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Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

The roots of the problem

So I finally got around to digging up the damaged section of my my sewer main where the roots were getting in. Looks like roots found a hole right in the middle-top of the tile, and grew in and pried it open, cracking it all the way around, and down the length of it.

A look at root invasion seen from the outside...




Now the obvious thing to do here is to remove the broken tile and extend the PVC from the washout T to the next clay tile, which appears to be flawless.

But I'm weighing different potential methods to actually do that, and leave the good tile as unstressed as possible, I certainly don't need to go starting a crack in that one that will run down it under the slab.

Options I'm considering are A) cut it with a carbide grid blade on a reciprocating saw, B) finish the job the roots started on the bad tile, breaking it up and then trying to caaarefully break the "bell" away from the good tile, and C) heating the bell with a torch or heat gun to soften the tar and work the damaged tile off the good one. Or possibly D) rent a snap cutter, though that risks introducing a crack into the tile that will run, or E) call the plumber and say "well, I did the grunt work for you (the digging), can you replace this tile for me?".

The heating idea seems particularly intriguing, since there would be no cutting or banging, it might be least stressful on the good tile of any method, but then again, the heat might cause it to crack due to thermal stress, like a piece of glass, before the tar gave way.

What do you guys think/suggest?

Zach1
Premium
join:2006-11-26
NW Minnesota
I use a diamond blade on my demo saw for clay flue liners and tile. It looks like the original installer laid the tile backwards; usually the bell end is on the upstream side.
--
Zach


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
House is to the left, flow is going right. So the bell is on the upstream side of the tile.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to Zach1
I think the diamond blade is the best idea. Just looked and Lowes has an 8" one for a reciprocating saw for about $13. I'm going to pick one up just to have in my tool box.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Cutting just upstream of the bell with a diamond blade is beginning to sound like a winner. I'll source one out tomorrow, and hopefully get this fixed very soon, since I now have a very big, deep hole in my backyard. haha

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
Dig it out deep enough that the blade is not in the soil. You don't want to take any chances on hitting something and the saw bouncing. That could be enough to break a tile.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Yeh, I will dig it out more, I didn't just yet, because I didn't want to unbed the pipe just yet, since being cracked through, it might completely give way, then I would be out two bathrooms and one kitchen till this is finished.


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to Raphion
A warm climate I presume?


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by mattmag:

A warm climate I presume?

Obviously. No ice to dig through. =p


jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3
reply to Raphion
Get a rubber coupling, place it over the hole in the pipe, and secure it.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by jjoshua:

Get a rubber coupling, place it over the hole in the pipe, and secure it.

I'd rather replace that whole section rather than try to patch it, because it's not simply a small hole there, but a crack that spirals around the pipe for about 2 feet. I'm not confident that it's structurally sound, and could soon collapse if I only patched over the hole.


Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY

1 recommendation

reply to Raphion
said by Raphion:

House is to the left, flow is going right. So the bell is on the upstream side of the tile.

Then you have a bigger problem because S__t doesn't flow uphill!


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by Msradell:

said by Raphion:

House is to the left, flow is going right. So the bell is on the upstream side of the tile.

Then you have a bigger problem because S__t doesn't flow uphill!

Must just be a trick of how you're seeing the picture, because it's definitely down-sloped. In the pic, it is running diagonally away from me, from the lower left, to the upper right. The high PVC you see is the washout, coming vertically to the surface.


jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3
reply to Raphion
As long as the pipe is exposed and you're doing work, you might as well put a camera down the pipe to see if there are any other problems.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by jjoshua:

As long as the pipe is exposed and you're doing work, you might as well put a camera down the pipe to see if there are any other problems.

I have looked down it as far as I can see, and don't see anything other than very light curtains of roots at some joins. The kind of thing that rootx should take care of. Water certainly flows like there's nothing in it's way. I don't own a camera that I could actually send down the pipe, I'd have to rent one or hire someone with one. The washout is full size though, so sending a camera down it should be no issue if it's needed in the future, so I don't think I'll worry about it right now.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Raphion
There's been a new development; I ended up trying a twist on the heat idea, but using no heat. I had a couple cans of carb cleaner, and on a whim decided to see what it did to tar, and whether scrap clay was damaged by it. The tar liquifies, the clay is unaffected.

So, with industrial grade solvent resistant gloves on, I got a chisel and a long thin metal implement, and started removing the tar, first where it was bulged out from the joint, and then stabbing into it between the bell and the next tile, and spraying a little carb cleaner in every little bit. The carb cleaner penetrated right down between the clay and the tar, and let me pull ALL of the tar right out of the joint. So now there's nothing holding it, I'll be fitting in the PVC as soon as this little rain lets up.


Hawk
Riding Thermals
Premium
join:2003-08-25
The Desert
reply to Raphion
Perhaps installing a two way "Clean Out" in this area and bring it to grade might prove beneficial since you've gone this far.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
That's what you see at the upper right of the hole in the photo.


Hawk
Riding Thermals
Premium
join:2003-08-25
The Desert
ahh, my bad.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Hawk
said by Hawk:

Perhaps installing a "Clean Out" in this area and bring it to grade might prove beneficial since you've gone this far.

The cleanout is right there, but it's useless in fixing a broken pipe. It's just good for punching a 1 inch round hole through the root ball every 4 months. The pipe would probably completely collapse in a couple years anyways. It's literally broken into two sections that were only held together by the surrounding dirt and pipes on either end.

The grade is fine, idk how you guys are gauging the grade by looking at a picture of one tile and a clean-out T....


jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3
reply to Raphion
Nice trick. A clean and easy solution.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Raphion
Well, I'm all done now, cept for filling the hole and replacing paver stones and what not.

The tile came out in three or four pieces, they were only staying together due to surrounding dirt and roots:




Here's the PVC extended to cover the gap left by the broken tile:




Seems like such a simple task in hindsight, but nice to have it tacked before it actually collapsed.

I suppose other tiles may soon meet the same fate, but things are ok now, for a while at least.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
How far south are you?

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
From the pics I would say far enough that the ground doesn't freeze.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
reply to Cho Baka
Florida.

Why do you ask? Does the ground or the (lack of) depth of the sewer seem strange to a northerner? lol

If the ground froze here, you can be sure that hell froze over first.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Yes, it is strange to see the pipes so close to the surface.
--
The talented hawk speaks French.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by Cho Baka:

Yes, it is strange to see the pipes so close to the surface.

Yeh, it's only about 3 feet down at that point, where it's coming out from under the slab. The city main it connects with is less than 5 feet down, and is also made of clay. Although they contracted with a company called "Insituform" to have them all lined with plastic. They weren't so generous as to line mine while they were at it though.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
3' -- wow that's deep. I have some that are about 14" to the top.


Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by robbin:

3' -- wow that's deep. I have some that are about 14" to the top.

Might only be two or two and a half feet to the top of the pipe, but my hole was 3 feet deep. =p

There's no more hole now, I used a hose to make a nice mud stew, throwing all the dirt into the water so it settled down nice and firm.

sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

3' -- wow that's deep. I have some that are about 14" to the top.

Hah. 13 feet down here...and after about 2 feet you hit nice, thick clay. Still surprising to see lines buried so shallow. What happens when excavation is done?