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Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 12:02PM
I posted a while back on DM and got excellent help regarding my bathroom sink waste line that I did a temporary fix on. Now it's time to make it permanent.

In the pictures you see the PVC piping "Fernco'd" to the waste pipe, which I believe is galvanized. The problem now is that this pipe leaks where it joins the stack, a few inches behind the wall. The pipe actually rotates freely, but does not come out or tighten--either the thread is completely rotted or it's connected to the stack in a way I don't understand.

The book I have on DIY plumbing repairs says to use a utility knife to cut the wall. I think I need more to cut through this paneling, though--drill a hole then use some kind of saw? Any tips in how to get this done are appreciated. Thanks!!







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2006 12:04PM by reezekeys.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: February 22, 2006 12:09PM
I'd blast.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Ken Sp.
Date: February 22, 2006 12:14PM
There are little sheet rock saws that may be enough to cut the wood panel.
Good luck--as you found out--many times the repair keeps getting more encompassing that when it started.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: February 22, 2006 12:16PM
who knows what you're dealing with but we'll pretend like its something reasonable.

use a drill to start the initial hole. then use a reciprocating saw to cut out the panel.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 22, 2006 12:17PM
That <looks> like tongue and groove board.

You <should> be able to pry between the two boards at the drain and pry them out, without damaging too much.
You <may> have to use a chisel on a couple inhes of tongue where the boards end.

That metal pipe could be lead, too. (if it's real old)

It may also be leaded into the cast iron and the lead has fallen out.


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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 12:18PM
Thanks. I'll print these pics & take them to the local HD, see what they say.

I have an old electric jigsaw but I'm not sure it would be the right tool here.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 12:20PM
I posted my previous message before I saw billb's.

Starting to see the benjamins fly out of my wallet now...
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: rz
Date: February 22, 2006 12:24PM
personally, I'd cut a larger area, and install a removable steel plate (with appropriate cutouts) over the whole faucet area. Looks better, and allows for easy access if you need to later.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: shadow
Date: February 22, 2006 12:39PM
Before going through all that trouble, why don't you remove all the extra drywall and stuff around the pipe to see what's going on, leaving the T&G right where it's at.

If it's the threads on the stub that are the problem, once you take your time and remove it, you'd just be able to screw a new one in. In which case, you'd have cut a bigger hole in your wall for no reason.

- Shadow
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 12:46PM
Shadow, that's what I was originally thinking, but seeing as how the pipe is loose (it actually moves back & forth too), I don't see how there would be any thread in the stack pipe to screw into.

My original plan--unscrew the bad pipe, screw in a new one--sounded so good. Maybe too good! I knew it wouldn't be that simple.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: February 22, 2006 12:49PM
Aw, see, this is where a Dremel and a minisaw would come in handy. [www.amazon.com]

If you're ever going to buy a Dremel, might as well just do it now.

I bet with Irwin blue blades you could use a utility knife in the grooves, but you'd still need a saw to go across. You can also buy a little handle that will accept jig saw and recip saw blades, or maybe even just use a pair of Vise Grips. Drill holes in the corner, cut along grooves to those corners, then cut straight across. f you did it cleanly, you could salvage some of the paneling.

Don't forget to look at the other side of wall. If it's a closet, that might be a great place to put an access panel.

But for my money, once you're talking about pipes in the wall, you're better off calling a plumber. It's too easy to turn a small job into a big one when you're mucking around in the walls.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 22, 2006 12:56PM
I saw the paper and thought insulation.
On closer exam. chiseling away some of that drywall or plaster might let you at least see what you're up against.
flashlight will come in handy.

Access from the other side of the wall is a good idea, too. (if it's not outside smiling smiley )
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: shadow
Date: February 22, 2006 12:59PM
reezekeys Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Shadow, that's what I was originally thinking, but
> seeing as how the pipe is loose (it actually moves
> back & forth too), I don't see how there would
> be any thread in the stack pipe to screw into.

You are assuming that the stub and the stack are made of the same material and that their threads would fail at nearly the same time. By removing the material, you could verify what the stack is made of any determine if the stripped threads are on the stub or stack.

- Shadow
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: davester
Date: February 22, 2006 01:07PM
If it was me, I'd do it in two steps:

1. Use a drywall saw to cut away all the drywall around the pipe in the existing hole to see if I could tell what was going on and see if there's an easy fix (doubtful).



