Plumbing Help

Richmond, TX

There is a pin hole leak in a galvanized pipe feeding a tiled shower. I am hoping not to have to tear into the tile. There is very good attic access. Might it be possible to cut the fitting off at the bottom and pull the pipe up through the attic to replace it? Or is it likely to be too solidly tacked to the studs? Ideas? Alternatives? Advice?

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Isn't there the valves on the shower wall. A hot and a cold water pipe goes to that and then from the valve to the shower head is another pipe. Most likely the pipes are fastened to the wall.

Just how old is this system? If one pipe has corroded enough to leak, I wonder what the others are like.

Richmond, TX

Me too... At the moment the only leak is in the hot pipe. I was hoping the pipes could all be cut off/disconnected where they came through the wall and pulled up into the attic, rebuilt, and lowered back into position - a real "pipe dream", huh?

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

How much can you see into the wall. How have you determined that you have a pin hole leak.
If the leak isn't in the wall and you just need to get in the wall to get the pipe loose you have more options.

If I could access where the hole is, I'd be tempted to saw the pipe right at the hole and slip 6" of the appropriate diameter heater hose over the pipe as a splice and clamp both ends. You might be able to get a piece of 3/4" id hose over the pipe if it's warm enough. Other wise go to the next size up. You might have to go to somewhere that sells parts for big trucks or buses to get anything over 3/4".

I have soldered leaks in galvanized, but I only recommend that to someone who can solder with a torch and if it was located such that I was SURE that I could do so without setting anything on fire.

Cut the bad section out and thread it and put a union or a union, a coupler and a nipple in there.

If the leak behind the shower I'm afraid that you are out of luck. What's on the other side away from the shower wall. Access from there might be easier.

Richmond, TX

The leak was first discovered when foundation work was being done and they noticed a slow drip coming from the supply side of the shower under which they were adding a pier. It is possible to feel a warm spot on the tile in the shower above the hot water faucet, so the leak is well localized. The shower is tiled as is the tub wall that backs up to the shower. I was hoping not to have to cut into the tile as it is old and would be hard to match. I have pressure fittings that I have used to patch metal pipes before. They are available at a plumbing supply store, but I don't remember what they are called. I guess it's through the tile, eh? I hope I don't open a new can of worms...

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

I wonder if you could very carefully scrape the grout out between a column of tiles that is directly in front of the pipe, then take a thin saw like a hacksaw and cut out a section of tile and backer board. After you get it out you should either be able to separate the backer from the tile or put a piece of new backer through the hole and glue it to the backside. Then you could cement tile and backer board onto the new piece and regrout. I hope this makes sense to you.

Richmond, TX

It does make sense and is definitely worth a try. Thanks, Doug!

Missouri City, TX

Did you make the repair?

Sorry I did not see this sooner - we don't live far apart.

Copper lines may be attached to the studs, not just run through them.

Richmond, TX

Yes, the repair is complete. I was not able to save all the old tile, but managed to piece in some white tile that looks almost intentional. Thanks, everyone, for your help.

Fremont, CA(Zone 9a)

I know I am more than a little late, but I will through in my 2Ę worth. Generally behind that tile wall is a regular wall. Maybe even a closet wall that is seldom seen. Open that other wall and work from behind. The first one I ever did was in the entry hall. I didn't know how to fix drywall, so the entry wall ended up with new wainscoting when I was done, but I fixed the pipe & the tub fixtures without disturbing the tile.

Richmond, TX

Unfortunately behind this tile wall is another bathroom's tile wall. I found a great shower repair man who was able to remove and replace the needed tiles and fix the leaks. Thanks all for the help!

SW, AR(Zone 8a)

The bugbear constantly accompanying me as I struggle to fix a leak in old plumbing is that the disturbance of solving the present problem will lead to another leak.

If itís old and Iím already into it, I always weigh (which Iím sure you did) the feasibility of replacing the whole nine yards.

Iím glad you found good help and your problem is solved. Skilled tradesmen, it seems, are scarce as hensí teethe and becoming scarcer.

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