most people in your house would probably never notice.

    I understand that you paid good money to get this done and had certain expectations. The contractor didn't do anything wrong from a code point of view, so you won't be able to make him fix it on his own dime, but perhaps you can talk to him and say that you aren't happy with the look and maybe you can come to some agreement on how to fix it. If he is a good contractor, he will work with you and try to make you happy.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The sink outlet is too far from the wall for ANY trap to reach it without an extension, however, a "solder joint" extension would look neater as would the one from the sink to the trap, (although a 12" threaded tube should make any extension unnecessary). Teflon is NEVER used in the trap slip nuts and serves absolutely no purpose. Was this a contractor who also does plumbing, or a plumber who does contracting, because the two seldom go together in a single contractor. Obviously, the sink CANNOT be moved to center on the drain without also moving the shelf unit above it, but the slight offset of the trap is an aesthetic problem, not a functional one.

  6. #6
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    The Teflon tape is on the threaded tail piece not the slip nut.

    John

  7. #7
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    At first glance, I assumed the height of those subway tiles was 4" each, putting the sink top at 40" or so. But apparently they are 3" tiles??

    Anyway, hard to tell from the scale. There are threaded tailpieces readily available 12" long, It does look to me that it would not be enough to eliminate the extension, but check that out.
    It is necessary to have pipe sealer on that connection. It could be made more attractive by peeling away the excess tape, or using paste compound, and wiping clean.

    The basic problem is that outlet from the wall needed to be higher, and that needed to be figured out way early in the construction process, with communication between the person choosing he sink, and the rough plumber. As for the centering of the drain, it may very well be constrained by a stud or other issues inside the wall. It would be very difficult to make this "perfect", and again, to achieve that level of perfection would require detailed advance planning.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I don't use Teflon tape at that connection, but since he did, just peel it off. Any amount exposed is not doing anything to prevent leaking.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Not part of your question, but I find it interesting that your sink is plumbed solidly to the drain and sets on a table with wheels. Looks like a disaster waiting to happen the first time someone bumps the table too hard.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Corgilvr's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the time you took to think about all of this. Gary, the wheels don't roll anymore , but since you mentioned that concern I may have a cleat added to secure the top to the wall. Jimbo, I chose the sink and just never thought about the height of the outlet. I did have the toilet moved and that waste line was adjusted. I am as angry with myself as with anyone else. The plumbing can be accessed from an adjoining room and I may explore the possibility of raising the outlet at some future date. The wall is not load bearing and was probably added in the 1920s when indoor plumbing was put in the house. I took pictures when we were down to the studs and I may ask you guys to take a look at those to see what's going on behind the wall. This sleeping dog may be best left to lie. He is not a plumber by trade. That is a mistake I will not again make.

    Part of the problem may relate to emergency surgery for one of the workers leaving the contractor one man short. We did not complain about the extended time to completion. We are still waiting for some finish work and for a glass partition to be installed between the sink and the shower. Since he brought 1/4 inch glass samples and h channel instead of c channel I think I will ask him to sub that part of the job out. He led us to believe he had experience with this sort of wall, but has yet to explain the type of clips he will use on the vertical side of the glass. I'm pretty sure 1/4 inch glass would never be acceptable in this case.

    Nukeman, I live close to Three Mile island and am trying to keep this bathroom concern in the proper perspective. My experience has shown that most things that seem to be problems often have a better than expected outcome. I'm amused that the contractor thought of the sink needing to be glazed on the underside but did not think about the rest of what would be visible. As the picture shows, the sink is not visible. I expected the outlet to be of a height similar to the rest in the house. I like your idea of having a new cabinet built. We're lucky to know a good cabinetmaker and I think he will take on the challenge since there will be no time constraints. I think right now I am most concerned about the time it takes for the sink to drain and the amount of sweat on the extensions. I'll talk to him about the pop up before I try to adjust it myself. I left a towel folded under it before going to work this morning to catch any drops of sweat. I'm also a little concerned that the shower drips when water is run in the sink. It is not dripping now.

    Thanks again for your time and expert advice.
    Last edited by Corgilvr; 04-13-2011 at 12:07 PM.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    THe amount of time it takes the sink to drain may be a function of the sink not having an overflow. That is a common characteristic of those sinks, ESPECIALLY with that long tailpiece which means there is even more air trapped in the pipe which has to escape "somehow" before the sink can start draining properly.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member BenWara's Avatar
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    it might bother you 99.999% of people would say oh wow this looks great and that's it. Don't sweat it man.

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