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Cost Estimate for Waste & Overflow


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  • Cost Estimate for Waste & Overflow

    I have to replace the Waste and Overflow kit in my upstairs tub. The job is a bit beyond what I'm willing to take on, seeing that there's no access panel. Anyone have an idea of how much I should expect to pay for something like this? I have a quote for $335...which does not include patch work on the cieling. Sound right?

  • #2
    Without knowing all the details of the contract it is difficult to even comment on the price, however my greater question is, if you have no access to the Waste & Overflow to inspect it, how did they determine that it must be replaced?


    • #3
      It was an assumption of a plumber, based on yellow water damage on the cieling below a 2nd story tub.


      • #4
        Meaning no disrespect but the word Assumption is derived from the word ASSUME. The word assume can then be broken down to to its root ASS-U&Me and quite often that is the end result, an assumption often proves to make us all look a bit foolish in the end.

        The appearance of a yellowish stain on a ceiling directly below a tub is a strong indicator that there is a minor leak, however it still does not determine if the leak is resulting from a drain leak, a water supply line leak, a leaking mixer valve or shower riser, or even an improperly pitched tub that may allow shower water to run off on the floor, or a bad caulking joint on the tub apron. There simply are too many variables to begin cutting into ceilings and replacing pipes without taking some simple DIY precautions or further investigative steps.

        If your home is plumbed with PVC pipe in the DWV system it is highly unlikely that the Waste & Overflow piping is leaking because the code prohibits using slip joint type waste and overflow kits in concealed locations. When the waste and overflow is in a concealed location we must us a glue in type kit.

        I would begin by addressing the most common sources of tub leaks which can be addressed through non-invasive techniques which will not require opening the walls of ceilings.

        1. The most common source of a leak under a tub is the tub drain basket. Using an inexpensive Tub-BAsket Wrench the basket can be pulled. Once the basket is pulled the rubber gasket that fits between the tub shoe and the underside of the tub can be replaced through the tub drain hole. You can then clean the underside of the tub basket flange, apply plumbers putty or silicone, and tightly reset the tub basket with the basket wrench.

        2. in most households today we rarely fill the tub so the likelihood of the overflow leaking is very slim, however, if you do fill the tub occassionally it would time well spent to remove the overflow cover, then carefully work the rubber gasket between the overflow and the backside of the tub out, apply a thin film of silicone on the gasket, then re-insert the gasket and tighten the overflow in place.

        3.Pull the shower arm pipe out of the wall and clean the threads on the end of the pipe, install 3 full wraps of Red Teflon Tape (Red teflon tape is triple density tape which is certified for use on 1/2NPT threads) or pipe dope and re-insert the shower arm and tighten it in place.

        4. Remove the shower/faucett mixer assembly handles and escutcheon tubes, then use a flashlight to visually inspect the valve stem packings or stem to body connection for signs of leaks. You may see droplets of water or corrosion that would be telltale signs that a leak may exist. If you see signs of leaking near the handle stem, the stem packing nuts can usually be tightened a bit to solve the problem. If there is signs of leaks at the base of the stem where it joins the mixer body, you can first try tightening the stem, or you could shut the water off, pull the stem and replace the O-ring gaskets. (The o-rings are available at all hardware stores for under $.20 each).

        5.Carefully examing the tub spout for sings of leaking or corrosion on the underside of the spout pipe. Quite often the spout tips will become corroded and water will cling to the underside of the spout by surface tension, then go down inside the wall. The solution, replace the tub spout.

        6. After someone takes a shower, check the front apron on the tub and the floor area carefully to see if the tub may be improperly pitched or the shower curtain is not properly keeping the water in the tub. In many cases that problem can be resolved by installing plastic shower guards on both ends of the tub.

        7. Carefully examine tile grout or caulked seams in the shower enclosure. If in doubt, regrout the tile and seal the grout or recaulk all seams.

        In all likelihood these measures will resolve your problem. If not, what is the worst that can happen? A bit more water damage to the sheetrock below, but given that you are going to have to cut that sheetrock out to replace any piping anyway, there is no increase in loss.

        I am attaching some illustrations that will help you visualize the steps I outlined.

        NOTE: previously I mentioned a tub basket wrench. There are many varieties of basket wrenches available which range from about $4 to well over $50. The inexpensive cast metal type are available at all hardware stores and should prove more than adequate for the occssaional use of homeowners. I am including an illustration of a cast metal basket wrench that is available at all hardware stores for about $3.98. The bottom of the wrench has a recessed cross that will stradle the cross in the drain basket, If that doesnt fit you can use the pickle fork end to straddle the cross.