Quantcast

handyman broke pipe in wall, how do I fix it?

Help Support Plumbing Forums:

cardboardbox

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
TX
I asked a handyman to fix a leaky spigot on my house. Not even sure if thats the correct term though. So he took it off, cleaned it out tried to put it back on and used so much force with a wrench that he twisted the pipe off inside the wall. Then he cut out my sheet rock inside the garage to try to fix the pipe but was unable to fix and put on something he called a shark bite so that the rest of the house would have water. He's supposed to come back and finish the job but says he will use PVC to do it cheap unless I want to pay more for copper. He's not a welder so I'm unsure if he'd even be able to do the job with copper pipe. Originally I was supposed to pay $20 to fix the leaky spigot, I'm now $70 in the hole because the handyman wanted pay for his time and supplies/parts or he would just leave it as is. I dont remember if as is meant I wouldnt have water that night or he just wouldnt come back to replace the spigot. I wasnt very happy but I just wanted the house to have water without having to call a plumber. Yeah, I'm not real happy.

Anyway, I'm wondering if PVC is an acceptable way to fix this. I live in Houston, TX and it generally doesnt go below about 25 degrees at coldest a few nights in the winter every year. But every once in a while we have a real freeze and get down to 15 degrees. Maybe once every 4 or 5 years. 8 years ago we had around 48 hours below freezing which is completely unheard of around here. Will PVC freeze and crack? That is my main concern. I'm not sure if all the water coming into the house flows through this pipe. If it does, is PVC durable enough to last decades? Assuming it doesnt freeze and crack of course.

I'm a complete DIY disaster, thats why I hired a handyman. Go easy on me. :)

IMG_7534.JPG
 

Rickyman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2018
Messages
304
Reaction score
162
Location
,
PVC is not allowed inside the structure. It’s only allowed outdoors and preferably underground
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
3,614
Reaction score
945
Location
Chicago suburbs
You screwed up by hiring a jerk, you should have gotten better references.

But his rates actually don’t seem that bad.

Have him finish up properly, using copper.
He can find sharkbite fittings for everything, even for a new spigot if you need that.

Maybe there is room to install a frostproof spigot?

Anyway, when it comes time to cover up the huge hole he cut to fix the pipe, you can just go to Home Depot and buy a big heating return wall vent, and cover the hole with that.
You can do it yourself.

Just needs to be screwed to the drywall, you can use those little plastic anchors to hold the screws.
Screw through the drywall into the stud there on the left, and anywhere you can catch wood for a better screw grab.

Be careful not to screw into the pipe or anything else.

The vent will let warmer air from the garage into that wall cavity, it will keep the pipe warmer.
Install it so the vent openings face the floor, so you can’t look down into the vent.
Looks better that way.

If you insulate, only put insulation between the pipe and the outside wall.
Leave the pipe exposed to the garage air.

Installing the vent instead of drywall will violate the building code for fire protection, but I have seen this done pretty often.
So you decide.

You could also just cut a big drywall patch that fits tight, and take it off during any really cold spells.
You can put a wood frame around the edge to make it look better and to be fire code legal.
 
Last edited:

cardboardbox

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
TX
You screwed up by hiring a jerk, you should have gotten better references.

But his rates actually don’t seem that bad.

Have him finish up properly, using copper.
He can find sharkbite fittings for everything, even for a new spigot if you need that.

Maybe there is room to install a frostproof spigot?

Anyway, when it comes time to cover up the huge hole he cut to fix the pipe, you can just go to Home Depot and buy a big heating return wall vent, and cover the hole with that.
You can do it yourself.

Just needs to be screwed to the drywall, you can use those little plastic anchors to hold the screws.
Screw through the drywall into the stud there on the left, and anywhere you can catch wood for a better screw grab.

Be careful not to screw into the pipe or anything else.

The vent will let warmer air from the garage into that wall cavity, it will keep the pipe warmer.
Install it so the vent openings face the floor, so you can’t look down into the vent.
Looks better that way.

If you insulate, only put insulation between the pipe and the outside wall.
Leave the pipe exposed to the garage air.

Installing the vent instead of drywall will violate the building code for fire protection, but I have seen this done pretty often.
So you decide.

You could also just cut a big drywall patch that fits tight, and take it off during any really cold spells.
You can put a wood frame around the edge to make it look better and to be fire code legal.
Thanks for the reply!

Well he did work for us before outside the house and that went well so at that point I thought he seemed like he knew what he was doing. And his prices have always been good, up until this, where I'll end up using the the money I saved to fix this mess.

