St Paul Pipeworks plumbers are called often to replace outdated laundry tubs. The tubs are most commonly located in the basement of the home. Up until around 1960, these laundry tubs were made of concrete and were very substantial and heavy-duty.
In those days, concrete laundry tubs were much less costly. Over many years though, the concrete in the laundry tub gets pitted and stained. They wind up being an eyesore so people decide to replace them to freshen up their laundry rooms.
The other thing that does happen with cement laundry tubs is that sometimes the drain assembly, located up in the molded concrete, starts to leak. There is no practical way to repair the leak in a concrete laundry tub. Anytime a concrete tub starts leaking from the bottom, it needs to be removed.
Most of these tubs are two-compartment laundry tubs and weigh around 600 pounds. Back when concrete tubs were commonly installed in homes when they could they would do it early in the framing up process for a new house because the cement laundry tubs were incredibly heavy. Once the foundation of the house was poured, two pieces of wood were placed from ground level into the basement and the laundry tub was slid down those wood “rails” into the house and construction continued on the home.
When St Paul Pipeworks plumbers are replacing existing cement tubs, they never try to haul the tubs out whole. The preferred method is to break them into manageable-sized concrete pieces and haul them out using five-gallon buckets. St Paul Pipeworks plumbers have removed so many of them that they’ve calculated that it takes 13 five-gallon buckets to get all of the debris out of the house.
Often, these tubs were built with metal rebar reinforcement inside the concrete. When breaking them apart, a wire cutter is required to remove the reinforcing metal. To complete the process, St Paul Pipeworks plumbers take the concrete debris to a concrete recycling plant. It does not go into the trash.
The old laundry tubs can be replaced with heavy-duty fiberglass tubs. There are three or four levels of fiberglass tubs. Some of the lower-grade tubs come with plastic legs and are quite thin. They are not solid enough and often break down quickly. St Paul Pipeworks plumbers install top-grade tubs that are heavy-duty fiberglass and come with heavy metal legs. Each of the four metal legs has a device used to level the tub because basement floors are rarely perfectly level.
St Paul Pipeworks plumbers fasten the legs to the concrete floor using a masonry bit and masonry screws so that they don’t move around. Once the replacement tubs are installed, the waste piping usually also has to be adjusted. A new P-trap is installed and then the waste piping needs to be adjusted because it fastens into a different place than most older tubs.
The Minnesota Plumbing Code now requires a short piece of 2” pipe up to the Sanitary Tee that accepts the P-trap. The pipes to the older tubs were typically 1 1/2” pipe. The other thing that needs adjusting is the water supply to the new laundry tub. Almost always in older tubs, the threaded, galvanized pipe is fairly rigid so a new faucet is required.
The faucet looks similar to the old one, but the new pipes are exposed and they typically travel upward toward the ceiling. Usually, the newly installed pipes are made of copper because the pipes should still be somewhat rigid and installed a little spaced from a wall where there is no good place to strap them. Lastly, as part of the job, if there is a washing machine located nearby new hose bibbs (faucets) for the washing machine are installed right above the new laundry tub faucet.
If you have any questions about replacing a dated concrete laundry tub in your home or are just looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.
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