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Old 01-18-2013, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Island of long
3,569 posts, read 5,988,335 times
Reputation: 1115

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Hi folks, here is the story..

63 year old cast iron drain lines, no leaks and good condition.

Finishing a basement where these pipes will be buried behind sheet rock walls. Will have access doors for clean outs.


Would you replace the cast iron with PVC?

I will be in this house for another 30+ years. Hate the idea of ripping out something that works fine. But also have nightmares of it deteriorating in 30 years and having to rip open all the walls.

Its not a small job, material alone will be about $600-$700.


What would you do?
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:44 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
17,427 posts, read 23,277,323 times
Reputation: 14567
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocafeller05 View Post
63 year old cast iron drain lines, no leaks and good condition.
Would you replace the cast iron with PVC?
No. Or at least not without good reason to disturb them.
So... inspect them carefully for stress cracks and the okum connecting/sealing.

Despite your assertion of "good condition" I have a six pack of cheap beer here
that says a competent person will find *something* that isn't so wonderful.

Plan to do some repair and (my favorite) to add some additional support hardware.
As for using PVC... I use it but (new) cast is still worth the extra effort and cost.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:07 PM
 
Location: North Beach, Seattle
3,256 posts, read 2,480,565 times
Reputation: 2444
My plumber recommended against it as well.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:40 PM
 
10,933 posts, read 9,027,015 times
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Living on the Island you know the more you put it off, the more it will cost to deal with later (NY labor rates rise much faster than nearly any other place in the US). At its age, there's a micro crack somewhere. If it blew five years from now, how much would it cost to replace the sheetrock. Also whats the condition of the pipe from the house to the road (has anyone put a snake camera down its length)? For peace of mind since you want to live in it and not flip it, I'd replace it.

BTW is the finished basement going to have a CO? If not, your homeowners ins may not cover it if its not.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
1,968 posts, read 2,742,766 times
Reputation: 778
I have never seen PVC used for drain lines (other than traps under sinks). Typically, the black plastic pipe used for drains is ABS (PVC is white).
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:06 PM
 
21,616 posts, read 36,706,743 times
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There are cast iron sewer lines from before the civil war that still perform well. It would be a foolish waste to rip out these lines just because you are removing drywall.

If there was some problem or even headroom to be gained from a re-route that is a whole other question but as a general rule there is no "lifespan" for properly installed cast iron -- there is no shortage of firms that will cite some reason to swap out your pipes or apply their "magic potion" for some ridiculous fee but the smart move is simply to put any money that you would waste on such things in the bank and then if true repairs are needed you will be ready...
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:45 PM
QIS
 
Location: Redlands, CA
654 posts, read 1,702,889 times
Reputation: 351
If you look at it and it looks smooth and black, then it is probably still OK. If you see little rust spots, bumps, or cracking of any kind then it is rotting from the inside out and replacement with ABS is a typically utilized option. Cast iron is thicker and stronger than ABS so it is more quiet. It is probably part of your thinking that the older it is, the less reliable, and that is statistically correct.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:10 PM
 
1,256 posts, read 1,261,654 times
Reputation: 697
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pink Jazz View Post
I have never seen PVC used for drain lines (other than traps under sinks). Typically, the black plastic pipe used for drains is ABS (PVC is white).
Everything in our house drain-wise is PVC, indeed, the PVC extends through the wall and we have some sort of cleanout outside about 4 feet from the outside wall that goes down a few feet to the drain pipe as it goes across our lawn to the common sewer. House built in 1989.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Island of long
3,569 posts, read 5,988,335 times
Reputation: 1115
Guess I should have stated that the cast iron is painted so I can't inspect fir cracks, bumps and bruises.

Ughhh. I'm soo torn in what to do. Seems like everyone I ask is split 50-50 on ripping out vs keeping it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:54 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
17,427 posts, read 23,277,323 times
Reputation: 14567
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocafeller05 View Post
...the cast iron is painted so I can't inspect fir cracks, bumps and bruises.
You aren't qualified to inspect whether it's painted or not.

Quote:
Ughhh. I'm soo torn in what to do.
Seems like everyone I ask is split 50-50 on ripping out vs keeping it.
Go back 3 steps and get that objective qualified inspection.
Go from there
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