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Old 11-09-2012, 09:25 PM   #1
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How to fix a leak in the wall


I'm removing an old shower stall from a back room in our house that used to be a small self-contained area for visitors. I believe the room actually used to be a kind of sitting room/bathroom facility for the nearby pool and then got closed off. Whatever the history, we've decided to remove shower, toilet and plumbing and turn the area into an office, complete with bookshelves, built-in desk, etc.

So today I commenced with trying to remove the plumbing, and ran into immediate problems. One of the copper pipes for the former shower comes up straight from the concrete floor, but the other pipe (I believe the hot water) comes out from the bottom angle where the wall and floor meet. I don't know what would have possessed anyone to do it this way, but it's been an absolute nightmare to deal with. If it had been straight out of the wall, or the floor, it's not that difficult an issue to deal with, but being directly in the angle makes it very hard to try and chisel around, because I'm trying to work at both concrete floor and block. The worst case scenario that I was trying to avoid was causing any pinhole leaks in the copper through the constant jarring of the nearby chisel, yet that is exactly what's happened, and annoyingly the leak is an inch or so in the wall.

So I'm now left wondering how to deal with the problem. Initially I had been hoping to work a big enough hole that I could use a small pipe cutter to cut the pipe back in such a way that I could use a Sharkbite cap to seal it off and still have the end sitting deep enough that I could comfortably drywall over the hole. Now of course I have to open up the hole enough that I can cut the pipe far enough back to reach the pinhole leak. I have no way of knowing whether this pipe is coming up from the concrete slab underneath the block wall, or was fed down from above via the wall cavity. If the latter I might be able to pull out enough slack to help cut the pipe where necessary. If it's coming up out of the slab I think I'm going to have to take out substantially more of both the block and the slab around the pipe.

Any suggestions from the plumbing fraternity on how they'd go about this? I'm thinking of hiring an 11lb jackhammer for the job. I figure on having to take out about a third of the block around the pipe jutting out from the wall, which should be small enough not to destabilize the wall. Once done I'll use hydraulic cement to seal it all up again.

Thanks.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:58 AM   #2
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How to fix a leak in the wall


Find the source of these pipes and cut off there.

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Old 11-10-2012, 05:59 AM   #3
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How to fix a leak in the wall


I'd cut it off before it enters the wall. It has to be fed from main line somewhere before the wall I'd think.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:54 AM   #4
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How to fix a leak in the wall


Copper pipe should never have been in direct contact with the concrete.
It will cause it to corrode everytime.
So even if you did cap it off it's still going to be leaking inside the wall.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:17 PM   #5
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How to fix a leak in the wall


Okay, cutting off the pipes at the source isn't possible. This room is at the end of the plumbing system, so cutting off the pipe at the source would mean cutting off water to the entire house. As this is the original copper piping, I imagine it's been run under or in the slab area before the pour. The plumbing to the kitchen, for example, comes up through the slab and out of the block wall. I promise you, if I'd seen an opportunity to cut the pipes at some other point I would have taken it.

So I'm back to the original question - what's the perspective from any of you who are plumbers and how you would go about approaching this particular problem? The way I suggested, of jack-hammering away part of the block and as much of the slab as necessary to free the pipe up? My one concern of course is that I'm jack-hammering under the wall, which means I must be right over the footer, so I don't think I can get right down to the soil.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:48 PM   #6
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How to fix a leak in the wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenbishop View Post
Okay, cutting off the pipes at the source isn't possible. This room is at the end of the plumbing system, so cutting off the pipe at the source would mean cutting off water to the entire house. As this is the original copper piping, I imagine it's been run under or in the slab area before the pour. The plumbing to the kitchen, for example, comes up through the slab and out of the block wall. I promise you, if I'd seen an opportunity to cut the pipes at some other point I would have taken it.

l.
p

There should be no tees under the slab. The pipe you need to cut off should come up out of the slab at some location to cut in the tee. It may be in the wall behind a vanity or the kitchen sink. It will be easier to open the wall than try to cut the slab.

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