Replacing Old Drain Plumbing

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Do you love older houses? I do but one thing that we have found in our 1953 house is that the plumbing and some of the electrical needs to be updated… Probably something to think about with buying an older home because we didn’t. The biggest problem we were having was draining issues in all of our drains. Water would fill up our utility sink downstairs and the tub/sink in the bathroom took forever to drain (we are talking at least 15 minutes).

So last year we found out that our drain plumbing needed some major help, find out about that HERE. It looked something like this after digging up…

plumbing issues

So we replaced all the underground plumbing last year and most of the plumbing going to the kitchen sink. But we did not redo the drain stack for both of our bathrooms. So for another year we had the joy of dealing with a tub and sink that would never really drain. The biggest problems with these were that the sink drain did not slope down, like it should. It sloped slightly up, meaning water had a hard time getting out of the pipe. Problem two was that the tub drain came out hit a 90, another 90, then another 90 of straight not angled pipe, to another 90, and then it connected into the toilet drain not the stack. Here is what we were dealing with, sorry picture was taken with iPad…


Do you see the problem? Anyways I think you get the picture that our plumbing needed to be updated. Lucky for us is that my dad knows a thing or two about plumbing, making it possible for us to do this project ourselves.

We decided while we were removing the toilet upstairs to replace it with a new one and put the old one downstairs, plus my dad had an old sink that we could use to give us a makeshift bathroom downstairs. This is the first time in our 8 years of marriage to have two toilets in our home, pretty excited about that.


We started on a Saturday morning at about 8 am by removing the toilet upstairs and resetting it in the bathroom downstairs, that way if anyone needed to go to the bathroom they would have a toilet.


Next we started to remove all the old cast iron pipe. And that guy was a beast! It would have been easier if we would have had the tool to cut cast iron but a metal drill bit and a hammer did an OK job. We would drill a hole through the pipe then hammer away.

Because the stack was cast iron, there was joints about every 4-5 ft (because they are heavy!). This was what made it difficult to remove the pipe up the wall and out the roof because the joints would not fit and it was heavy. We were able to remove the pipe without cutting too many holes in the drywall but took us about 3 hours, Eric was the lucky one to be hunched over in the attic hammering away…


By noon we had all the old pipe out of the house, so we took a lunch break. I do feed my workers!

After lunch we installed all the new pipe, new toilet upstairs and bathroom sink downstairs, took about another 4 hours. Here is my brother holding the pipe, we took the new pipe from the roof to the drain stain.


I thought about explaining how to do it but everyone’s plumbing is so different I decided not to, plus my dad did most of the work. It did cost a little less than $300 to replace all the old pipe on the stack (about 20 ft), supplies, and a new toilet (we did get all the stuff for a contractor price because of my dad). If you had a plumber come do the work you would be looking at a price above $1,500 (I think) plus some drywall repair.


Sorry this post did not share exactly how to replace a cast iron drain stack but I wanted to share the cost and time it took us, with about 3 people. Have a wonderful day!

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