Renovating 1976 house- these pipes look ok?

Bridget HelmJuly 16, 2014

Hi. We are renovating a house built in 1976. Our contractor is also a master plumber. He is on the fence about these pipes in the picture. One of them is bent a little. Whoever put the cabinets in banged the pipe until it bent a little to fit under a 12" deep cabinet.

My kitchen cabinet design will have a standard depth 36" wide cabinet pantry here, so the architect says the pipes will be protected and won't be a problem. Our contractor is uneasy leaving the pipes as they are. But he isn't insisting we update them or whatever it is he thinks would make them "better". If our budget were open ended, I'd improve the pipes. but we are trying to get everything done for 80k and this type if plumbing is not in the list of "must do/must have". Of course, we left a little cushion for surprises that will become must dos. However, we already ran into a few, so that cushion is used up.

Say do you think we MUST update or reroute these pipes?

(What you are looking at is pipes in the slab of the kitchen floor). One is be t over a little to the right. This bothers our contractor/plumber.

Thanks for your input!

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Bridget Helm

This is a closer pic of the pipes. Also, he built a little blockade around them so that they don't accidentally get stepped on etc

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:04AM
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geoffrey_b

What a mess. A true hack job. Fix it while you got it opened up!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 12:31PM
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Bridget Helm

That's pretty much what the plumber said :(

I'm guessing it's going to cost alot

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:36PM
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Bridget Helm

Any other opinions?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:35AM
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greg_2010

What's under your kitchen? A basement?
Where are all those pipes going and which pipes are the supply?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:02AM
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geoffrey_b

bmh4796: "Any other opinions?"

What other opinion do you want?

If you want, I could change my previous opinion and say:

"Those pipes look great, a real quality design and installation. They are just shy of 40 years old - but hey - they should last at least to 2100."

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:48PM
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lisadlu

BMH - If you trust your plumber I would go with his recommendation. I am facing a similar situation. I was all set to remodel our 1973 kitchen when we've had major plumbing and AC issues. So instead of a new kitchen, I'm getting AC and plumbing. Funny how these things reared their ugly heads just before I pulled the trigger on the kitchen. Scrimp elsewhere if you can but you should have solid infrastructure. Sorry, I know it's not what you want to hear. I keep telling myself the same thing and I don't want to hear it either. :(

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:30PM
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hippy

Three houses here on one street have been sitting empty for over 5 years up for sell cheap and no one will even look at them.

Why??

They are built on a slab.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:53PM
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lisadlu

I have been on a slab and on a crawl space. Crawl space is definitely preferred for ease of plumbing issues. But being on a slab wouldn't deter me from buying a house. It can be replumbed going through attic if you don't want to jackhammer out the slab. I do wonder though whose bright idea it was to start using slab foundations as opposed to crawl spaces!!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Run PEX home runs from the attic down through the walls and abandon the copper in the slab. You'll be heading off the inevitable pinhole leaks that are impossible to deal with piecemeal.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Bridget Helm

sorry geoffrey. i guess i was still in denial. the pipes run up the wall into the attic. i am in South Louisiana, so no basement. i didn't know that the age of copper pipes was an issue. the plumber didn't say anything about the age. he was concerned about the bent one mostly. he basically said that whomever did that was an idiot and that he has never seen anything like it before.

everyone told me not to buy an old house. i said it will be fine! but i'm starting to regret our decision. AC, wiring, plumbing, asbestos adhesive, and a yard that is so overgrown and unkempt you'd swear you were in the Amazon. Oh my! They make movies about this stuff because there really is a LOT of drama with renovating an older home.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:15AM
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hippy

Posted by lisadlu

It can be replumbed going through attic if you don't want to jackhammer out the slab.
=======================

How do you run sewer lines up through an attic and get it to roll up hill?

Guy is in a world of hurt here that owns an apartment complex that is built on slabs. He has raw sewage seeping from under one slab where the drain exits. To repair it. He must find places for 6 families to live while he rips out the carpet, jack hammers the floor, rip holes through walls, remove kitchen sinks, commodes, showers and vanities until he finds the break, repair it, repair the walls, Repair the floor, reinstall the kitchen sinks, commodes, showers and vanities, reinstall the carpet and move everyone back in..

He must move the families out first due to he can not give a specific time frame as to when or how long the water must be shut off to the building to do the repairs.

House on a slab.. Not in my lifetime to have to put up with the cost and aggravation of even the simplest repair.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:27AM
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geoffrey_b

"i didn't know that the age of copper pipes was an issue. the plumber didn't say anything about the age. he was concerned about the bent one mostly. he basically said that whomever did that was an idiot and that he has never seen anything like it before. "

You home is almost 40 years old. That's not 'old' - old' but things don't last forever. All homes need regular care and attention. I certainly wouldn't replace copper pipes if they were exposed (you could get at them to work on them). But being in the slab, and such a hack job, and now you have it opened up - get it made right.

"everyone told me not to buy an old house. i said it will be fine! but i'm starting to regret our decision. AC, wiring, plumbing, asbestos adhesive, and a yard that is so overgrown and unkempt you'd swear you were in the Amazon."

It sounds like you were aware of the condition of the house. Did you have the house inspected before purchase? Hopefully, you bought the house at a reduced price for the A/C, plumbing, wiring issues.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:26PM
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bus_driver

Consider that doing that plumbing was not easy nor fast. It obviously is a retrofit in an existing building and not installed while the building was being constructed. believe that the primary reason for that installation was to make the plumbing as inconspicuous as possible while requiring as little patching as possible after the plumbing. It may well be that the owner very much specified those objectives.
Where is the evidence that functional problems resulted?

This post was edited by bus_driver on Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 7:56

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Bridget Helm

Oh yes. We hired the inspector in town known as the deal breaker. Agents are terrified of him. We did get a reduced price, but the sellers were very fond of their passed away Parent's home, so it wasn't as reduced as I thought it should have been. To make matters worse, the 3 siblings did NOT get along and all had VERY strong personalities. It was a very uncomfortable closing. Lol

The inspector did not notice these pipes, however, because the kitchen cabinets were built over them. We discovered them during demolition. They hammered that one over because her cabinets went from standard depth 25" to 12" in that area so that there would be more space to walk through between the peninsula on the opposite wall and that cabinet.

There is no evidence of functional failure, but we worry they may fail in the future.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:29PM
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kirkhall

I don't think it will cost that much to do, so don't fret over the unknown. It shouldn't be much to take out the bent section (have a look at the inside of the pipes while you're at it) and replace with a proper, less convoluted, less maze-like system.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:33AM
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Bridget Helm

thanks kirkhall.

just curious; how/where are pipes supposed to be in houses on slabs? In the slab?? Or is this allllll wrong - not only is that pipe bent, but it shouldn't be in the slab?? i keep forgetting to ask these questions because we've been working on stuff outside - footings for the addition and pouring that slab. so every time i talk to the contractor, we are outside and i forget. he talks A LOT!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:43AM
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