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Question DetailsAsked on 3/25/2018

how is a main stack joint fixed and approx cost

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Depends on the problem -


1) if cast iron, gouging/melting out the lead in the joint (which is backed with hemp or sissel fiber or similar) and re-leading the joint is the "permanent" fix - a man who is good with cast iron leading can do it in-place in any orientation, though many modern or young plumbers are not competent at that and can only do leaded joints on upward-facing joints, or do not even have a lead melting pot or leading experience at all.


2) commonly, though life is probably on the order of 20 years or so, rather than a hundred or more for leading, is using a no-hub coupling like below - which are generally allowed by code as a permanent repair and even sometimes for permanent initial construction - in some areas you see entire houses with their stacks made of cast iron pipe per code, but all no-hub couplings - not a great idea, to my mind. Depending on where the leak is, can be a straight-pipe like first one shown, or a specialty hub/no hub fitting joint repair one (second link bell type) which has pipe size rubber sleeve on one end, but fitting hub end diameter on the other end so it perfectly makes the pipe to fitting transition.


https://www.amazon.com/Fernco-PNH-33-...


https://www.amazon.com/Fernco-P1056-6...


Here is a picture of what a wrap-around type commonly looks like (though this may be solid sleeve type) - where the inner rubber sleeve can be wrapped around a pipe without cutting it -


https://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Duty-No-...


If the pipe is totally broken, so a piece is being replaced, the first type is the best if using a no-hub coupling, though normal joining as with the original is best. If the leak or crack is minor and a replacement repair would be a major work effort or mean tearing into walls or flooring seriously, there are the wrap-around types like the last one above which look basically the same but can be wrapped around the pipe rather than slipping over it from the end. With that type, best to use an epoxy repair kit on the leak first as a leak sealer, then the wrap-around for backup - because the wrap-around type, not having continuous seal without a seam, is more prone to leak. Obviously, the joint (the free end of the wrap-around piece of rubber) is placed opposite to the leak or crack to get best integrity at the problem location.


3) if plastic pipe, generally best to cut out the defective part (including any cracked or leaking fitting) and replace it with normal (after cleaning) glue-in connection. If the fitting joint is leaking or there is not enough free pipe length sticking out for a normal coupling splice, larger plumbing operations have reaming tools (cost about $200-300 each for sewer pipe sizes) to ream out the glued in pipe end to reconstruct the female end in the fitting, to accept a new piece of pipe.


A no-hub coupling like above can also be used.


A cheaper, though in my experience less effective way is to scrape out and clean the joint well, then try to use joint glue to seal the leak (for a spot leak in a joint only, not an open hole or crack). There are also special two-part pipe sleeves designed to slip over the pipe and glue on to repair joint leaks and pipe splits or nail holes - those are not available everywhere, anddo not work well for all-around cracks or breaks, just of one-side splits or pinholes.


There are also epoxy filler sealants designed to fill a crack or pinhole or nail hole and seal it - again, with proper prep (usually by drilling out to enlarge a bit and get to clean material) probably fine, but tend to be a band-aid type fix. I would not use alone - perhaps as an iniitial fix or backed up with one of the others listed here.


In my opinion, probably the least effective or most likely to not bond and seal well are the wrap-around fiberglass repair kits. Work fine if the surface is VERY well prepped and cleaned, and the fiberglass is mixed just right and applied at the right time before the resin gels and starts to harden. Having done a lot of fiberglass boat work I would have no problem with it and probably a lot stronger than other repairs, but a lot of times workers have no experience with fiberglassing so you get a leaky or loose result. Also makes tht point unrepairable in the future.


In my opinion, "repairs" like those should only be done with plastic pipe where working access is such that a repair is preferred to avoid tearing into framing or walls or such - like with sewer stacks tightly embedded in wall corner framing, which is common. if there is accessibility, just pay the $5-100 (normally not over $20-30 except for fancy 2-way and 3-way wyes) for the replacement fittings and pipe and replace the damaged or defective parts - at least for the permanent repair. Clamp-around and no-hub couplings are fine for a temporary 2AM fix in the dead of winter, or if it is desired to repair it temporarily until the work area can be brought up to temp - say if the failure is due to freezing due to power outage, so it gets you usable for a few days or even commonly a month or two (like in winter in unheated crawlspaces), then do the permanent repair with replacement pipe and fittings once the temperature is up to the point where you can effectively lead joints or glue plastic.


Plumbers also commonly use rubber no-hub or clamp-on repairs as a temporary fix on water and sewer pipes when they are on overtime callout or overbooked due to freezing pipes during a cold snap or winter power outage, then come back for a scheduled appointment (at typically half the hourly rate) to do the permanent repair.

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Costs - a clamp-on repair commonly about $20-50 materials and minimum service charge of typically around $125-150 in most area (from about $75-350 from cheapest to highest cost areas) - usually double that labor rate for nights/weekends/holidays. O the parts only if you DIY, like to repair a nail hole.


Cutting out a damaged/defective piece and replacing it can run from that amount to about double for reasonably accessible pipe - and up from there for hard to access situations or where there are a lot of pipes or ducts or such in the way.


Oh - BTW - broken cast iron is commonly replaced with plastic even if only in a section - generally allowed, but because the plastic pipe cannot reliably carry the weight of the cast iron, code requires that the cast iron pipe on each side or above/below (if vertical part of stack) be supported with clamps and/or blocking to carry the weight.

Answered 7 months ago by LCD




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