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Question DetailsAsked on 2/20/2016

Is $4,500 too much to pay to fix/replace an under slab plumbing pipe?

I am having problems with the plumbing in my bathroom in the master bedroom. Water appears to go out fine, but tissue clogs it up which causes the water to back up in the toilet and bathtub. My washer is located on the same side of the house and water from it backs up in the toilet and tub as well.
A plumbing company (on Angie's list) cleaned it out from the roof top (cost $240.05) and it appeared to work. However, later that night, it clogged up again. The company came out the next day, removed the toilet and tried to clean it again. Also, a camera was inserted and I was told there is a break in the cast iron pipe (house build on mid 70s) and the pipe is located in my bedroom closet (total cost of $444.05 for the 2nd cleaning and camera run) To make matters worse, I was told the process to fix it would include tearing up the concrete in my closet area to access the problem with the possibility that the broken pipe may extend even further than what's seen on the camera. ADVICE PLEASE!

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1 Answer


Sounds like at least digging up that bad spot and fixing it is necessary at least. Provided the pipe looked to be in decent general condition in the camera run (not all corroded out or pinholed), the damage is not real likely to extend more than a couple of feet, so a short section replacement "should" solve it.

Depends of course on what is over the break, but generally for $4500 you could replace your entire sewer line from where it goes into the slab to the street - so that $ amount sounds way out of whack to me unless it is right under a main bearing column or something like that which would need serious carpenter work to provide temporary support during the excavation - and even then I would expect $1000-2000 range, not $4500. That $4500 sounds like a roto rooter type repair price - where I have heard some atrocious quotes for repair work from nationwide franchise companies. Or could be he did not intend to do the work himself, so quoted based on subbing out all the work, or everything but the actual pipe repair maybe.

Typically, this sort of thing costs from about $500-750 range if in open slab area to up to $1000-1500 range if tight quarters or having to open up two holes on opposite sides of a wall to get at and repair the bad section - so figuring that versus $4500, even if you are in a high labor cost area, I would definitely be looking at getting several more bids from other plumbers. Could be he was going for a gouge, or could be he really hates going through slabs so priced you up so much it would ensure you did not use him - basically a courtesy bid.

Hopefully he marked where he said the damaged area is so you don't have to pay for another camera run to locate it if you go with another contractor.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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