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Thread: DWV destruction and construction - remodeling to code or better

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member overmyhead's Avatar
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    Default Looking for help on DWV pipe replacement

    Well I've been to this site so many times for research over the years and finally after buying my own fixer-up I've come to the point where I needed to register for my own first thread!

    First I'd like to say thank you to all the professionals that generously give of their time to help us DIYer's out. Were it not for here, John Bridges, and Diychatroom the world's houses would be much worse off. Especially since these are the few places where REAL professionals exist, instead of the 90% hack jobs out there that do shoddy work and lack the knowledge to do otherwise.


    So I'm in the process of remodeling a main bathroom. I've almost finished tearing it down to the studs (and joists) and am currently finalizing plans to put everything back together. The thing I've been most anxious about is the plumbing. Not because it's not functional, but because once I remove the corroded cast iron and replace it with PVC it will have to meet the new code. Seems I can't just replace pipe for pipe, and nor do I want to because if something can be done better, that's the way I want to do it. I've done lots of reading but a lot of the info seems to leak out of my ears overnight leaving me with a lack of confidence about my plans.

    I've attached a sketch of my layout. The downstairs ceiling is gone, so I pretty much have access to everything. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the drawing and potential issues that need to be corrected.

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    Last edited by overmyhead; 08-08-2011 at 04:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    1. Unless you have a very deep joist space you will not be able to install the two toilets that way, under ANY codes.
    2. The lavatory drains are NOT vented properly and one sink flows past the opening for the second one.
    3.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member overmyhead's Avatar
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    Sorry for being unclear, this drawing is a layout of my existing installation, so that's the way those two toilets are currently installed. The installers used 2x2 furring strips on the bottom of these 4-5 joists underneath these DWV lines. So that made them 2x10 instead of 2x8. I think I'll probably have to leave it this way because all of this runs over the downstairs living room. It also seems like the PVC flanges and elbows may be a little shallower than these big cast iron parts, so I'm hoping I can just replace them. If that's the case, is there a code violation?

    Thanks for the verification on the lavatory drains, I had pretty much assumed that was wrong. I'll do some reading and try to update my drawing with a possible correction.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member overmyhead's Avatar
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    I think the 45 flange should have plenty of space to get the 2nd line to the other side of the cavity.
    Last edited by overmyhead; 08-05-2011 at 04:43 PM.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member dandan316's Avatar
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    I can empathize.

    We started a project to remodel a bedroom 3 weeks ago that was only to take 3 weeks. The plaster & lathe came down on the wall adjoining the bathroom only to discover a previous owner had torn a load bearing wall to shreds scabbing & notching the 2x4 construction to shreds, and had shifted the whole wall off of the joist carrying the load to the 1st floor. Had to fix that, but to do so, had to fix the subfloor that had been torn to shreds in their "plumbing" of the bathroom. To fix the subfloor, had to remove the tub. Once the tub was out, discovered the *5* layers of floor underneath the whole room had been rotted by years of waste leaking from an improperly installed toilet. Resolved to replace the entire subfloor, to discover the joke that was their DWV job. The whole thing was tied to a 4" cast waste stack w/ a T set too high to allow for proper drainage within the 2x8 joist space. Tried to muddle the whole thing back together again (its our only bathroom) only to decide it wasn't going to work.

    Ended up cutting out 16' of 4" cast to replace with PVC. Removed another 30' of 2" galv. run as venting to sit joined at a T buried under 24" of insulation w/ no roof penetration. They too, had run 2" dwv across joists without any sort of support for the material removed. Still working on doubling joists & bracing to repair the mess. The proper venting will be finished shortly thereafter. Maybe soon I'll have a working toilet in my house again, not to mention tub & shower... but like you say, if you're going to do it, best do it to code or better!

    Once that's done, maybe I can move on to fix all of the electrical...

  6. #6
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Oh my. You need a carpenter and a plumber. What a mess.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member overmyhead's Avatar
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    dandan,
    It sounds like you know exactly what I'm going through. I feel your pain. It's absolutely ridiculous what people will do, and get away with. Since this is my first house it makes me never want to buy another one again that I haven't built, or contracted myself. Have you been doing the work yourself or had help?


    Tom,
    I understand it looks that way. The problem is two-fold, I've never found a competent plumber, or almost any tradesman, in my area. And secondly even if I were to find that plumber I simply cannot afford to pay someone $3000+ to fix it all. I certainly would if I could, but I don't make enough. Since all my efforts from multiple inspectors to find its defects yielded nothing, the house is mine now and I'm stuck with it.


