Moving kitchen sink drain in slab - will house vibrate much?

brownliNovember 5, 2006

Ok, laugh at my question now, then know I'm serious with the asking. We're doing a full kitchen remodel and will be moving our kitchen sink drain a few feet (slab) and adding an additional drain for a second sink. I have no clue how the plumber will 'bust up' the slab foundation, but I'm assuming a jack hammer or similar tool. My question is: How much vibration will there be throughout the house, and more specifically, will any dishware, glass, etc. stored in cabinets and open shelving be in jeapordy in adjacant rooms. I fear our glassware will 'walk' off the shelves due to the vibration. Ok, laugh, then please respond.

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on a residential slab a plumber may just use a sledge hammer.
Jackhammers are at times quicker, but they are brutal to work with. I would recomend removing all glassware/fragile items from shelving as a precaution. Cabinets should be ok if you secure the doors shut.
The biggest issue determining the amount of vibration (besides method)will be the amount of concrete that needs to be busted out. Also if say there was jackhammering occuring by a wall with a shelf on the other side that would be more at risk for vibrating than shelves in other rooms.

One last tip: When the plumber finishes the pipe work and gets ready to repair the floor (or someone else does) be sure that all unsound concrete is removed from the edges of the area busted out.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 3:24PM
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I think that the plumber will use whatever tool he already owns that will be the most efficient. If he owns a concrete saw, be prepared to deal with a huge cloud of concrete dust.
He may have a large electric demo hammer or electric jackhammer. Either of these will be up to the task of busting up a few feet of slab quickly. I predict that they will not register on your richter scale.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 6:27PM
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Thanks to all for the information, tips and advice. I'm less nervous now and will pay attention to my fragile glassware. The 'dig' is in the middle of the kitchen, a good 6 feet from any wall, so I'm feeling more comfortable about the surrounding rooms. Either my husband or I will be here the day of the 'dig' and will be sure to check the concrete edges before repair begins. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 6:39PM
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We just had a similar situation. We're moving our kitchen to old master bedroom. A 16 foot "trench" needed to be cut into slab to connect plumbing and electrical to island and perimeter sink. We used a concrete saw to cut completely through slab and rebar to dirt underneath. Two "lines" about a foot apart, were cut with the saw. Then a sledgehammer was used to break up the concrete into pieces small enough to be carried out. I honestly did not notice any vibration; I was just outside a window looking in. The dust was not as bad as I thought it would be because the saw had a hose attachment and a small but steady stream of water flowed as the slab was being cut. My husband had the wet vac going at the same time to minimize water buildup. We also had a jackhammer used on a smaller area and the dust from that was worse as was the noise. Did not notice any vibration from that either. But I would remove anything that you didn't want dust on, because no matter how well you tape and use plastic, the dust gets everywhere.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 8:06PM
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Dust is bad for sure, but yours is not an unreasonable question. I definitely think removing the nearby breakables (and keeping an eye out when they start breaking stuff) is a good idea...but as others say, it depends somewhat on how they're going to do it.

Rotag, interesting how you went back down to bare earth, a question though:

Since doing so compromised the waterproof barrier designed to stop damp rising through the concrete slab, how did you deal with that? Did you put new plastic down and integrate it with the original membrane?

Did you have any dampness problems after that?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 10:41AM
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pjb - That was the same question we had about the barrier. When that portion of the slab was dug out, no existing barrier was found. Our house is over 25 years and we have the building plan from previous owner, which indicates a barrier should have been in place. Our architect (we are doing an extensive remodel and addition)speculated that one was never in place or it rotted away over time; we just don't know. We are still working on that area and it is not filled in yet. He said we could put polyethylene in place, but that would probably be a waste of time, since there probably isn't a barrier anywhere else. We have lived in the house over 20 years and have never had a problem with dampness.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 3:41PM
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An update - yesterday the plumber jackhammered in our kitchen for about 2 hours - we are now with a relocated sink drain and a new one as well. OH the dust! More than I had even imagined - and I'm familiar with tile and sheetrock dust - but this was alot - still is! The vibration could be 'felt' out on the street, yet nothing seemed affected in the house. I hope the neighbors fared as well! Thanks again for the information you all shared. Now on to electrical and paint!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 10:24PM
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I use a woodshop air cleaner with a higher (5 micron) bag attachment to keep dust down. I have resurfaced wood floors (very dusty job) with no dust problems. I would have insisted on a cement saw. I converted one of my wormsaws to a makeshift wet cement saw, still working after 10 years. Dry it off after use. Good luck on the eclectric, sorry I was too late

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 11:52PM
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lenl - Not too late at all. We're having granite countertops installed and 2 pieces will be quite large. We're told that the sink cutouts may be done on site, inside so we'll be battling dust any tips are welcome.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 9:45PM
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Hi there,
would anyone mind giving me a ballpark figure of what the slab-smashing, drain-dragging might cost?
My husband and I totally remodeled our last kitchen, we had a crawlspace then, for $16k in 4 months. We had it down to the studs & subfloor and took out a wall. We bought a new house over the summer and it's on a slab. After living here for a couple of months we can see that the floor plan of the kitchen, living room & dining area doesn't really work for us. But since neither of us have ever lived on a slab we don't know what to expect if we did it ourselves, or if we would have to have someone come in and do the work. So, any info you have with respect to who did the work, what got moved and how far, and what that part of the remodel cost, would be very helpful. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 12:06AM
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ucleanne - Our total plumbing bill was approx $2,500 - this included relocating the one sink drain and creating a second one; the price also included all other plumbing (sink/faucet/GD hookups, gas hookups, cold water line, etc). I know that we originally were to have just the one sink and when we requested a second line be run, he added $750 bringing the total to the $2500 I mentioned above.

I guess that each line run from the existing one was about 5-6 ft for one and 6-7 ft for the other.

Oh and our slab was/is a post-tension slab which supposedly requires a bit more caution when busting up.

Hope this helps - btw we're north central Texas.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 5:12AM
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ucleanne - here is a pic of our mess from way back when...the plumber is sitting where the original drain was and then you see the 2 new lines. He used a big jack hammer to do the work.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 5:20AM
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Thanks brownli,

That price seems reasonable. In LA, I would assume that I should multiply your cost by about 2 or 3, which is still a possibility.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:12AM
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I have a question.
We are doing a master bath remodel.
It was suggested today that we could use a sauna area
for a shower. The sauna is on concrete next to an outside wall with one end being next to my bedroom.

Will the vibration crack my plaster walls and ceiling?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 10:40PM
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Using a concrete saw w/ diamond blade, keeping the area and blade wet to control dust issues, making the length cuts w/ a series of perpindicular relief cuts every 2-3 inches generally leaves you only having to hand chisel out between the relief cuts w/ no jack hammer or rotary hammering necessary. I've used a diamond blade on my worm drive skil saw on small projects keeping the area and blade wet, making perpindicular relief cuts, hand chiseling w/ little or no vibration concerns. Still a good idea to plastic everywhere you dont want dust because as wet as you can keep things, you will still get a certain amount of dust flying around. Keep a shop vac handy.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:34AM
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A shop vac w/ a fine particulates filter geared for fine dusts such as drywall. Most shop vacs offer these filters to fit their unit.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:50AM
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