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Question DetailsAsked on 4/12/2018

how much to replace a fast leaking main plumbing stack from the tub to the basement in a two-story home?

It has been a slow leak for quite a while years that never was more than a nuisance and a slight stain on the walls and barely any water in the basement following the pipe down into the floor of the basement. In the last couple months, the striped hot water faucet in the tub was Dripping a lot of hot water causing the pipes to be hot and sweat quite a bit followed by cold winter weather. the main stack being very close to the outside wall has caused a lot of condensation to form on the pipes though the water has got worse and the walls started to be damaged we shut the water to the house off at the water valve and we can't turn the water on without the pipes leaking quite a bit gallons a day, how much possibly to tear through the walls to replace the main stack and roughly to drywall or replace sections of wall and ceiling on the first floor were most of the damage is? The section of wall on the first floor that's damaged is about 3 by6 and on the ceiling about 2 by 2 wood under soggy

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1 Answer


Pity you did not get the leak fixed when it started - a few hundred $ then could have saved you thousands now, plus since it has been going for some time there is basically zero chance of your homeowner's insurance covering it, because unless your policy is positively ancient and has missed the amendment /addenda update process, homeowner's policies do not cover long-term deterioration issues- only "new" active leaks.

Depending on where the leak is, commonly $200-300 minimum for the plumber for a permanent repair (as opposed to an exterior patch with maybe 5-15 year life) - more in the $300's if metal pipe (like cast iron or ductile iron which you may have) and doing a permanent pipe repair rather than temporary. If the access is poor, can run into the $300-500 range for either type (about same cost because then most of the cost is access and slow working condition labor). Commonly if access to the leak itself is poor, it is cheaper to remove and replace a somewhat greater length of pipe through the difficult access area, making the connections at points where access is easier.

I am of course assuming here that the leak is not actually contained within concrete or block walls.

The wall-ceiling repair after the plumber is done is commonly 1-3 times the plumber bill depending on how much he had to open up the ceiling/wall(s) to do the repair - assuming normal construction materials. Obviously, if fancy finishes can run a lot more.

The repair of rotten framing commonly runs into the $500 to more commonly $1000+ range minimum because it usually (unless just a very minimal piece of bottom plate or one stud) involves opening up both sides of the wall to do the repair, possibly temporary support during the repair, then redoing any utilities that had to be cut or disconnected because they could not be worked around at that location, reinsulate, replace wall finishes and possibly (for exterior walls) housewrap and siding to match.

In cases where the rot has spread over several stud bays, has rotten out a lot of the bottom plate, or has rotten floor joist is it commonly more in the $1500-5000 range for the framing repairs, and if major support beams or alot of floor joists are rotten more commonly in the $5,000-10,000 range. And rarely more if major large beams are involved or in some very open-space modern or ski-lodge houses with structural framing concentrated in just a few major members - including hillside cantilevers and such. I have worked a few jobs where it ran in the many tens of thousands because the water spread along the top of the ceiling drywall keeping them wet for a long time, rotting all the floor joists and the carry beam as well.

From the description you gave (but sight unseen), I would be expecting total job cost in the $1000-3000 range IF substantial damage to joists or plates or beams has not occurred - just a few studs and maybe a floor joist or two at most.

Normal contractor, wrapping plumbing repair and any framing repair and the architectural finishes/siding repair into one contractor, would be a Remodeling - General Contractor, or a Water and Smoke Damage contractor unless significant joist or beam rot is found, in which case some of the smaller firms of that type should probably not bite off that type of job.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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