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  1. #1
    Mike agnello's Avatar
    Mike agnello Guest

    Default My Plumber cut thru top plate

    My plumber installed a new drain pipe and he cut thru the top plate of the wall. This is an exterior weight bearing wall. The bottom plate is cut as well.
    He said it was the only way to get the pipe to the second floor, (even though there is non support wall that is about a foot from where he placed the pipe.
    (The header has been resupported, a smaller window was framed into the space).

    Do I need to worry about the wall framing? can I just put 2x4 studs in the wall to make a 'solid' suport from floor to ceiling?

    I pulled a homeowner permit to replace the kitchen cabinets, and the plumber said I could get away with runnign new PVC to the second floor bath. I removed the wall between kitchen and dining room which the cast Iron was originally in.
    So I either have to call building inspector and tell him I am doing more work than originally thought, or hope the wall doesnt fall down.
    The house is fairly large, brick and there is even finished third floor attic above the kitchen so there is quite a bt of weight on that wall. (if that matters).

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    Last edited by Mike agnello; 01-26-2011 at 07:36 PM. Reason: Pictures
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Pictures. Gotta have pics.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Here is what the NC code says about that:

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  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Let me understand this.

    You pulled a wall down that you believe was actually a barring wall ? and you are asking us what to do about it and the building department ? possibly finding it ? and wondering if the weight above is going to start sagging to this floor ? if not collapsing ? and your plumber says that doing plumbing for the floor above that you can "probably " get away with ? and should you have included everything into the remodel job you are doing ? to begin with ????

    Just kind of curious


  5. #5
    Mike agnello's Avatar
    Mike agnello Guest

    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Sorry, thiought I uploaded pics when I posted. I guess pics were too big, had to resize.

    The bearing wall wasnt knocked down, There was another wall that we pulled down, in the original plans, non bearing, but the original drain pipe was in it. We moved it, and plumber put in exterior wall.

    The top plate and bottom plate are cut right thru. Plumber says not a problem.
    I would like to to know if I need to resupport it, without the plumbing inspector or building inspector- to avoid explaining the new plumbing.


  6. #6
    Mike agnello's Avatar
    Mike agnello Guest

    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Here is what the NC code says about that:
    As i read this it says if they are cut more than 50% it needs to be strapped. on the side of the notch. This isnt a notch it is cut straight through, and since exterior side covered in brick I wouldnt be able to strap both sides.
    My first thought is the pipe needs to be cut out, moved to adjacent interior wall and new blocking be installed.
    At the very least 2x4s should be cut to support the top plate, header and down to the floor. And apparently some metal straps tying both sides of the cut top plate together .

    Last edited by Mike agnello; 01-26-2011 at 07:51 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    I could go on and on but I won't.
    As far as the wall, instead of having one exterior structural wall plane as we presume you had if there weren't other defects. You now have two structurally independent wall planes. Each wall section now has the choice and ability to move on its own. This can lead to cracking, sagging, leaning, all kinds of issues. NO, siding and drywall do not count as providing structural integrity to an outside wall. You could have minor or major problems real soon or not for years. All depends on other factors.
    Plumbers are notorious for chopping structural components. I think its some sort of badge of honor or right of passage. Of course he's going to tell you its Ok. He doesn't want to make his job harder or pay for structural repairs.
    You are doing the job without a permit, I have no problem with that. That's your choice as a homeowner. However now you appear to be reaping the benefits of that decision.
    The plumber is wrong, screwing you and probably doesn't care. You can cover it up with drywall or saddle up and do the right thing.
    If you is willing and able to do that, I'd like to see what the floor joists look like around the tub area.
    Good luck.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    And the drain/vent will likely freeze when you close that wall, and expand & crack when hot water runs through it in the dead of winter. Unlike CI, PVC expands significantly (length) and contracts with changes of temperature, significantly more than ABS as well. Plastic DWV also needs support, allowance for movement/expansion-contraction, and protection from damage (think nails and screws penetrating).

    4" PVC needs a 6" plumbing wall space.

    What did you do with the rest of that stack up above the original wall likely through the roof?

    You've got 3 finished stories above grade in a zone with significant snow loads as well.

    I think I'm seeing plaster, lath, and some chicken wire (doesn't look like expanded metal lath) from a prior wall finish repair. What's that to the side? particle board? You mentioned brick on the exterior.

    You need to get a pro in there to evaluate the butchery and calculate loads and sheer, etc. for an ENGINEERED solution. You can have the engineer specify the plans for same, including materials, and stamp the plan.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 01-26-2011 at 08:57 PM.

