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Old 04-14-2012, 03:58 PM   #1
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Remodel vs. repair bathroom slab on grade


I have been a long time lurker to this forum and have always found great advice from different perspectives. I like the "DIY" philosophy but there are times when I am happy to pay the premium for someones knowledge and experience. I just need a starting point. Here is my problem.

My southern California (near Disneyland) single story home has a "moist" area next to the slab. Even on dry days there is a area butting up to the outside of my slab (about 24" wide and spreads out onto the yard) that stays wet. The bathroom is near this wet spot, but about 3 feet over. There is no evidence of moisture in the bathroom (silverfish, though) or next to the bathroom in any direction. My copper feed pipes were re-routed to the attic years ago.

I stopped using the bathroom 3 days ago and the wet area immediately started drying out. I think I have a sewer leak under a on-grade concrete slab floor.

My wife said "We want to remodel and move the bathtub as well as the sink. Why not just break out the slab and have a plumber re-pipe and repair any problems."

It makes sense, I do want to move the bathtub and that will entail breaking out the slab in order to put in a new p-trap. I have to tear the bathroom down to the studs in order to re-pipe, run electrical, and prepare for the tile. Why not?

The bathroom is TINY! 68" by 99".

I called a local remodel contractor (a carpenter) and another (a tile installer) and both said "no problem, we move drains all the time". The quoted me a total remodel cost of around $15,000

Problem is, neither one of them is a plumber. And I believe I need to solve my drain issue before picking out tile or deciding on what kind of pocket door I want.

I spoke with a concrete cutting contractor, he said "If you tear the bathroom down to the studs and eliminate any plumbing protrusions, I will cut the whole floor out up to 3" from the floor plates. I will also haul away the concrete. I can do it for $900. You can call in your plumber to fix your problems and re-pipe for your remodel."

I guess I would still need to get another concrete contractor out to lay a new slab after the plumber is done.

I would like to ask the experts in this forum. Am I going in the right direction?
I know I should call in a master class plumber for advice, and I will. I am trying to combine the below-slab repair with the remodel relocation of plumbing drains and save me some costs. Is cutting out the ENTIRE floor dangerous? Or is it a reasonable alternative?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 04-14-2012, 07:29 PM   #2
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Remodel vs. repair bathroom slab on grade


All good questions---consult with a good local plumber--with a layout in hand---I think he will like the idea of you getting the slab opened and closed for him-(or her)

The fellow that gave you the quote to remove and haul the old slab might be interested in finishing the new slab also---after the plumber finishes up----His price sounded reasonable.

You could hire the rest of the work out to a contractor--or get in your own electrician--drywall guy and tile setter---

Often it's cheaper in the long run to hire a bathroom contractor for the finish work.

Start with a good local plumber----

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Old 04-14-2012, 09:33 PM   #3
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Remodel vs. repair bathroom slab on grade


Thank you so much for the advice oh'mike.

I will contact a local plumber with rough-in and ground work experience as the next step.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:54 AM   #4
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Remodel vs. repair bathroom slab on grade


Sounds like a fairly common job for an experienced plumber---Your slab cutter guy will be welcome--few plumbers really enjoy ripping and hauling old concrete---
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