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Question DetailsAsked on 11/10/2014

LCD answer to DILLIGAF was reported by accident, no problem here, sorry

Hey LCD, I hope I didn't cause any problem by accidentally reporting the answer. FYI on leak under cabinet by clean out. The clean out stand pipe is actually about 3 feet to the side of the sink drain. It must be a cracked pipe/fitting near floor level. This is a slab home. Do you think it's easier to make repairs from the outside? This is a Block and Stucco home, or the inside under cabinets?

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3 Answers


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Common place for pipes to crack, especially if they did not wrap it with pipe wrap or pipe insulation before concreting as they should have, and most especially if metal pipe as concrete corrodes many types of metal. You will have to wait for the plumber to look at it to decide if he needs outside access - may be able to fix it from inside, or may need a several foot wide by 4 foot high hole in the outside wall to jackhammer part of the concrete out to replace the broken piece. He may also say it is too much wall opening and concrete work for him, especially if it will involve excavating through the slab, so he may tell you to call a general contractor for that and for the reconstruction and he is available to do the plumbing part if wanted.

Depends on where the break is, what type of pipe it is, how easy the access underneath is (sounds like no access to speak of right now), how tough the siding is to remove, etc - it may come down to having to remove the guts of the cabinet in front of the cleanout (front and shelving and cabinet floor) to get at it, but that is a lot better than going through the outside wall in many cases, especially if you have non-wood siding that could be very hard to match damaged pieces from - because removing siding, especially non-wood siding,is likely to damge a few pieces.

I have done this type of job several times by drilling out the pipe (unfortunately was NEVER plastic, so a hour or more cramped in under a sink with a 1/2" right-angle drill overcoring it with a diamond bit to get it out), then excavating under the edge of the slab to access the undamaged pipe end, putting in a new elbow and stub-up through the slab, stuffing pipe insulation into the hole as a corrosion/fatigue relief, then connecting back up to the under-sink plumbing.

If there is a doubt of the integrity of the pipe through the slab, I would not take my chances - I would have it replaced through the slab too unless that will mandate tearing up your kitchen.

As for cost - bad news - if the crack is not high enough off the slab to be able to make a connection to, could run several hundreds of $ - $500 - potentially, even more if separate contractor has to come in to remove and replace siding. And it will probably turn out that removing the cabinet front and shelves and such to provide plumber access will more than save its cost in plumber labor savings and workmanship quality. Only an on-site inspection will tell what is needed.

There is one additional possibility if real bad access - I hate to say it, but necessary at times - there are sleeve liners you can put in sewer pipes that you cannot get to readily to repair - you cut the pipe where you can above the break, run a reamer down inside to be sure the inside of the pipe is clean and right diameter, cut the sleeve to right length to go from the cut to well past the break, goop the inside of the pipe with the adhesive/ sealant, and drive in the thinwall sleeve to cover over the break from the inside of the pipe. There is also a type that can be put in remotely down inside the pipe, though those tend to clog up easier. Normally used for pipe problems in concrete buildings and buried sewer lines, available only at major plumbing supply houses, and very few plumbers carry them. The slip-in type (as opposedto expand-in-placetype) sleeve has a top collar that is designed to fit over the top of the pipe as a bushing in a normal fitting so it does not provide a significant obstruction to flow with the minimal size reduction. Made by - oh, stretching the gray matter back now - Link Pipe I know, I think Fernco is another company that makes them, if I remember correctly.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Thanks LCD. I was wondering if there was some type of insert out there. The problem is in the wall behind thd a Lazy Susan, not easy to get to. Oh, by the way, I just refinished a complete kitchen upgrade, everything new 6months ago..... Figyres. Thanks again for the info, very helpful

Answered 5 years ago by dilligaf


Sorry to hear that this is soon after a recent remodel in the kitchen - Murphy's law strikes again. Though it is possible someone hit the pipe with a cabinet or pulled on it during old cabinet removal or something and cracked it then. Also, make sure to ask the plumber if it might have been due to freezing (if you have severe winters) because it is tight up against the cold wall (colder than usual because insulated by the cabinets). If so, then you should consider replacing the toekick with a grill to let air circulate under there, insulating the pipe, or maybe putting rigid board insulation on the outside of the wall and slab for about a 3 foot width to warm that section of the wall.

Obviously, if your siding is T1-11 or similar plywood panel or plank wood like cedar, going in through the outside is not a big issue - easily removed, and easily replaced with new if damaged. Plain concrete plank siding ditto except you can expect more breakage of the planks, so more replacement pieces needed. Likewise, stucco not a big thing to match acceptably - especially on what is probably a back yard exposure. If you have vinyl or metal siding that you might not be able to replace with identical or color is where you seriously start to look at going in from the inside.

Just because there is a lazy susan in that cabinet does not mean it cannot be the entry point - I have done several jobs where taking out multi-deck lazy susans in corner cabinets was needed for access to pipes or dead rodents. They commonly are put in after the cabinet is built, so are built or come apart in pieces that can just fit through the door on edge - not always but commonly, because they are generally an add-on or optional item for a cabinet that was originally designed to just have shelves. Commonly you pull the shelf support pins and set everything in the bottom of the cabinet to free up headroom, which frees up enough space to twist and unload them from the cabinet, working from top down. Also, it is no big thing to cut holes in the bottom or even (unexposed) sides of a cabinet like that, using a hand-held sabre saw, sawzall, or counterrotating saw. Than patch the holes with a plywood "plug" to make it flush, then a laminate or painted hardboard or veneer covering to conceal the visible joint on the filler piece if it cannot be sanded and painted acceptably. Obviously, the person doing the work has to decide what access mode will work best, but there is no need to get in there with sledgehammer and tear apart your cabinets in a visible way - that might be the quicker, but not necessarily the smarter way to do it.

Also - one thing I did not mention - if taking out pipes in there to repair the leak, I would be looking at making the cleanout accessible - move to a different location, run through the outside of the wall with an insulated (if in cold winter area) cover box covering it, or at worst (and probably not the best solution) extending the cleanout pipe to just behind the toekick and securing it to the floor against movement when being used, then cover over with the toekick, so it is readily accessible to use and to clean up any spillage.

One thing you need to think about up front, because it may come up - depending on where the leak is, the plumber may propose putting in a flexible connector or wrap-around repair clamp instead of replacing the pipe. Would be WAYYYY cheaper if doable, but does not have quite the life of piping, and may promote clogging a bit more because it leaves a small gap between smooth pipe surfaces inside. However, these are routinely used on buried sewer pipes and connections between plastic and metal pipe and last decades usually with no problem - but would be your call. Look like first link below, and come as ones you have to cut the pipe to install (like first one) and also as wrap-around rubber seals that is then wide stainless steel band clamped to the pipe to seal it like the second image (though that may or may not be a split-liner type,but looks the same) -

Good luck, and hopefully it will be as painless as possible, considering it is a sewer pipe job, where the term "painless" is definitely relative.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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