    I feel confident enough in my hands to fix the problem, but obviously I lack the knowledge of the proper way to do it. That's why I was hoping to find help here. I could just replace what's installed with PVC and cover it back up without an inspection, but that's not in my person to handle things that way because I know it would still be wrong. Unfortunately you have to do what you have to do, but I hope it doesn't come to that. It's not a matter of being cheap, or trying to get someone to work for free, I've tried bartering all sorts of belongings and services. So here I am asking for advice. If I could just get some direction on how to handle this I could move forward. I would even pay someone to give me a plan or serve as a guide if anyone's interested.
    Last edited by overmyhead; 08-03-2011 at 06:26 AM.
    - Cary

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    To install the toilets the way you show it would require that they be connected to sanitary tees on their backs, which is ILLEGAL under all codes. To use the proper fittings in that configuration would require a VERY THICK floor, probably at least 15". Getting the "knowledge of the proper way to do it" is WHY plumbers have to go to school as long as they do. Once we have that, THEN we can come to your house and decide the BEST WAY to install the piping, NOT just redo what is existing, which as you know, may NOT be a proper installation. You still have NOT addressed the problem of the right hand sink drain water flowing past the left one, which does NOT have a proper vent.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member overmyhead's Avatar
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    I've updated my original sketch to include modifications. I've also noted some questionable fittings. Can someone please let me know if this meets code? Particularly the low heel?
    - Cary

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member overmyhead's Avatar
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    Can anyone give their thoughts on the new layout? Any code issues?
    - Cary

  11. #11
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Tom,
    I understand it looks that way. The problem is two-fold, I've never found a competent plumber, or almost any tradesman, in my area. And secondly even if I were to find that plumber I simply cannot afford to pay someone $3000+ to fix it all. I certainly would if I could, but I don't make enough. Since all my efforts from multiple inspectors to find its defects yielded nothing, the house is mine now and I'm stuck with it.


    I feel confident enough in my hands to fix the problem, but obviously I lack the knowledge of the proper way to do it. That's why I was hoping to find help here. I could just replace what's installed with PVC and cover it back up without an inspection, but that's not in my person to handle things that way because I know it would still be wrong. Unfortunately you have to do what you have to do, but I hope it doesn't come to that. It's not a matter of being cheap, or trying to get someone to work for free, I've tried bartering all sorts of belongings and services. So here I am asking for advice. If I could just get some direction on how to handle this I could move forward. I would even pay someone to give me a plan or serve as a guide if anyone's interested.[/QUOTE]


    If I had a dollar for every time I have read those exact words on multiple DIY forums I would be on my way to the nudie bar

    Look, you have a mess there, one helluva mess in fact and though I feel your pain in the wallet, you really need to get some pro's in there. As good as we are, there are just too many variables to be able to give confident advice to you. Anything we might come up with is just going to be a best guess estimate.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member overmyhead's Avatar
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    Ok, I understand that the best guess estimate. What I don't understand is why it's not possible to look at the sketch and say yes or no based only on what's presented. I know there are many variables involved, but limiting the variables only to what's presented, does something stand against code?

    As far as competent plumber and other tradesmen, I'm not sure how to consider your remark. You say you read that all the time in multiple forums. Is that something you disagree with?? Because if I had a dollar for every tradesman that's ripped me off, given me bad information, or done a substandard job I'd have enough to burn this house to the ground and build a new one.

    I've learned that if you're "licensed", or under someone who is licensed you're pretty much going to get the job passed. But a DIY home owner, who's an OCD, type A, perfectionist who wants to do a job right anyway, is given a much harder time by the inspector than the monkey who got the shoddy job approved without a second thought. It's the nature of the business, I understand that. Everyone wants to protect their trade. I get that. It's for our own protection. Sure. But when the nature of the trade turns into maximum dollars for minimum quality, thriving on the ignorance of the homeowner and concealment by layers of sheetrock you have to be suspicious of everyone.

    Which is the whole reason I'm on THIS board looking for advice. Because I understand through my reading over the years that there are actual knowledgeable people on these boards who know the code, and have the experience. HJ, DLH, Redwood, Terry, Bill Vincent, CX, jadnashua, packy, yourself, etc. I see their postings here and on other boards and what I've learned is that in every trade, there are true craftsmen who in fact know all the science and intricacies of their profession, and then there's the other 80 percent who are not even remotely of the same caliber. And those are the people that most homeowners have access to and have to trust their word and their work. The real professionals are worth their weight in gold, and should be and deserve to be paid accordingly; but unfortunately my treasure chest is empty, and I'm forced to rely on luck of the draw since I can't afford the best, or the bests' good graces to provide guidance and assistance that I know I can count on.
    - Cary

  13. #13
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Well, HJ weighed in somewhat but his comments seem to re-inforce my own and I suspect that getting any of us to give you much help is probably not going to happen. We can tell you things like san-tee's can't be used horizontally to recieve the discharge of waste and such things but again, you have a real mess there that pretty much needs to be torn out and re-done and that is pretty involved.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Junior Member dandan316's Avatar
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    I finally got my mess fixed. omh, I can relate--the reason I had to do this myself is because I can't afford to call a professional. I'm already into this project more than $3k, and I can't imagine what adding labor charges would do. I fixed my mess myself, corrected the layout of all the stacks and drains, the butchering of the joists (did I mention the roof supports weren't properly tied to the load-bearing wall either? Well, that's fixed now too).

    I understand too, why the pros here are saying "you need to find a professional to come out & look"; you find a mess like this and it's a hard thing to consult on a message board. Sometimes, though, that's just not an option. Continue your research, take your time, and you'll get it fixed properly. In my case, we had to undo some things we'd done after finding they didn't work the way we'd planned, but I chalk that up to part of the cost of DIY--trial & error. I'm confident now we have the right layout.

    Best wishes!

  15. #15
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    How do you know that what you "fixed" was done properly and to code?
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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