Pipe Dreams

A few weeks back we ran into a few problems while cutting up the concrete floor in our downstairs addition. Not too surprising, really. The four inch tee into which we had planned to connect our new plumbing had cracked. Only temporarily thwarted, I got my revenge this weekend with a rented chain cutter, a saws-all, a new four inch cast iron sanitary tee, and a couple of no-hub couplings. Kristin was conveniently in class all day.

Thanks to Reader’s Digest for a nicely written how-to page with pictures on cracking into an existing cast iron soil pipe. Although, I do find their picture of a man operating a chain cutter at chest height with ample working space to be a little absurd. My experience was much less comfortable. I spent an hour or more lying on my abdomen with my head dangling over a hole through a cement slab and pushing a 50 lb cutter at arms length back and forth in a much too narrow opening.

At the end of the day, I still ended up making all of my final cuts with the saws-all, which made me regret putting so much effort into using the chain cutter. I do think the chain cutter would work great in a larger opening with a nice section of straight pipe with no hubs interfering. The saws-all was a necessary evil given the tight conditions. It really is a terrible way to cut through cast iron but if you take it slowly and use a new blade often it will eventually make it through.

Now we’ve got a nice new pipe to connect into and the floor has channels cut for all of the new drains necessary for our new bathroom, so the rest of the piping should go in with no troubles.

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