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Old 10-25-2012, 10:26 PM   #1
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Need help solving cast iron pipe level with concrete


Greetings all,

I am in the process of putting a small bathroom in my basement. The house was built in 1890, though I can't say for sure that the plumbing is that old. What I can tell you is that I had the three pipes coming up in one corner of the basement checked out the other day and the two I was most concerned with are in fact tied into the sewer line. Unfortunately, it isn't just as simple as connecting a few pipes and calling it a day.

The drain pipe for the toilet is a 4" cast iron pipe. I have two problems. First, this pipe comes up flush with the concrete floor in that spot. I know there are flanges that you can get that go into the pipe and manage to put pressure from the inside and create a seal. That would be great, but that leads us to problem two...

Before I bought the house the previous owner thought it would be brilliant to pour more concrete to hide the poor condition of the previous concrete floor. The entire basement is level aside from the corner where these three pipes come up. That portion sits about three inches lower.

I'm completely fine with having to find a way to support some sort of subfloor so that the entire area is level with the rest of the basement, and the pipe coming up for the sink is easily 4" tall and will be plenty to work with, but I have no idea how I'm going to get the toilet flange to reach the cast iron pipe that will be around 4" below the top of the subfloor.

Some searching has led to people recommending toilet flange extenders, but will such a thing really cover that kind of distance?

I'm fearing that what I need to do is break up concrete around the pipe low enough to install one of the donuts I've run across, convert the pipe to PVC and then I can cut an extension as long as I need.

Mentally I'm prepared to do that, but if I go through all that work and then someone tells me they make toilet flange extensions that could easily bridge such a gap I'd be furious.

Any thoughts? If pictures would help I will certainly take some and post them.

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Old 10-25-2012, 10:49 PM   #2
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Need help solving cast iron pipe level with concrete


I know they make a 4" closet flange extension in cast because I used one last year. However, 4" would not be enough for you since you need 4" plus your subfloor and tile thickness. I don't know if you can get a 6" closet flange.
Considering most older basement floor are usually only 2" or less thick, breaking up the floor area and installing the proper pipes would probably be a better idea.
You can cut cast iron pipe pretty easy with a standard grinder with a cutting wheel or diamond blade.
You should check your local Codes. Some municipalities do not allow PVC inground.

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Old 10-25-2012, 10:58 PM   #3
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Need help solving cast iron pipe level with concrete


Thanks for the response.

What about these Fernco donuts that convert the 4" cast iron pipe to a 3" PVC? It sounds like Lowes and similar places sell a default size, but based on Fercon's website they ask for the exact dimensions of your pipe so that they can make one fit perfectly.

That would be incredibly easy if it worked. I would be able to just pop that sucker in, cut a 3" PVC to whatever length I needed, put the floor in and then work with things from there.

Too good to be true?
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:28 AM   #4
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Need help solving cast iron pipe level with concrete


This looks almost what you are looking for, I think it is about 4" deep and may not be enough for you, but available at home depot. You may look around and find one longer.
The fernco rubber connections do work well and I am not ashamed of using them.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:29 AM   #5
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Need help solving cast iron pipe level with concrete


Thanks for the response. I'll swing by the ol' Home Depot tomorrow. It sounds like some people have luck with the standard sized donuts that Home Depot and Lowes have on hand. Maybe I will get lucky. Otherwise, I'll shoot Fernco some numbers and get one custom made.

Thankfully, this bathroom won't really be used much. It is more of a backup bathroom while I tear out my kitchen and only current bathroom to remodel in a month.

I appreciate the help and will certainly keep an eye on this post for a while in case anyone has other suggestions.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:25 PM   #6
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Need help solving cast iron pipe level with concrete


For your situation you should go to the nearest plumbing supplier. They'll have what you need, or can order it in for you.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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Need help solving cast iron pipe level with concrete


Well, I appreciate all of your responses.

I just got done solving the problem. Turns out things were slightly different than I thought. When I measured the cast iron pipe it was 4". I didn't realize that the donuts I had seen were meant for joining something at the bell of the pipe. It didn't take long for me to realize that the donut stood absolutely no chance of fitting in the actual 4" portion of the pipe.

I decided I'd see about breaking away the concrete and figuring out how to deal with things once I got that far. After just a few minutes of breaking it away I discovered that someone at some point had broken off the pipe right at the bell.

After a few hours and several battery changes I successfully drilled around the entire ring of lead and was able to get the ring out. I then discovered all the dirt or whatever it was that seemed to be in between the main pipe and and the piece I was trying to remove.

A couple hours later I got it out with the use of hammers, crow bars and brute strength. Thankfully, the donut fit perfectly and I have it properly placed in its new home.

Anyway, problem solved and I appreciate all of the suggestions. I'm about to redo the plumbing elsewhere in this place, and though I don't expect any problems (I never do...), I'm certain I will run into something (I always do...) and have to swing by these boards to ask for help.

Again, many thanks.

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