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Old 07-07-2011, 09:35 PM   #1
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


OK,
90 year old house. Bought last year. Noticed bathroom toilet would intermittently not flush. Occasional sewage smell in basement. Finally had plumbing company--ok, a franchise--come over to camera snake and hydrojet. I have a copy of the video, I can see the roots infiltrating outside and I can see where the old lines are sagging and the sewage is pooling under the basement floor. Here's the damage, in their words:

A: "Will pull carpet out of way, excavate and replace underground piping from H trap to basement bathroom FD(dont know what that means) and laundry tub. One 4" cast iron stack and 3" stack. Use all PVC pipe. "

B: "Will excavate out at 6" sight tee then do 80 foot pipe burst from H trap out to sight tee. Get all inspected by county health dept. Backfill inside and re-concrete basement flooor. Backfill hole ate sight tee to rought grade. Haul away debris. Install new waterlines and drain line for 2nd washing machine box."

A:$12,800 A + B: $18,880


Is this what this all costs??????????? Already dropped $400 for the hydrojet and camera. I am just trying to figure out how the heck I'm going to come up with that scratch. Do I have some time to mull it over, or is this something I should get to ASAP??
Thank you all so much in advance.

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Old 07-07-2011, 09:52 PM   #2
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


I wonder if they can re-write that proposal...this time in English.

I would say you don't have to be in a big hurry. I would also say you should get another quote from a different contractor, maybe two or three different contractors. Show the new bidders the video but don't mention any prices.

Four hundred bucks for that huh? Had no idea what something like that would cost.

The fact that the toilet would not flush intermittently shouldn't have anything to do with the drain pipes unless you mean the toilet would back up intermittently.

Are you sure the video you have is a video of your plumbing?

Did the hydrojet process help or not?

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Old 07-07-2011, 10:16 PM   #3
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


H trap = House trap maybe?

Did they say how deep the pipe is below the slab? Could be a really big job if it's deeper than a few feet. . . .

18 grand is a lot of money. . . whether or not it's worth that, I can't honestly say, but I wouldn't play around with that kind of cash. Get a couple of other estimates.

I do know you can knock 2000 right off the top of that and chalk it up to concrete, not including the prepwork and material that the concrete sits on, and the finish work they'll do to make it look somewhat presentable. That should be just for the concrete truck and driver.

If they've cut the roots, and that's the main problem, you might be able to hold off for a while by periodically flushing some anti-root crystals. Can't remember what they're called, but they're supposed to prevent roots from growing into the pipes.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:18 PM   #4
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Yes its the video of my plumbing. I saw him take the DVD out of his machine and I asked him if I could make a copy. He handed it to me and I copied it. I was present the whole time they were hydro jetting it. I could hear and see what was happening and everything is running normally now. Nothing ever backed up (my toilet, or the two drains in the basement) but prior to me having the hydrojet, both drains were very, very slow to drain as I poured water down them. The toilet would not flush. I spent hours trying to DIY snake and clear the lines, scooping stuff out that would make most vomit. I could see on the camera before and after how things were cleared. It seem to be two problems:
1) roots, etc infiltrating the outside lines and 2) sagging and leaking inside lines. I'm guessing I have a little time before I have the lines replaced, hoping I am right. I will get some more bids. However, they did say if I "signed tomorrow, we'll deduct the $400..."

Thank you so much for your response!!
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:27 PM   #5
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Thanks Alan,
They did not say how deep the pipes were. I was assuming they would rip up my whole basement floor, (which is prob 2000 sq feet), but they said only where the pipes are. I asked about how they would get under walls from one room to the next, and in short "we'll dig around" ????
Thanks again
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:27 PM   #6
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Quote:
...they did say if I "signed tomorrow, we'll deduct the $400..."