So is PVC out of the question? I still dont know exactly know what Rickyman meant. I know I have PVC pipes under my sinks. Does he mean its not allowed in walls? Ah, does he mean PVC is not allowed where the water is flowing into the house?

My handyman claims he is great at doing sheet rock repair so I expect the hole will be fixed. But I'm not very confident in his plumbing skills. Are you recommending the vent even if I can get the wall fixed at no extra cost?
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
3,614
Reaction score
945
Location
Chicago suburbs
Have him cut a nice neat tight-fitting square patch of drywall.
He can add a simple wood frame around it with glue and a few screws.
So it will act like an access hatch.

With climate change, Texas weather might get more severe cold snaps than you are used to.

Then two screws through each of the frame pieces into the surrounding drywall, or into studs if possible.

You can remove those screws in two minutes to pull off that panel, during a cold spell.

Go with copper, less likely to burst.
And mice won’t chew through it.
 

Diehard

In Remembrance
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
2,640
Reaction score
469
Location
North Reading, Mass.
That's too bad that the handyman's incompetence resulted in breaking your pipe. One would think he would assume the added cost for any labor since it was his fault.

In any case, I'm not a licensed plumber in Texas but looked at the International Plumbing Code, which I believe Texas goes by. And it appears that they require CPVC for interior use rather than PVC. (PVC is generally white while CPVC comes in a cream color.) There should be no concern for temperatures other than the concern of allowing water inside the pipe to freeze.

Were you not concerned with the potential freeze up of an exterior spigot? Or was it an exterior spigot?

There should be an isolation valve preceding that spigot to allow it to be isolated for whatever reason. That way you would not have to shut down any other portion of your water service when servicing that spigot in the future. And if it is an exterior spigot, the isolation valve should be a Stop and waste valve. That gives you the added feature to drain the down stream side of the shut off if it can't drain entirely through the spigot, if it ever threatens to get down to 15 degrees again.
 

cardboardbox

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
TX
That's too bad that the handyman's incompetence resulted in breaking your pipe. One would think he would assume the added cost for any labor since it was his fault.

In any case, I'm not a licensed plumber in Texas but looked at the International Plumbing Code, which I believe Texas goes by. And it appears that they require CPVC for interior use rather than PVC. (PVC is generally white while CPVC comes in a cream color.) There should be no concern for temperatures other than the concern of allowing water inside the pipe to freeze.

Were you not concerned with the potential freeze up of an exterior spigot? Or was it an exterior spigot?

There should be an isolation valve preceding that spigot to allow it to be isolated for whatever reason. That way you would not have to shut down any other portion of your water service when servicing that spigot in the future. And if it is an exterior spigot, the isolation valve should be a Stop and waste valve. That gives you the added feature to drain the down stream side of the shut off if it can't drain entirely through the spigot, if it ever threatens to get down to 15 degrees again.
thanks for the reply!

Yeah I expected he would admit fault and fix it without charging any more than the initial $20 agreed upon, or even waive that considering the mess he's made of my wall. But he decided to blame it on my bad/old pipes that are 14 years old and never had a problem until now.

So CPVC is ok to use in the exterior wall? Probably a stupid question, but are there any health concerns over using CPVC vs copper?

Well the exterior spigot never broke in previous freezes so I wasnt very concerned. I just thought it was made to handle freezing temperatures.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
3,614
Reaction score
945
Location
Chicago suburbs
If the house is only 14 years old, the spigot probably is a frost-proof type.

Post a picture of it.
 

Diehard

In Remembrance
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
2,640
Reaction score
469
Location
North Reading, Mass.
I believe most, if not all codes and jurisdictions have accepted CPVC for potable water use. Google it.

Yeah if you had enough of that trapped water in your spigot, beyond the heat of the interior, it would definitely be subject to breaking. There's no stopping the force of expanding ice. But I know, even up here in the north some people get away with it, some times.
 

cardboardbox

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
TX
If the house is only 14 years old, the spigot probably is a frost-proof type.

Post a picture of it.
I didnt think to keep it since it leaks. I think the handyman has it or it was thrown away. Would a picture of one of the other spigots on my house tell you anything?
 

cardboardbox

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
TX
I believe most, if not all codes and jurisdictions have accepted CPVC for potable water use. Google it.