  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Is there a second story floor system sitting on top of the cut wall? If it is then I would think the wall could not move.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike agnello
    I would like to to know if I need to re support it, without the plumbing inspector or building inspector- to avoid explaining the new plumbing.
    Mike,

    Your observations and questioning of this detail is a the right thing to do, but I don't believe you will get your answer here. Just not enough detail. We need to be there.

    My advice (for your safety) is to select one of two alternatives:

    1. Contact the building department and ask for their help. I see no reason why you should be concerned about whether or not you exceeded the scope of the permit. It happens all the time. I believe they will be more than happy to assist. They'll let you know if you exceeded the permit and would ask you to refile with town - NO BIG DEAL. If anyone would be in trouble it would be the plumber (and rightly so). DO IT NOW for your SAFETY and it is the right thing to do. If you continue without an inspection prior to patching the wall, you also have risk that the inspector will see it on final inspection and make you rip-it-out. Nothing angers them more than sleazy workmanship.

    2. Contact a licensed engineer to review the structure and if required provide alternatives for reinforcement or repairs as required. (DISCLAIMER - this will only address structural issues, not legal issues.)

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    As a bit of a further clarification, there is a 2x8,10? double header in the pictures. I doubt the carpenter installed those because he was bored. The obvious question is what load was that header intended to carry? Is there a kitchen window under it or what? Is there even close to sufficient framing under that header to attempt to compensate for the load distribution?

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Mike,
    Get a good contractor in to see if there is a work around to framing issue. He may just say you are screwed for what was done or that the work around will be extensive and expensive.

    If the contractor has no good news, head for the building dept. My experience is hat there is not a problem getting a permit after work has started or additional work not listed in the original permit and the permit amended or additional permit issued. In either case you have some leverage and additional insight into what has been done.

    Working with load bearing walls is not a problem. What you do can be. Trusting a plumber like anyone else today requires a lot of faith in your fellow man.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    You can literally cut through pvc pipe with a piece of dental floss, a guitar string, strong fishing line: ramming it up against metal plate or strap and PVC stack expand and contract especially length wise, will abrade, weaken, and/or cut/poke through. Restrict it too much and it will crack or break.

    Plastic DWV plumbing needs proper space for expansion and contraction with temperature swings and support. Plastic plumbing must be protected from damage, penetrations from nails, screws, etc.

    Placement of waste plumbing in outside brick faced wall, and outside the thermal envelope to be further insulated by wall finish and cabinetry is not wise especially as far north as your profile location (MI) indicates.

    Engineer can also plan temporary support system while work is in progress.

    Need plumbing review and corrective plan as well.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 01-28-2011 at 02:58 PM.

  14. #14
    Mike agnello's Avatar
    Mike agnello Guest

    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    As a bit of a further clarification, there is a 2x8,10? double header in the pictures. I doubt the carpenter installed those because he was bored. The obvious question is what load was that header intended to carry? Is there a kitchen window under it or what? Is there even close to sufficient framing under that header to attempt to compensate for the load distribution?

    The header is for the window, but the window was previously reframed. Windows are not original. Not sure why the header was so big originally and as far as I can tell that was original window size. Tthe exterior area does not look like it was changed, The window is only 3 feet wide, the original header was 6-7 feet wide. The window framing is newer than the original framing and looks fine.


  15. #15
    Mike agnello's Avatar
    Mike agnello Guest

    Default Re: My Plumber cut thru top plate

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    You can literally cut through pvc pipe with a piece of dental floss, a guitar string, strong fishing line: ramming it up against metal plate or strap and PVC stack expand and contract especially length wise, will abrade, weaken, and/or cut/poke through. Restrict it too much and it will crack or break.

    Plastic DWV plumbing needs proper space for expansion and contraction with temperature swings and support. Plastic plumbing must be protected from damage, penetrations from nails, screws, etc.

    Placement of waste plumbing in outside brick faced wall, and outside the thermal envelope to be further insulated by wall finish and cabinetry is not wise especially as far north as your profile location (MI) indicates.

    Engineer can also plan temporary support system while work is in progress.

    Need plumbing review and corrective plan as well.
    My first thought was the pipe need to come out and the wall needs to be "fixed". sounds like that is what needs to happen. On the plus side, after looking into all this I found that the lumber replaced the tub and 'forgot' to replace the blocking supports on the wall for the tub deck. That is bring fixed as well.
    i have a support wall set up roughly 18" from wall and am planning on removing the studs next to the pipe, then put new 2x4 below cut top plate and then new studs in wall. Then lag bolts thru top plate.


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