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Thread: Dreaded cast iron retrofit or removal?

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    DIY Junior Member monkeyshine's Avatar
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    Default Dreaded cast iron retrofit or removal?

    Happy Super Bowl Sunday to everyone and thanks for allowing me to be part of your forum.

    I have an older 1950's home where the vent and drain lines were made of cast iron. I'm looking to relocate my current toilet as I have a spacious void in which I can take advantage of to install the new toilet location. My issue is the cast iron drain line which I'd like to either tap into at the very least (and more probable), replace with PVC for the new toilet. The bathroom is quite small (roughly 5' x 8') and the new location for the toilet will be about 4' away from the existing closet bend.

    As these photos below demonstrate, in the pro's expertise, what is the best way to accomplish this exactly? I'm fairly proficient with plumbing mechanics, however, I'm thinking I may be in over my head here. I'm looking to relocate the toilet from where it is in the photo to a cut out right where the gas heater is in the photo.

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    Any clarifications please ask! Thanks for reading and any assistance you could provide - photos of similar circumstances or photos of what exactly I will need.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There's no way to tell from those close-ups...you'd need a room layout showing current piping and what you want to accomplish. Normally, there's a way to do this without jumping through hoops. But, keep in mind you need any relocated pipes to be able to slope down at 1/4" per foot, and depending on how things are currently run, that may be hard to achieve without tearing out more than you may want.

    Working with CI can be dangerous...the stuff s very heavy. When cutting out a section, make sure it is well supported, or it could fall and injure you or something.
    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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    DIY Junior Member monkeyshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    There's no way to tell from those close-ups...you'd need a room layout showing current piping and what you want to accomplish. Normally, there's a way to do this without jumping through hoops. But, keep in mind you need any relocated pipes to be able to slope down at 1/4" per foot, and depending on how things are currently run, that may be hard to achieve without tearing out more than you may want.

    Working with CI can be dangerous...the stuff s very heavy. When cutting out a section, make sure it is well supported, or it could fall and injure you or something.
    Hi Jad - thanks for the reply.

    I hear you about CI being dangerous. I've read a few of your other posts actually regarding U-bolting it for added support. I certainly don't want that falling on my hands or foot so I'll be sure to be careful if it does in fact come to that.

    This is (obviously) where I live and I anticipate I can be without the walls for about 3-4 days tops. That is my timeline, but you and the other guys would know better about what is realistic. I'll sketch something up tonight or at work tomorrow and show you guys exactly what my intent is. I trust the judgement from the experts here to be honest about whether or not an accomplished weekend warrior can accomplish this or not without professional help. Thanks and please stay tuned and I'll get a sketch up soon.

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    DIY Junior Member monkeyshine's Avatar
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    Hi Jad - will this suffice do you think? Obviously artwork is not my calling My photos from the initial post probably make a bit more sense now.
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    Your ideas would be appreciated! Thanks!

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    We can't see the way the existing pipes run, their height, or direction. As long as you can maintain a downward slope of at least 1/4" per foot and aren't trying to run it around in loops, it should work. Running it an extra 4' means it will be 1" higher at the new end, and depending on how high the pipe is now, you may not have enough room for the toilet bend to go up. ALso, depending on how many changes of direction, you may need a cleanout. It also depends on how far away the stack is (I think you're allowed 10' with a 4" pipe, less with smaller).
    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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    DIY Junior Member monkeyshine's Avatar
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    Yep, no loops would be necessary because it's a straight (and flat) run. At the very least, couldn't I drop the receiving drain to compensate for the 1/4" downward slope or is that out of the question? I appreciate your patience as I'm just trying to get my head around the whole project. Do you have an example of how to show the pipe runs etc? I've seen some CGI sketches but they look like they were produced with AUTOCad or something similar. The working area is very small b/c everything I'm wanting to do is all on the same wall within a 3'-4' range.

    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    We can't see the way the existing pipes run, their height, or direction. As long as you can maintain a downward slope of at least 1/4" per foot and aren't trying to run it around in loops, it should work. Running it an extra 4' means it will be 1" higher at the new end, and depending on how high the pipe is now, you may not have enough room for the toilet bend to go up. ALso, depending on how many changes of direction, you may need a cleanout. It also depends on how far away the stack is (I think you're allowed 10' with a 4" pipe, less with smaller).

