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How to remove a leaking lead bend soil waste pipe passing through outside pre 1950s house wall

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How to remove a leaking lead bend soil waste pipe passing through outside pre 1950s house wall

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bail-inbail-in Forumite
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The lead bend is deteriorating and badly holed, especially the part between wall and horizontal toilet spigot where it has been cemented in over seventy years ago when house built. Not sure how bad remainder of lead is. Soil stack is iron. A handyman suggested pulling it out after cutting both ends but unlike using modern core drills to make holes for 110 mm soil waste pipes the lead pipe I think is cemented in. Is it possible to core drill it out using a drill core bit a few mm wider than the lead pipe. The thickness of the wall is two clay bricks separated by a small gap, smaller than a cavity. I tried a number of times to seal holes in pipe indoors with plumbers mail and tape over but still leaks and over time holes got a lot bigger. So replacing pipe from toilet to iron stack with 110 mm PVC pipe. Be difficult to get lead pipe end out of toilet spigot and the soil waste stack. How to remove the hard cement? Hammer and chisel carefully without breaking the pan. For ease of access, how to remove the four badly rusted two and a half inch half inch slot flat head stuck screws securing pan to floor? Cannot get a flat blade in to saw screws between pan base and floor. I want to keep the high cistern and toilet bowl if possible.

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  • edited 27 February at 7:51PM
    bail-inbail-in Forumite
    169 posts
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    edited 27 February at 7:51PM
    I cannot see a button to edit the post? Oops there it is!
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    Yes it is possible to use a core drill, but.... You will need to make a plug to fit in the existing hole so that the pilot drill (or guide rod) in the center of the core drill has something to locate in to.
    Her courage will change the world.

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  • nofoollikeoldnofoollikeold Forumite
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    1. Core drills for this size are normally diamond tipped.  To use one the drill MUST have a clutch, or you can easily break a wrist if the core catches.
    2. I suspect that if a diamond core drill catches the lead, it will bind up straight away.
    3.I think the best way to approach it would be:
    3a. Cut the lead at the WC spigot and wall on the inside, and at the wall and the soil stack on the outside.
    3b. Remove the WC
    3c. Clean the bit left in the wall, considering what's been going through it for so many years.
    3d. Use a long cold chisel from one or both ends to bend the lead inwards away from its concrete / brick "tunnel".
    3e. Pull the deformed lead out of the concrete.
    3e. Plug the hole with something like timber rammed in. Make sure the plug is at least a couple of inches long in the centre.
    3f. Measure and mark the centre of the plug, and drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the core drill's pilot bit.
    3g. Drill the brickwork using the pilot hole.  Be very careful as the main bit hits the plaster / brick to keep it level and straight. No hammer action if the drill has one, it must be rotation only. Also be careful and go slowly as the bit gets close to the outside edge, to minimise splintering of the outer brickwork.
    4. As an alternative to diamond core drilling, you could chain drill with long SDS drills.  Mark out and drill a series of 8mm holes with centres on a circle 6 mm wider in diameter than the pipe you are going to fit.  Try and keep the holes straight and perpendicular to the wall.  Then re-drill the holes with a 10 mm drill, going half way out from inside, then half way in from outside to reduce splintering.  Use a long cold chisel to join the holes and remove the centre.  For this you could use tungsten carbide SDS drills, and the machine doesn't need a clutch.
    5. To remove the stub of lead from the WC pan, cut the lead into sections with a hacksaw blade and remove.  Try drilling the cement with a tungsten carbide drill, keeping as parallel to the edge of the spigot as possible, perhaps with a slight lean into the centre.  Drill 5 or 6 holes at intervals round the end on cement.  This should provide enough clearance to chip in with a cold chisel without forcing the cement to crack the opposite side of the spigot.
    6. To remove the rusty screws, VERY carefully mark and centre punch the centre of the head of each screw.  Use a HSS countersink bit in a hand drill (i.e. not an electric drill) to deepen the centre punch marks to clear the slot in the screw. Then use successive drills (3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, 5.5 mm, 6 mm as needed) to drill through the head of each screw until the head comes off.  Remember that the screws will (should) have been put in at a slight angle so try and follow that if you can determine it. 

    All seems a lot of trouble to keep an old WC, but good luck if you decide to do it.

  • bail-inbail-in Forumite
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    Thanks nofoollikeold. At point 3 if the lead pipe can be pulled out after cold chiselling and levering lead away, then I would not need to use the core drill as the 110mm pvc soil  waste pipe replacement would fit through the hole in the wall if it is approximately same external diameter of the lead pipe which it probably is or a little less. If not what size diameter diamond drill bit would be required and should it drill all way though over the cavity or halfway and then from the other wall side.
  • grumblergrumbler Forumite
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    1. Core drills for this size are normally diamond tipped.  To use one the drill MUST have a clutch, or you can easily break a wrist if the core catches.

    110mm? I think carbide tipped are more common

    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse. :(

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  • grumblergrumbler Forumite
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    bail-in said:
    ...the lead pipe I think is cemented in. Is it possible to core drill it out using a drill core bit a few mm wider than the lead pipe.
    If I understand correctly and it's really lead, I think, after cutting it on both sides, you can just cut or saw it along from inside the pipe and then extract without drilling.

    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse. :(

    .withdrawal, NOT withdrawel ..bear with me, NOT bare with me
    .definitely, NOT definately ......separate, NOT seperate
    should have, NOT should of
    .....guaranteed, NOT guarenteed
  • edited 28 February at 7:49AM
    bail-inbail-in Forumite
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    edited 28 February at 7:49AM
    From speaking to a couple of plumbers who looked at it I understand the lead bend soil waste pipes were cemented into the brickwork in those days before i was born and to take it out would require removing or breaking bricks, damage to inside and outside of wall, using hammers, chisels. I spoke to a builder by phone who was against that way as it can damage the wall structural integrity and affect foundations. What type of saw would be used, electric, hand, that would fit in the length, I guess approaching from one or both sides. Easier from one side as more risky, re safety, from the outside wall on a ladder. The metal handsaws I have would not fit in the hole. Anybody here actually removed a lead pipe this way?
  • edited 28 February at 9:40AM
    grumblergrumbler Forumite
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    edited 28 February at 9:40AM
    Lead is very soft metal. You can cut it with a stanley knife or any saw that can get inside the pipe.
    Personally, I've never done this, but I don't think that  binding with cement is strong enough to require chiselling. I expect that after making one cut you'll be able to bend the led gradually with your bare hands and a chisel. In the worst case you can do more parallel cuts and remove it strip by strip.

    P.S. Old lead pipes were 4'' - and I don't know how to convert this to mm correctly.
    Direct conversion yelds 101.6mm - slightly less than 110mm you need for a new plastic pipe. In this case you will probalby need to enlage the hole anyway.
    However, in this video (2:30) it says 4'' --> 114.3mm that means that 4'' is possibly the inside diameter.

    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse. :(

    .withdrawal, NOT withdrawel ..bear with me, NOT bare with me
    .definitely, NOT definately ......separate, NOT seperate
    should have, NOT should of
    .....guaranteed, NOT guarenteed
  • edited 28 February at 10:26AM
    grumblergrumbler Forumite
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    edited 28 February at 10:26AM
    With regard to the saw, I'd try something like
    - these are 12''=30cm; there are shorter ones on the same pages (you need 20cm+ I guess)



    We are born naked, wet and hungry...Then things get worse. :(

    .withdrawal, NOT withdrawel ..bear with me, NOT bare with me
    .definitely, NOT definately ......separate, NOT seperate
    should have, NOT should of
    .....guaranteed, NOT guarenteed
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