House is from the early 1960's on concrete slab. Almost immediately upon moving in six years ago, experienced an issue with the toilet in the basement at the back of the house backing up.
Called a drain cleaning service, roots in the sewer line.
Since then have had the sewer line cleaned twice more when the problem cropped back up, which is once every two years like clockwork.
Last time was last Monday, when an inexperienced plumber came out and had the snake break off in the sewer line. A more experienced plumber was dispatched to help. He offered me a free camera job. This made me suspicious -- was this because he had a customer who was bordering on irate or because he felt the first plumber had damaged something?
Camera guy comes out today. Sewer line from the house to the street is terra cotta, roots coming in at the joints, no surprise there.
The BIG surprise was that the pipe that runs under the slab from the house to the back toilet is rotted out. No bottom at all. Saw it with my own eyes.
Is this common for a house of this age? Could this have been done by the snake?
And is there a reason why replacing with cast iron is preferred over PVC?
No reason to be suspicious. He knew if you were having to snake regularly that there was a bigger problem down there. He gave you a free camera view to compensate for the snake breaking.
Terra Cotta has a certain lifespan and you got 50 years out of it. We had Orangeburg pipe in our neighborhood and every one's went out around 40 years.
Everyone replaced the Orangeburg with PVC. No reason to use Cast Iron underground. You want to make sure they don't use a bigger PVC pipe than the union to the city sewer line. (don't get 6" if it will have to reduce to 4" - that happened to an elderly widow next to us)