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cleveland1980 03-01-2009 12:04 AM

Basement Shower Drain Problem!
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Well i completly gutted my basment bathroom and i am in the process of rebuilding a new shower pan. This is my first plumbing job and have found that it has a cast iron drain. I removed the old drain cover which basically was just a cover that sat in the pipe which was set in concrete. I chiseled away at the concrete and removed the drain cover. I purchased a new drain set-up with weep holes becuase the pan was not built right the first time.

I have found out after buying the drain cover that it does not fit in the cast iron drain, the cast iron drain is top small to accept the new drain set-up. the cast iron drain opening is about 2 3/4'' from the interior wall to wall. Now i hope there is some adapter I can insert or maybe "shave" the pvc down a little as it is pretty thick? Here are some pics to give you an idea of what's going on. Again this is my first attempt at a shower pan and have got some good ideas from this site and from John Bridges. I just hope I dont have to smash up the concrete pan that is already in place to get to more of the pipe to put some sort of cast iron to pvc adapter? Thanks in advance

cleveland1980 03-01-2009 09:33 PM

I have found that I have to install a rubber boot to convert the cast iron pipe to PVC after consulting a plumber. I plan on renting a power hammer/chisel to break the concrete away from the pipe and attach the boot. Since I am renting the tool I am debating on breaking up the shower curb and build a bigger one. Or would it be easier to build around the existing curb that is already there?

cleveland1980 03-02-2009 02:58 AM

:jester:guess im talkin to myself

Termite 03-02-2009 02:47 PM

I'd say that you're going to have a heck of a time getting a Fernco boot to work there, especially with that particular drain. The drain is going to sit too high. My advice would be to demolish the existing mud base and couple onto the pipe beneath the slab with a Fernco. That way you can re-do the trap as well and you're not covering up old pipes under the shower...They just get older! Now's the time to do it right.

As for the curb, you could add to what is there, which appears to be nothing at all. A curb can be formed up and placed against the existing mud base. I'd suggest a few tapcons protruding from the base to act as dowels to pin the two together. Doing a curb against the existing base will require you to use Kerdi to waterproof the curb and the shower and the transition between the two. Personally I'd do that no matter what anyway.

Whether you choose to do a new curb or a new base or both, be sure you do your research about placing mud bases and the necessary waterproofing. They're not poured like conventional concrete, they're a very dry mix that is packed in place. Tile/grout is not waterproof, so a membrane is 100% necessary.

Termite 03-02-2009 02:48 PM

Is the shower wall CMU block? The foundation? :laughing: You need Kerdi for sure!

cleveland1980 03-02-2009 03:03 PM

Yes they had the shower wall as block that was tiled on top! My plan is to demolish the cement around the pipe down to the trap and place the boot on the pipe and re-cement around it. I plan on renting one of those power chisels or hammers from home depot to do this. Once I get deep enough I plan on cutting the pipe with a sawz it all to allow for room to fit the pipe and add the pvc.

I was going to put cement board around the walls and then build onto the existing base of what is already there. Meaning place the shower liner/membrane on top of the existing concrete and then mud on top of that to create the correct slop. I will also build up the existing curb that is already there. I checked on the Kerdi system and since my drain is offset I don't think that will work for me (also seems very pricey). Any other concerns or suggestions? Thanks for your help. I will continue to post pics as the project continues.

RippySkippy 03-02-2009 03:43 PM

The kerdi drain and membrane system will work for you just fine...what will not work is the pre-made, pre-sloped pan. It doesn't sound like you're headed the Kerdi route...but if you won't have to put cement board up...

metx 03-05-2009 02:37 PM

get a cast iron shower drain fit in tight spots and tighten from the top

cleveland1980 03-05-2009 05:31 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Well i decided to demo some of the concrete around the pipe after renting a power chisel from HD. It was suggested that I replace the trap while I have the area opened up anyways, so I will be attempting this. I have zero plumbing experience but this is how I assume I will do it. cut the current cast iron pipe just before it slopes into the trap and put a rubber boot on it, and connect to the pvc trap?

My question is that this cast iron trap looks like a monster as it is huge. The pvc traps I have seen are not even half the size. The cast iron pipe looks like it is about 4'' in diameter, although i havent measured it cause I have not cut into it. So do they make a 4'' cast iron to 2'' PVC? Also I was thinking of centering the drain a little better then when it was originally installed. How hard will this be??

metx 03-06-2009 08:57 AM

that looks like a 2in trap to me .are you talking about the main drain?

jogr 03-06-2009 11:08 AM

Inspect that p trap before you go through the trouble of removing and changing it. I can't see much of it in the picture but what I see looks fine.

cleveland1980 03-06-2009 02:19 PM

No, I was talking about the main line comming into the trap. I was going to put a boot on top of the main line then tie in a new pvc drain but it would still sit too high. So my solution is to cut it at the main line and install pvc from there into a new trap. What do you think?

cleveland1980 03-09-2009 04:57 AM


Originally Posted by cleveland1980 (Post 241049)
No, I was talking about the main line comming into the trap. I was going to put a boot on top of the main line then tie in a new pvc drain but it would still sit too high. So my solution is to cut it at the main line and install pvc with a boot from there into a new trap. What do you think?

Calling Plumber 101 for help!

cleveland1980 03-10-2009 11:43 PM

Decided to cut the main line and tie in pvc trap, hope it works as I have no clue what I am doing!

cleveland1980 03-14-2009 04:02 PM

OK I REALLY need some help on this I cut the main line right before the trap and used a franco clamp to convert from 3'' cast iron to 2'' pvc. I then ran about 2'' straight line of pvc to a 45 degree piece and then to the trap. I put the drain on and thought that everything was good till I poured water down the drain. It drains extremley slow to the point that it overflows.

Not sure if this is because I added the 45 degree angle or the new pvc trap? My questions is why is the water flowing so slow and what can I do to correct it. I had to add the 45 degree piece becuase they did not have the drain centered correctly. If I use 3'' pvc instead of 2'' will this correct the problem? Or do I have to live with where they put the drain and take out the 45 degree piece and just go straight from the main line to the new trap and then drain? If you can give me some tips please help, I am a noob at this. If this helps this drain is tied into the toliet as well.

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