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Old 01-07-2013, 10:55 PM   #1
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


Demoing my master bath. The plan is to remove the wall and shower and then build a new shower that is much larger.

Before i tore into it i thought the shower pipes went into the attic or went into the structural wall and then the attic, but they run straight down into a main hot and cold manifold that distributes water to the rest of the house, I think this is the waters first stop from the street and water heater. my luck.

Anyone see anything like this and how did you go about correcting? I want to cut the concrete to the wall and bring all the pipes into the wall. Is it smart to solder all these joints only to cover in concrete? I'm worried about not being able to access the joints in the future for service. The pipes also dont look to be coming out very straight, meaning once i get the concrete out and access I'm not sure what type of magic is needed to cut, clean, and resolder them all at different angles.









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Old 01-07-2013, 11:17 PM   #2
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Before i tore into it i thought the shower pipes went into the attic or went into the structural wall and then the attic, but they run straight down into a main hot and cold manifold that distributes water to the rest of the house,
I'm honestly not trying to rub it in, but what made you think the plumbing when up into the attic? I'm not a plumbing expert and have never lived in a house on a slab, but even I know it's common to run plumbing in slabs.

You might have bitten off more than you can chew with this one.

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
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I'm honestly not trying to rub it in, but what made you think the plumbing when up into the attic? I'm not a plumbing expert and have never lived in a house on a slab, but even I know it's common to run plumbing in slabs.

You might have bitten off more than you can chew with this one.
thanks for your positive outlook. anyone else?
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:14 AM   #4
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


To move the manifold into the wall you will have to make pipe connections under the slab. They cannot be soldered but must be brazed. The pipe must be under the slab in the fill and not in the concrete. The copper must be sleeved as it cones up through the concrete so it is not in direct contact.

I would recommend hiring a plumber.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:54 AM   #5
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


I agree with the previous statements.

Looks like you got into a hornets nest, call a pro unless you have experience with soldering and brazing. I don't like any joints embedded in concrete.
That old shower looked pretty nice from the images.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:44 AM   #6
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


If you can live with a shower pan that you step up into you could build a false floor under which you could run your pipes to the wall to the right. You could insulate the cavity under the shower pan with EXPS Insulation to reduce the cold transmission from the concrete floor, too, or even put some resistance heat under there. Just a thought.

By the way, it looks like all but the second pipe from the laft is sleeved with Lead? Thats good but it looks like No. 2 from the left is not sleeved. This is a problem. Note the copper oxide (Green) If this is the case (Not sleeved) You might just as well saw cut with a diamond blade, and remove the area around the pipes. If you cut all the way through, you can cut off the copper pipes and lift the slug of concrete right over the pipes, except for No. 2 Why they left out the sleeve, if they did is anybodys guess, but it really sucks. If you want to get into that wall to the right, you will have to cut the sole plates out and the concrete away under the plates. How easy this will be all depends on the thickness of that floor. You only get 2.5 inches out of a 7.25 circular saw. Maybe an electric rescue saw from the rental store is in order, along with a small electric jack hammer. If you own a good hammer drill like a Hilti, you can drill a series of holes in a line and beat the hell out of the crete with a lump hammer, just eat a good breakfast, cause there aint no easy crete.

I just took a second look at what you have. You are going to have to elbow out and over to at least the next cell because you have a bearing post of laminated 2 x 4's directly over from your pipes.

I guess your old shower is looking pretty good in retrospect, but that unsleeved second pipe is a time bomb anyway, and has to be addressed.

By the way, Great Pictures.
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Last edited by jagans; 01-08-2013 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:59 AM   #7
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


I have run into this before. If you can not live with a raised floor, which is your best bet. Could you build a seat in the shower? You never gave the new shower pan size. Or if you are certain the new shower valve needs to go against the wall. You could not pay me enough to touch those copper pipes. Your attitude towards life will never be the same if you proceed any farther with those copper pipes.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:37 AM   #8
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


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I have run into this before. If you can not live with a raised floor, which is your best bet. Could you build a seat in the shower? You never gave the new shower pan size. Or if you are certain the new shower valve needs to go against the wall. You could not pay me enough to touch those copper pipes. Your attitude towards life will never be the same if you proceed any farther with those copper pipes.
The last part of this post made me LOL

As for the first part : I was going to say the exact same thing.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:56 AM   #9
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


Thats a great idea with the seat, Paint. The only problem are the pipes without lead sleeves. I see copper oxide on no 2 and possibly No 7. If they develop pin holes, he has to go back in later and rip everything out. You are correct, This will be no day at the beach, but it makes no sense to ignore the problem when you have it open. I could address this in a few hours of work, and I would fix it now, rather than later. Someone should have been smart enough to box in around that manifold and fill the box with plaster or drywall mud so it could be dug out, but you know how tract builders think. Just get it done, right or wrong. Hooray for me and the hell with Harry!

Cmon Allen, you've seen worse than this havent you?

Weep now or sob later.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:49 PM   #10
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


Thanks for the feedback guys, there was a steel plate with notches cut out for each pipe at the base of the wall i removed. The pipes that have corrosion had direct contact to the steel, by removing this I hope to have stopped any future corrosion.

making a seat in the shower is a good idea but not the optimal layout i was hoping for.

This was before...



and this is what i was hoping to do. now that running the shower drain over to add a tub is almost out of question, I was thinking about just one large shower, maybe even a 2 person with 2 heads.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:04 PM   #11
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In concrete copper piping nightmare


At 66, one hip replaced, and O-Arthur, I really like the seat idea, and one is definitely going into my tub tear out, and new large shower install. I have a nice long deep Jacuzzi with 8 jets I put in for baths in one bathroom, and see no need for another tub.

Plus I get to build a water pan and pump setup for one of my Radial arm saws that I picked up for a song on Ebay.

One old Delta Rockwell Supersaw, and a Dewalt 12 inch 7790 3.5HP. HooooooRah!

Sorry I got carried away. I don't like the copper in contact with the lime in the concrete, and neither did the original plumber, as he wrapped the pipes with lead, right? I don't understand his brain fart on the two pipes where it is missing.

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Last edited by jagans; 01-13-2013 at 03:07 PM.
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