2. Failing that, I'd use a keyhole saw and/or jigsaw/sawzall and cut a horizontal line across between the two water supply lines (just continue the cuts already made) and then vertically down from those lines and horizontally across under the drain pipe. You'll need that big a hole to work on whatever you're going to be doing. That'll make it cheaper in the event that you need a plumber to come out later.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2006 01:08PM by davester.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 01:44PM
Thanks everyone for the replies so far.

There is a plumber coming tomorrow morning to take a look & give an estimate. I was told that it would be hard to estimate without seeing what was behind that wall, so my goal right now is just to open it up so he can look inside. This plumber is pretty expensive so I'd like to do as much as I can myself before he gets here. Of course I was hoping that once I could see in, I'd be able to fix it myself.

The keyhole saw sounds pretty good, and not much $$. But I'll look at Dremels too. BTW the other side of that wall is--another wall! So there's really no other access.

Off to the Depot...
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 22, 2006 02:18PM
reezekeys Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
BTW the other
> side of that wall is--another wall! So there's
> really no other access.
>
> Off to the Depot...

But, if the other wall is drywall, it's a lot easier to repair than tongue and groove.


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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 02:47PM
>>But, if the other wall is drywall, it's a lot easier to repair than tongue and groove.

The other wall is in the kitchen and has even thicker wood paneling.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: February 22, 2006 03:35PM
Just don't damage the supply lines while sawing or you will really have an issue!
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: MacManMaz
Date: February 22, 2006 03:36PM
REMEMBER TO SHUT OFF THE ELECTRIC TO THAT AREA BEFORE DRILLING OR CUTTING!

Especially if the other side is a kitchen, you just can't trust whoever last wired something in that wall.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 04:22PM
Thanks Markintosh & MacManMaz, those are wise words!

Just got back from HD with a drywall AND keyhole saw.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Plumbking
Date: February 22, 2006 04:30PM
Two questions:

Assuming this is for a lavy (bathroom sink) will it be hidden by a cabinet? If so make a big hole the back of the new cabinet will hide the access.

How old is your house? billb is on the right track. The tee connecting the waste line and stubbing out has a lead joint. Not screwed nor soldered. Can't be repaired. Open wall replace tee install new cabinet.

Unfortuatley most homeowners do not have the tools required to do such a repair. Have your service man do it tomorrow on site. Should take no longer than two hours. Material costs are minimal. If he gives you an estimate that might include a return trip (4 hour minimum). Hourly rates vary from state to state so I'm hesitate to give you a ball park price.

Common problem in older homes. Don't worry all will be as good as new soo, Just don't look at your kitchen sink. ;)

PlumbKing
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: h'
Date: February 22, 2006 04:50PM
How do you argue with a poster named "plumbking"?

I have the same need a lot lately and have been craving something that can cut a neat access in a wall.

That little saw attachment looks great!

Can anyone recommend a particular dremel from Amazon? Cordless would be nice.

Keyhole and drywall saws are tricky in my place because I have so much plaster and lathe still, and drywall on top of plaster and lathe . . .

Thanks!

h'



I suffer from the same sensitivity that you do. A few nuggets of wisdom were shared with me and I'm "trying" to incorporate them into my life. First, remember that nobody can hurt your feelings unless you let them. You can always reject what is being forced on you emotionally.
Second, nothing changes unless you change it. If you don't want the behavior to be repeated then you need to take action. Otherwise the kid has learned that his behavior is the way to get things done, because everyone lets him get away with it.
In the meantime I sympathize because I've been there.
-beerman
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Plumbking
Date: February 22, 2006 05:14PM
For cutting open walls, the easy part, I recommend a rotozip.

[www.rotozip.com]

More heavy duty than dremel. More construction worthy. FWIW no cordless. No substitute for power. Some cordless drills OK. Our company uses Dewalt.

h' a rotozip with a tile bit cuts lath and plaster like butter. A little dusty though. Good luck.

PlumbKing
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 05:49PM
1st of all thanks again for the quick replies & tips Plumbking. I just checked this thread after opening the hole up a bit with the keyhole saw:



You can see the corroded thread that led to this entire episode. Also, this is not a tee, the pipe is attached to an elbow. Now here's the interesting part: the pipe was not loose, it wasn't turning. I did not realize this until just now but the pipe has a SLEEVE on it, which is what was loose:



As you can see now, the pipe IS threaded at both ends. My original plan should work--just unscrew this pipe & screw in a new one with good thread at both ends.

