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Question DetailsAsked on 11/30/2015

washer drain pipe is clogged, house on slab extimate cost if have to jackhammer up floorEnter your question...

tub, commode, sink drain now after plummer unstopped main pipe, but washer idrain is stopped up - snaked and put drain cleaner in - says no option but to dig up concrete floor. maybe his snake was not big enough around or he did not leave it in when hit blockage long enough should I get another plumbrt.

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2 Answers


Usually, a good drain cleaner can tell, or at least have a feel, for whether he is hitting broken pipe, collapsed pipe, roots, or debris like rocks or pieces of pipe - did he say ?

Typically, for a one-point repair (as opposed to a long run of deteriorated pipe), about $250-500 additional cost for the concrete removal in addition to the actual pipe repair cost, depending on whether plumber does it with a rotary impact hammer, or if he calls in a concrete cutting company to cut it.

Hard call - but since the main drain opened up fine, sounds to me like a backup in the main sewer just clogged up the washer pipe with debris too. My rationale - if a broken/offset pipe in the washer drain pipe, it would likely not have fully cleared out one pipe and not the other with the snaking. If a clog only in the main sewer pipe, should have cleared all pipes in the process.

My guess - you had a main sewer pipe clog, commonly right near the point where the sewer pipe turn flat under the slab or at a wye for a floor drain - he broke that up, but the existing backed up material in the smaller (1-1/2 to 2 inch commonly) washer pipe did not get cleared - and it could have had some pretty packed in lint from possibly months of partial backup keeping it from flushing out correctly, building up a large amount of lint essentially blocking that pipe. The snake could punch through it but only make about a 1/4 to 1/2" hole in it - not enough for the washer discharge to empty right. Basically, snakes are fine for toilet and trap clogs and such, but for pipe diameter reduction due to buildup of fibers and soap scum/grease, you need either high-pressure water jetting (which can easily miss areas unless it is run quite slow or with a camera head to very complete cleaning), or a full-diameter scraper head running through it on a sewer routing machine, which I prefer. Looks like following link - (this happens to be a scraper/root cutter type - pure scraper ones do not have the teeth)

I would call a sewer and drain cleaning professional (my preference is long-time local companies, not Rooter Routear or similar type franchise companies who from reports online seem to have a tendency to gross overcharging or claiming total replacement of your sewer is needed), and ask if he will bring his sewer camera along - most will agree to do so and not charge for it if not needed if asked in advance. Be sure to ask for the camera (color one MUCH better than B&W), because many companies have several truck and employees but only one camera.

Tell him when you call that you want him to full-diameter rout out the pipe with a scraper head, not just a snake - then if he hits a point he can't get past he can run the camera in to determine the issue AND provide a pretty exact point where the pipe needs to be opened up and locally replaced - both by distance into the pipe, and many camera have radio transmitters that can be tracked by a handheld detector to a specific spot on the floor or ground to mark to dig.

He will sometimes be able to do the repair too - some sewer companies only do inspection and cleaning, some repairs also - so I would get one that can do both. And I would, if it has not been cleaned in the last 5 years or so, have him chase the clog all the way to the street - scraping the sewer pipe out full diameter (unless clay tile or very deteriorated cast iron) to remove the buildup of fibers and grease and soap scum and restore the pipe to full interior diameter. Costs and extra $50-150 typically while he is there, but can save a callback in a short period of time if your pipes are narrowing down as they do with age.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


typically in my experience it is best to try to use drain snake and open, since that has already been tried and not been sucessful your left with very little options. depending on a list of variables such as age and location of laundry drain, wether it has backed up previously ect. I personally would opt to replacement. usually a laundry drain is not very long and ties into the main drain line within 5-10 feet, sometimes there is a floor drain nearby that is tied into same branch line. The problem with trying to jet or camera a laundry drain (not main drain) is there is so much goop you cant see anyway and its a waste of time and money. Also attempting to scrape the pipe can cause it to completely break and then maybe get cable stuck adding to problems. The point here is to be sure you have hired a competent plumber that you trust. A second opinion is always best especially in a case where you havent had any previous drainage issues with that section of pipe. a fair estimate is between 50 to 75 dollars per foot not including replacing of cement, usually plumbers are capable of recementing to rough grade and it will be included in price.

Answered 2 years ago by masterplumber30yrs

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