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Thread: Can I drill & feed pipes under a slab?

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    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    Default Can I drill & feed pipes under a slab?

    Seems like the cable & utility guys can do amazing things with their drilling rigs so I've been thinking...
    I have a cottage with the kitchen on a slab. This part of the house is log construction--bare logs inside with no place to hide pipes & electrical. Sink drain goes out the wall and then down to the septic line--can't use it in winter. Supply lines run through the attic so freezing is always a possibility. My renovation plans call for me to move the kitchen to the new section of the cottage which is frame construction, insulation and basement. Plumbing & electrical should be easy there. The slab room will be converted to a mud room/laundry and I would like to have use of it in the winter in case I retire there some day.

    Q: Is it possible to drill through the slab in the location of the utility sink & drill horizontal under the slab below the frost line (~48") and have the 2 meet so I can feed supply and grey water drain pipes without busting up the slab & digging a deep narrow trench inside the house? I've seen some crazy things on This Old House that makes me think this might be possible. Anyone here ever done this or know of it being done?

    The slab end is accessible from the outside so drilling with a large rig is a possibility.
    Last edited by guy48065; 10-02-2013 at 10:50 AM.
    Romeo and Atlanta, MI

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If the home is heated during the Winter, the frost line won't be that deep. Do you leave the cabin unheated?
    Normally within the structure, you have have the pipes fairly shallow, as long as they have grade.

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    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Anything can be done, all it takes is money.

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    Anything can be done, all it takes is money.

    That is true, and the average homeowner will not have the proper tools to do it.

    And IF they could rent the tools they could not operate it safely.

    Maybe I misunderstood the "Can I'
    Last edited by DonL; 10-02-2013 at 01:27 PM.
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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Anything can be done, all it takes is money.
    craigpump
    A favorite construction phrase.
    Normally said after somebody has said.

    "Are you saying it can't be done?"

    No. Not saying that. We can do anything. Some things just take more time and money than others.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    As my dad used to say, "anything is possible if you have enough time and money". But you could not drill the horizontal hole from the vertical one. It would have to done from outside using a trench as deep as you wanted the pipe to be, and maybe as long as the inside hole would be.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guy48065 View Post
    ...drill through the slab in the location of the utility sink...
    How far from the outside wall?
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

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    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    Yes I can imagine & conjecture as well but what I really want to know is if this is done and who would I call? I'd love to tackle it myself but I know there's nowhere to rent the boring machine. There are Youtube videos showing doing the job at less depth feeding irrigation lines under driveways. It might be possible to run one pipe at a time using water jet. The soil there is all sand. I need to run hot & cold supply, greywater drain, a gas pipe for the dryer and 2 electric circuits.
    I picture the process being like fishing wires -- but on a larger scale. The drill could enter from the outside under the slab at the location where the utility tub will be, pitched downward and aimed at the spot in the crawlspace where the bathroom plumbing is. It can be off a foot or 2 and won't matter. Then the vertical hole can be drilled with a large core drill until it intersects the horizontal.

    The house is unheated in the winter. Last winter (my first with this cottage) I kept the heat set to 50 and I worried about it constantly. It's pretty desolate in northern MI in the winter, power outages are common and can last for days. In my previous cottage I always winterized in October and from then on I had to bring in water because all the supply and drain pipes were above ground and exposed. I'd like to make this place a little more "civilized" by only draining the supply pipes as far as the basement. When I spend a weekend in the winter I could then fill the pipes after the heat is on and drain them when I leave (only takes 5 minutes with a small compressor). The previous owners stored liquids in the crawlspace and claimed it never froze and they never heated. I dunno about that.
    Romeo and Atlanta, MI

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    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    How far from the outside wall?
    As close as possible but anywhere in the footprint of a utility sink is workable.
    Romeo and Atlanta, MI

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