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Six-foot maximum trap arm on a water closet, regardless of pipe dimension.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    I'm having a little trouble figuring out what direction everything is facing in your pictures. That is a vertical stack which goes straight up through the roof? The galvanized pipe tee'd into it is the sink? Where is the tub connection?

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    DIY Junior Member monkeyshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    I'm having a little trouble figuring out what direction everything is facing in your pictures. That is a vertical stack which goes straight up through the roof? The galvanized pipe tee'd into it is the sink? Where is the tub connection?
    Hi Cacher, you are correct. This might be a better view to give you guys perspective. The stack goes directly up from behind the toilet and the galvanized pipe tee's into the sink. The toilet will go over 3' (where the gas heater in the photo is) and back 2'.

    This was taken from my shower:

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    @JAD - I watched a few videos and have spoken with a few folks who have done similar work before and they swear by the chain tool to snap that pipe. Do you happen to have a diagram of how everything fits together from the vent stack to the drain to the street etc? I'm sure there is something fairly standard to look at, but I've been unable to find much in that respect.

    Also, as it stands now, it appears that there is only one (1) inlet into the receiving hub (not sure what the proper terminology is sorry) which goes from the sink into the receiving hub. Considering I'm relocating the toilet, I'll need to reposition the hub so I don't have a gazillion bends and curves which from what I've read can create a nightmare for discharging solids or water. What is that piece called? Thanks again for your patience here guys - much appreciated.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    It won't be certain how the new branch drain for the toilet will need to be connected until the floor is opened up. We still don't know for sure how the tub/shower is connected or where the building drain is heading.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I may be missing something, but I haven't seen a "gas water heater" in any of the pictures. I assume this is over a crawl space, or concrete slab, otherwise running a toilet arm on an angle like that would be somewhat destructive. Pictures of the piping ABOVE the floor are useless. We need to see what is UNDER the floor.
    Last edited by hj; 02-06-2013 at 06:40 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    I may be missing something, but I haven't seen a "gas water heater" in any of the pictures. I assume this is over a crawl space, otherwise running a toilet arm on an angle like that would be somewhat destructive. Pictures of the piping ABOVE the floor are useless. We need to see what is UNDER the floor.
    He's talking about the rusty hulk mounted in the left side of the wall. "Gas heater" (i.e. heater of air) not "gas water heater".

    My question is whether he is planning to perform surgery on the gas piping; potentially-dangerous to assume that it's permanently capped-off.

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    DIY Junior Member monkeyshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    I may be missing something, but I haven't seen a "gas water heater" in any of the pictures. I assume this is over a crawl space, or concrete slab, otherwise running a toilet arm on an angle like that would be somewhat destructive. Pictures of the piping ABOVE the floor are useless. We need to see what is UNDER the floor.
    Hi HJ - if I said gas water heater, I apologize. Should've read "gas heater" which is the little firebox to the far left in the last photo. I'm going to cap it off up in the attic b/c I'll use that space for the toilet (hopefully).

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    DIY Junior Member monkeyshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    It won't be certain how the new branch drain for the toilet will need to be connected until the floor is opened up. We still don't know for sure how the tub/shower is connected or where the building drain is heading.
    That is a very good question because I also don't know how it's connected b/c they are on opposite sides of the room, but I'll have a look at the shower side when I get home. Fortunately, I have easy access to find that out. Quick question however - you mentioned that you still don't know how the tub/shower is connected....why does that matter exactly? The only change that there will be, will be an extended drain line from the toilet so instead of 1ft. to the toilet, it will need to be 3'-4' in another direction.

    I think I'll get cracking (no pun intended) on breaking up the bit of concrete which houses the receiving hub and this should give me/you guys a better indication of where the lines sit. Thanks again!

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    We don't know where the building drain is. Going only by your pictures, the tub/shower branch drain could be connected near the base of the stack under the floor. If so it will have to be considered when installing the new toilet branch.

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