There's only one problem--the chances of me having the right tool to actually unscrew this pipe (which has probably not moved in 20 years!) is next to nil. So I'll still welcome the plumber tomorrow morning but I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is going to cost less than I thought!

I'm thinking I should douse the far end of that pipe with WD40 tonight, any reason not to?
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 22, 2006 05:57PM
Why not just clamp your existing rubber adapter to that pipe ?
You don't need that decorative cover. (That was shiny chrome at one time)

Additive edit: (they do make those rubber adapters in different sizes if it's now too big.)

Your toilet is just to the left of the sink ?





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2006 06:00PM by billb.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Plumbking
Date: February 22, 2006 06:01PM
Please confirm the pipe stubbing out of the wall does not move up and down easily. You don't want it to. There is a tee to the left. If you feel up to it and if you have an 18" pipe wrench you can remove the nipple. DO NOT start the pipe wrench at 3 or 9 o'clock and go counter clockwise. START at 12 or 6 o'clock and go counter clockwise. This will reduce your chance of loosening the nipple connected to the tee to the left.

The easiest solution would be to use the same Fernco band attach it the the existing nipple from the wall and finish off with a new P-trap.

WD40 will do nothing but make a nice greasey puddle on the floor. Good luck

PlumbKing
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: February 22, 2006 06:37PM
I still like the sound of "blasting" - plus it makes for more interesting photos.

If you still are going to rule that out - why not make use of the simplicity of the rubber junction instead of threading something to questionable threads?
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 06:55PM
Thanks you all once again for the helpful replies. I'm off to Home Depot to find a new Fernco with a slightly smaller diameter. That should let me attach my P-trap to the existing pipe w/o the sleeve.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Ken Sp.
Date: February 22, 2006 07:01PM
Better call and cancel the plumber!!
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 22, 2006 07:11PM
The sleeve was never anything more than a decorative cover.

You tried the one you have already ?


If you have some thin [veneered] plywood you can cover up that hole in the wall before you put it all back together by drilling a hole the same diameter as the pipe with a hole saw, attatch with screws (for next time) and stop most of the drafts that may come in thru that wall opening. ( mice, too )

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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: February 22, 2006 07:16PM

To cover the hole, I strongly recommend blasting.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 22, 2006 07:18PM
Just scrolled back up to the original pics and noticed the wonderful fit of the wall boards at the supply stubs.
You're probably not too worried about drafts and mice. smiling smiley
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 22, 2006 07:23PM
Keep checking, Jimmy.

He hasn't connected the supply lines nor flushed the toilet nor the sink yet. smiling smiley
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 07:40PM
All this crud is hidden by the sink cabinet, so nobody has to look at it. Yes we've had some problems with mice so the advice of making a plywood cover with cutouts is well-taken!

Been doing some measuring, the pipe is 1 & 3/4" OD, the PVC fitting about 2". I hope there's an appropriate fernco, I'm about to find out...
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Couldna done it without youse guys!
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 22, 2006 10:32PM
Yea baby!

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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 23, 2006 08:42AM
No pans, no buckets.
You must've done good.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: Ken Sp.
Date: February 23, 2006 12:05PM
You may want to keep an eye on the top connection. I have found that many times if it isn't exactly square-it can leak.
If it does-you can cheat using caulking.
The flex fittings can clog a little easier-but since you have a clean out in the P-Trap you should be fine. If you ever redo it--use smaller pipe-use the size coming out of the wall-since stufff will accumulate where the rubber connector/reducer is.
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Re: Need plumbing advice again! How do I cut into wall?
Posted by: reezekeys
Date: February 23, 2006 04:17PM
Thanks Ken, good advice.

At Home Depot, the "smaller pipe" you mention was in another aisle from the PVC pieces. Much thinner plastic--I'm not sure the fernco would have been able to be tightened without collapsing it.

I'm sure I'll eventually redo this, so I did buy the replacement nipple. Of course, it has good thread so I won't need a fernco then!

As far as the top connection, the copper pipe from the sink tailpiece extends a few inched into the plastic, so I should be OK. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this!
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