We have recently purchased an old apartment building built around 1920.
In the process of updating the first floor apartment we noticed water
leaking from the ceiling into the bathroom. The second floor bathroom
is directly over the first floor bathrrom. We checked on the second
floor and someone had been using the tub. It was still halfway full and
draining very slowly. When I look at the drainpipe coming through the
first floor ceiling, there is no trap visible. The second floor tub is
an old cast iron tub with a skirt all the way around, so I can't see
underneath the tub. Is it correct to assume that there is an old drum
trap underneath the tub that is leaking and that we will have to tilt
the cast iron tub in order to gain access to the drum trap??? Are there
any other types of traps that may have been used (besides drum, p-trap
Thanks in advance!!
In 1920, the cast drum trap was almost universal
in many parts of the country (and well into the 50's).
When inconvenient to locate them accessible, the
builder often concealed them under a tile floor or
under a tub.
But I certainly wouldn't tilt the tub to find out!
You'll risk having to re-do all the tub piping
when it breaks.
Cut a small inspection hole in the already-damaged
ceiling below. Better yet, if there are similar
neighboring properties, sniff out what info you can
from their owners.
You won't know what you're up against till you
can eyeball the situation properly. It may not be
the drum leaking. Could be the tub "shoe" gasket.
Could be 85 yr old galv iron out of the drum
Last, you have no way of knowing what materials
you'll encounter. In 1920 cast iron and galvanized
were in wide use, but honest-to-gosh soft lead pipe
was still in widespread use for drains (1 1/2" size).
Replacing the tub drain (from the suite below) may
be the best choice. It will also afford an
opportunity to cure the clogged drain issue and
maybe install clean out fittings to allow snaking
Well I guess I left out a couple steps!! I forgot to add that we would
be disconnecting the drainpipe that comes through the ceiling and
disconnecting the hot and col water leads before tilting the tub. I
think I will take your suggestion and cut a little hole in order to see
whats going on in order to assess the situation correctly. We do want
to install a proper trap...It's just getting the old one out that is
Speedy Jim wrote:
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