Yeah if you had enough of that trapped water in your spigot, beyond the heat of the interior, it would definitely be subject to breaking. There's no stopping the force of expanding ice. But I know, even up here in the north some people get away with it, some times.
I've always made sure not to use my sprinklers or exterior spigots right before it freezes. Maybe a 24-48 hour period before so things can dry and drain. Not sure if that made the difference but I've never had any spigots, pipes, or sprinklers break during a freeze.

In the next day or two I will head over to Home Depot and/or Lowes and get some thoughts on which pieces I'll need to get this done. I'd still prefer copper but if CPVC is a lot cheaper I might do that.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
3,614
Reaction score
945
Location
Chicago suburbs
A picture of another spigot would help, if it is the same type as the one you removed.

FYI it is rare to need to remove a spigot that new, the guts can be removed and replaced with the spigot left in place.

But sometimes it can be hard to track down little parts, so it can be sometimes cheaper just to swap out the whole thing.

But not to wreck the pipes behind it.
 

cardboardbox

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
TX
I went to Lowes today and they recommended this part, a 1 x 1 x 3/4 sharkbite: https://www.lowes.com/pd/SharkBite-1-in-Push-to-Connect-x-1-in-Push-to-Connect-x-3-4-in-dia-Reducing-Tee-Push-Fittings/1000182649

That is to replace the sharkbite I have currently, and then we would hope to put the old copper pipe in the 3/4 end.

The handyman drilled some of my brick wall out to make the hole bigger when he was trying different ideas. Its not massively bigger but I imagine I will have some empty space. Can I use Great Stuff (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Dow-Great-Stuff-Pro-GREAT-STUFF-PRO-Gaps-and-Cracks-24-oz-Spray-Foam-Insulation/3378594) to fill in the gaps or is it bad to make it too tight? I looked at my neighbor's outdoor spigot and he's got mortar surrounding the pipe very snug so I thought Great Stuff would work.

Sorry, forgot to take a picture of one of my other outdoor spigots. Maybe tomorrow.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
3,614
Reaction score
945
Location
Chicago suburbs
You can get a small container of water plug cement.
Every hardware store or big box sells it.

It is a dry powder, you add enough water to make it a stiff mix, sort of the consistency of cold mashed potatoes.
Mix it up in an old disposable plastic container.
Like a quart size that soft margarine spread comes in.

Then you can just pack it in small blobs, by hand, all around the new faucet and the hole in the bricks.

Push it in a few inches, then just smooth it out to a nice finish on the outside.
You can use a paint stirrer, putty knife, whatever is handy, as a tool to make the outside surface look nice.

It sets hard in just a few short minutes, so plan your work and get it done quick.
Mix it fast, as in add water, stir with a paint stirrer or old screw driver to mix, and start applying it all in about one minute.
It will be setting within two or three minutes of mixing.

Much better than foam, supports the faucet better in the hole, and no mice will chew through it.
 

PlumbGate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
194
Reaction score
31
Location
Maryland
Wow hard to believe you are putting up with this gross incompetence. I would fire him, have it done correctly by a professional, and sue him in small claims for the damages. You might not ever collect but he'll have that judgement looking over him. I'd say report him to your local contractors division but I doubt he is licensed to do anything. Sad story for sure but don't forget people take advantage of you with your permission.
 

Aloha Mark

Active Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2020
Messages
32
Reaction score
3
Location
Honolulu, HI
I heard a licensed professional plumber from TX on NPR this morning. He said there are 4 grades of licenses in the state: red, green, blue and gold. Red is for apprentices and Gold is for master plumbers. The state is waiving license requirements for out of state contractors, but it is frightening that rank amateurs are taking advantage of homehowners.
Since the possibility is freezing is now a reality (it happened in 2011), it's time to weatherproof homes. An idea that may work is an expansion take, This is a take filled partially with water and air. Since water expands by 9% in volume as it freezes, I wonder if an air gap could help. A relief valve may or may not work, as an alternative idea.
 

Twowaxhack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
727
Reaction score
233
Location
United states
I heard a licensed professional plumber from TX on NPR this morning. He said there are 4 grades of licenses in the state: red, green, blue and gold. Red is for apprentices and Gold is for master plumbers. The state is waiving license requirements for out of state contractors, but it is frightening that rank amateurs are taking advantage of homehowners.
Since the possibility is freezing is now a reality (it happened in 2011), it's time to weatherproof homes. An idea that may work is an expansion take, This is a take filled partially with water and air. Since water expands by 9% in volume as it freezes, I wonder if an air gap could help. A relief valve may or may not work, as an alternative idea.
No, expansion tanks offer no freeze protection worth measuring. They freeze and break too.
 
Top