I've removed about half my (small) bathroom floor, which had decades of
water damage and needed to be replaced before I could put in a tile floor.
The shower doesn't go to a P-trap; it goes to an old cannister trap that is
under the floorboards (or was, until I removed them). The cap is a 5" metal
disk with a 1.25" hex-nut shaped protrusion in the center. The trap itself
appears to be lead, and the incoming and outgoing pipes in it are lead as
well. They go under the tub (which isn't part of my remodeling plans) so I
want to just remove the cap and replace it with a flush cap so I can tile
around it, and leave it as-is.
The problem is when I torque it with my plumbing wrench (with enough force
to leave teeth marks on the hex nut) the only movement I get is the input
and output lead pipes twisting slightly. Not a good idea. So my next thought
was to heat the top of the trap a little (like running a jar under hot water
to loosen the lid), but I'm afraid I'll just melt the lead and be completely
Does anyone have experience with these old traps, especially stuck ones,
that could give me any suggestions on how to safely remove the cap?
Many. many thanks
It is called a "drum trap". They are now specifically prohibted.
Usually made of cast iron, but 100 yrs ago could have been
fabricated as lead with lead waste piping.
The cap is often a thin brass fitting. A very sharp cold chisel
will cut thru it (or use a drill to swiss-cheese the thing).
Then it can be collapsed and removed.
I don't quite understand why the cover must be removed.
If it is the hex "nut" that is in the way, saw it off.
(No guarantee that the nut isn't hollow...)
My goal was to replace the cap (which appears to be the only part of it that
isn't lead, it looks almost chrome) with a flush (or inset) cover to be
level with the floor, while still looking nice. I'm not good enough to cut
the hex off cleanly and smoothly (assuming it isn't hollow) without having
to spend a whole lot of time with my dremel and other tools trying to make
it smooth, and even then, I'd lose any ability to get traction in case I
ever did need to remove the cover in the future.
I'd consider retrofitting a P-trap, but the iron pipe that the lead goes
into is not easily accessible, and is pointing about 110 degrees away from
the shower drain, so I'd end up having to do some serious re-routing, then
figure out how to get a firm and permanent connection to the iron pipe. Oh,
and the fact that the iron pipe is probably high enough that there isn't
enough rise/run even if I did use a p-trap. :-(
My other option is to hire a professional to come rip out the tub and do
major plumbing, which doesn't sound like it would be within my budget... the
tub is tiled in, so a least the tile and probably part of one wall would
have to come out.
There is a "universal" replacement cover for drum traps.
They are chrome and IIRC have a flush surface with only
a slotted screw recessed in it.
Ask around at a hardware store or plumbing supply house.
I doubt that BigBox would have them, but maybe...
Get a new cover before attacking the old one.
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