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Question DetailsAsked on 2/23/2012

A plumber found 2 feet of channeling in the main drain line under the foundation. How serious is this? What are the consequences? Cost?

The plumber ran a video through the drain line and found the channeling under the master bathroom of a house I've optioned. While there was dirt, there was not a "deep canyon" as of yet. It's an older house, and I understand that cast iron pipes carrode and can cause problems (though there doesn't appear to be any leaks currently), but my understanding is that channeling isn't caused as much by age so much as it is a running fixture that drains non-stop for months/years on end (though it no longer appears to be). I've requested that the seller repair or give me $ for the repair, but not sure how much to ask for. The master bath is set against the back wall of the house and not in the middle, so I imagine there will be some tunneling but not to the middle of the foundation. Thoughts? Recommendations?

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1 Answer


Did the plumber give you a quote to repair it? If so use that in your negotiation. Get a couple more bids so you have a good average to argue with. Whatever that number is add about 10% for incidental or surprise problems they may encounter while repairing it. Eventually a root can push through the weakened pipe or it'll just give way and you'll have a leak. It doesn't sound like an immediate concern but one that will be in the future. Talk to the plumbers about your options when doing the repair. If it is cast iron pipe be leary of rubber repair couplers since it is under the foundation. They can weaken and fail. many municipalities don't allow their use in an unaccessable area. That one area could require replacement of a significant length of the line. Do not hire a handyman for this repair. You definitely want a master plumber doing the work to make sure it is done correctly. Ask for his insurance and bonding papaerwork so you have it on file if anything ever goes wrong with the repair.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services

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