Caveat emptor.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:31 PM   #7
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Bud, my thoughts exactly...
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:13 PM   #8
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Pipe bursting will not remove belies in the line. Also, if your pipe is near the point of collapsing, time is a factor, but I'm not trying to scare you, its just that once the pipe collapses they will not be able to burst. They need to pull a cable through your pipe to burst it so it needs to be intact.
400 for jetting and camera is not a bad price but the other figures scare me. Are they cutting asphalt, concrete or curbs? How deep will they dig. Whats your soil like? Rocky? sand? A lot of unknowns for us to say much about your prices. As others have said, you need more local opinions and don't fall for their sales pitch.
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:17 AM   #9
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Thanks for the reply EPlumber,

They stated they will not have to do any excavating outside (although the proposal states excavation and back fill at sight T). The pipe burst will be from the house trap to sight T. (I am assuming the sight T is where my terra cotta lines connect with the township's PVC ??--this is all new to me) Anyways, if that's correct, its 80 ft.

Inside is where they will be doing the majority of the work. They will be replacing all of the sewer lines under the basement floor, where the bellies are.

What worries me is that first I was handed a business card with price A (inside only) of 12,780, and then price B (inside plus outside pipe burst) of 18,880 written on the back of the card. Only afterwards I had him write me a proposal, and even then,there is no itemization whatsoever for material, labor, etc. Is that normal for a job with that large of a price tag not to have some form of itemization?

Thanks for all the reply's

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Old 07-08-2011, 08:42 AM   #10
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


You already have doubts about the integrity of this contractor. Keep looking for another one. The $400 discount if you sign now really puts me off. If they are legit they won't mind competition.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:40 AM   #11
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


You have the video in hand. Now you need to get second opinions. Your $400 credit just means you get the jetting for free.
How bad is the interior piping? One option is to get on a maintenance program and have it jetted periodically. Or, can you replace it yourself?
Can the exterior pipe be maintained also? How about a conventional excavation, it is usually less money but more impact on the landscaping. There several options and not seeing your system personally we can only speculate.
As far as itemized parts & labor quotes go- I don't. I'll detail my scope of work though.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:42 PM   #12
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Thanks for the reply's.

I like to do things myself, but as a new father of my third, I don't have the time or energy to tackle a project like this on my own. I have two more estimates coming this weekend. I will ask them all of these great questions. Excavating outside rather than the pipe burst would mean ripping up concrete steps and crossing my driveway.
I will keep you all posted as to the other estimates/plans.
Thank you all so much
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:56 PM   #13
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


If the company name rhymes with dodo looter, I got hosed by them too. Your best bet is to get more bids...if you wanna save money do the excavation yourself. It's not fun, but it takes a lot of braun and a little brain.... I have done a few of these... I used a concrete saw to minimize the work needed... Be careful tho... They put out carbon monoxide...
Oh and I paid 800 for just the plumbing parts and labor and permit.... Do the unskilled work yourself or hire it to a non plumber for huge savings..
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:12 PM   #14
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Thanks for the reply broken hammer.

It does rhyme with dodo looter ! Thanks for the advice. Have a couple of more bids coming in and I am seriously thinking of doing the excavating myself. As for the "pipe burst," of course I will leave that to the pros. But 6 grand for 80 ft of it?? If thats the going rate then so be it.
Thanks again

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Old 07-08-2011, 08:17 PM   #15
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Bid for new sewer lines...Is this normal??


Mauro:
I wasn't sure if you'd wanna do the demo part, but that's where the bulk of the cost is. If you go ahead with it, have a plan for what your going to do with the excess concrete from the tear out. There will be a ton of it. Best method for removal I found is putting smaller pieces into buckets n carrying them up n out.

I'd get a jackhammer and a walk behind concrete saw with diamond blade. I rented one from depot. Use the jackhammer as little as possible..makes more work. So long as you're replacing everything under the slab, Id start at the floor drain or where another pipe enters the ground and follow its path to the rest of the system. Try not to cut any wider than you have to.. 8 to 12 inches wide in most places should be sufficient. Invite as many unsuspecting pals to help out.

Also, plan where youre gonna put the dirt you dig out from under the basement to get to the pipes. Oh... And do the floor drain last if you can now that i think of it... U need it for the water runoff from the concrete saw... Again... Cant stress enough the co thing...

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