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Calm_Blue_Ocean 01-01-2008 10:16 PM

I'm putting a bathroom into an unfinished basement (as well as a kitchenette and stackable washer/drier). I have two covered openings through the concrete floor - I assume one is a rough-in for a toilet and the second is a clean-out. I'm surprised at how close together they are. The street (i.e. the sewer) is located towards the top of the photo; the upper-right connection is about a foot from the wall. Am I correct to assume the slanted connection in the bottom right is for a toilet? I need to put in a shower as well and of course I want to keep the clean-out accessible. Can I extend the clean-out upwards a couple feet and hide it in a wall with an access panel? Can I tie my bathroom sink and possibly the shower drain into this extension of the cleanout? Is it a bad idea to tie things in 'dowstream' of this cleanout (I'm under the impression that there should be one cleanout between your last connection and the sewer).

The placement of the rough-in is not ideal but I need to get this project done quickly with the least amount of grief. I'm a newbie when it comes to plumbing. Any advice is greatly appreciated

Calm_Blue_Ocean 01-01-2008 11:23 PM

Another question. There's a floor drain to the lower left. I'm moving the laundry area and don't need this drain. Is is possible to put my shower directly over this and use this drain as the drain for my shower? This would save me a lot of work putting in a p-trap.

Marlin 01-02-2008 06:49 PM

Those both look like clean outs. Usually a toilet rough is simply capped off, those both have clean outs installed on them. A toilet rough in also wouldn't be angled.
As for using your floor drain as a shower drain. It may be possible assuming that the floor drain line is 2" or larger and that it is properly vented. I know you don't want to hear this but you're probably going to be chopping the slab if you want to put a bathroom there.

Calm_Blue_Ocean 01-03-2008 05:34 AM

Hmm.... yes it did seem odd to me that it was angled. I can’t see why there would be two cleanouts right next to each other. (I suspect that the sewer simply runs on a diagonal between these). The building inspector had told me the top one was a rough-in (although he admitted plumbing was not his forte), and I am now inclined to agree. I didn't realize the second cleanout existed until a few days ago when I moved the dryer. I’d like to tie into the top (straight) one if possible (it fits my floor plan).

In all likelihood I will need to break a lot of concrete for my shower as it cannot sit over that drain and leave enough room for a kitchenette. Instead I may need to place it 4 feet to the left of the upper cleanout/rough-in. I'm not looking forward to this as the floor is 7 inches thick (at least it is surrounding those cutouts). Am I correct to assume that renting a jackhammer is the best way to go? Man, my neighbor is going to love me!

Also, I’ll need to get rid of that drain - is it OK to cap that drain and simply cement over it? I will attempt to extend the slanted clean-out up into a new wall (accessible through an access panel). If I do this, can I drain a sink into the side of it? I think I have a firm grasp of the concepts involved, but I have not done any major plumbing projects. Thanks.

Bondo 01-03-2008 06:49 AM


Am I correct to assume that renting a jackhammer is the best way to go?
Another avenue would be to rent a handheld 14" Demosaw,....
Make a few cuts with it,+ Sledgehammer them loose,+ Pry them out with a Crowbar........

bigMikeB 01-03-2008 07:00 AM

The two cleanouts are so close because one is required for each change of direction of the piping, the angled one looks like the main clean out.

Marlin 01-03-2008 05:16 PM

You could rough a toilet into the clean out but it isn't going to pass any inspections and you now have no clean out.
If you're jackhammering the floor already I'd suggest just opening the whole thing and doing it right. That is going to entail working with cast iron though, I'm not sure what your level of experiance/learning curve is.

Calm_Blue_Ocean 01-03-2008 06:55 PM

To be perfectly honest, it won't be inspected. The town I live in is a world onto itself. Fort McMurray sits on the Athabasca Oil Sands (the second largest deposit of oil in the world and currently one of the main suppliers of oil to the US). The town is booming at an incredible rate (the population grows nearly 10% per year). Construction cannot keep up and as a result mobile homes sell for over $400,000 and small basement apartments rent for more than $2,000 a month (company living allowances are really high here as well). I, like most of the new home owners in this town, need to install a basement suite in order to afford my mortgage. I intend to sell the house in a couple years. My friend purchased a semi-detached home similar to mine 15 months ago for $320,000, built a basement suite and had it reappraised 5 months ago for $465,000. It's almost certainly worth over $520,000 now. Hiring a contractor in this town is prohibitively expensive.

Anyway, the point is that 'illegal' basement suites provide much of the housing in this town and the city has made it clear they have no intension of regulating them (several members of the city council have illegal suites in their own basements). I intend to do things right and by the code wherever possible. I always err on the side of caution. In this case, however, if I can get away with using the cleanout I will. If I don't use it I will have to move it out of the way (it's in a pretty good spot for a toilet right now). If I needed to access this pipe later, removing the toilet to do so is not a huge deal.

Marlin 01-03-2008 08:08 PM

Well you're going to have to chop the floor anyway to adapt a lead bend or something to the cast iron around the clean out.
This toilet also would not be vented which isn't good. Basically it can be done but you're asking for problems with stoppages and sewer gas.

Calm_Blue_Ocean 01-04-2008 12:00 AM

Thanks Mike and Marlin, it's making sense now (they are of course cleanouts as you said). I dug around as best I could with my hands. The sewer turns at the slanted cleanout and turns straight down at the second cleanout. It continues downward past the length of my arm. There is no cast iron that I can see and I haven't heard of anyone here (with a house the same age as mine) having that in their basement (the city sewer connection is considerably deeper). I've included a new photo showing what I found (I was able to dig my hand between the two cleanouts). While blindly digging I put my finger through a rusted tin can (at the top of photo)... I thought it was a pipe...that was a tense moment :). Note that there is a flexpipe running under the floor - I have no idea what this is, perhaps a foundation drain?

There are three other cleanouts in the basment. One where the stack comes down from upstairs, one where the upstairs kitchen sink drains, and one on the drain pipe for the washing machine.

I certainly don't want venting problems. I'm going to have to rethink my basement layout. The challenge now will be to keep both of these cleanouts accesable. I'll do up a better map and see if you guys can help me. I'll be much happier when I get to the carpentry and drywalling!

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