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Old 03-16-2013, 02:36 PM   #1
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Rusting steel pipes on main drain stack

I am working on a rental that I have in between tenants and noticed some rust on the outside of a painted steel drain stack. Couple of questions for someone who could share some knowledge.

If the rust is from the inside out here, is that likely happening the rest of the length?

Can I get away with just replacing the steel pipe with pvc (what is above ground) or do I need to check it out to the street?

All of the pipe that leads to tub, toilets(2), and sinks(3) are steel. Should that be replaced as well?

additional info:
It is on pipes that have been kept painted for 40 or so years.
The dishwasher apparently backs up into the bathroom sink...although I have never seen or been able to replicate it. No front yard trees that could have punctured or blocked the line to the street.

I attached a picture. there is also a spot going to the kitchen sink drain. The rest of it "appears" fine.

Thanks, any help would be appreciated.
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Rusting steel pipes on main drain stack-20130313_185529.jpg  


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Old 03-16-2013, 02:41 PM   #2
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That's cast iron not steel.
And yes at some point it's all going to leak and start to plug up on the inside from scaling.


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Old 03-16-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
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also.... I was not able to find any thing remotely similar in terms of pvc fittings that look that that.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:43 PM   #4
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yes you are correct...cast iron. dont know why i typed steel
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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Wow a plumber has a job replacing all this with pvc.

Where its rusted your best to just replace it all with pvc and be done with it. Its not going to be cheap.
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:32 PM   #6
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Moved to Plumbing forum.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:24 PM   #7
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If you replace the stack you most likely will have to get a professional plumber because the new install will have to be upgraded to current code. Since you are not a resident home owner you will need to hire a plumbing contractor to pull permits. Rental owners are considered as a commercial job in Ohio. Your state may have different requirements.

I would not recommend anyone start cutting into a cast iron stack unless you know exactly what you are doing. At best you may get lucky and it will not collapse on you. At worse you may loose a few fingers if the stack closes on them. Cast Iron is heavy and may cause injury or death. Especially the main stack that may go all the way out the roof.

By the way I had a plumber I know lose his finger by having it in the wrong place on such a stack. He forgot about securing it with a friction clamp above his cut.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:34 PM   #8
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Good warning ghost Maker. He is not kidding that stuff can be deadly.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:11 AM   #9
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In my experience that rust does not mean its leaking. Still keep an eye on it. That looks like a fun job to replace although can be costly.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:12 AM   #10
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This is the type of job where you know where your going to start you just don't know where your going to finish, and its usually replacing everything. This is not a DIYers Job, this ones for a pro.

Experience is Knowing what to do next, Skill is knowing how to do it
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:37 AM   #11
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WoW! Id cut out that fitting just above the transitions, Mount it to a stable base, Get myself a diagonal cut from a large wallnut tree, and finish it with satin polyurethane.

What a cool coffee table you would have! Thats a piece of Americana art!

Got to be sure riser clamps are in good shape, but its been there for a long time so I suspect it is properly supported.

By the way, its not all cast iron, there are galvanized or white metal tie in's there too, but the main spider fitting is CI. Must have been cast for this project. Cool.


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