Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by Mark-WV on January 15, 2003 at 20:40:46:

It has been my experence that cast pipes after the water has been off for a while will leak when repressured in about 75% of the homes I’ve rehabed.

The redoing of traps and supply lines will put you buyers at ease but The fact is if your going to rent for a while I need for my mind to be at ease.

It is my thoughts that these things are old and have rust deposits all ready , and when the water is turned off air contacts the exsisting rust and forms pin holes in the pipe. Now this is just my thoughts “your milage may vary”.

Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by IB (NJ) on January 15, 2003 at 11:57:03:

I’m looking at a rehab where the walls are all panel (ugly panel at that) and it doesn’t look like the walls are in good condition behind the walls. On top of that, it’s all cast iron plumbing throughout the house.

Usually when I run into panneled walls, my policy is to tear them all down (with the plaster walls behind them) and put up new sheet rock. But I’m butting heads with my Brother/partner because I want to replace the plumbing while I’m back there. I’m thinking that since the walls are down, I might as well put up new plumbing.

If we hold onto the property, I’m looking at less plumbing problems. If I’m going to sell it, my buyer (at least a savvy landlord) is going to want new plumbing on a rehabbed rental.

My brother likes to save money and only replace where necessary. I have a couple of problems with this. If we hold and a leak springs up in the future, it’s usally at the most inconvenient time (it’s convenient when I have the place empty and I can replace the plumbing without getting into a tenant’s way). If we decide to sell the rehab, our buyer usually doesn’t want to replace anything in the first 5 years (that is, he/she wants the place completely rehabbed). I don’t like these ‘patch up’ jobs that I think my Brother likes to do because you’re buyer ends up bad mouthing you and claiming you sold him a bumm house when he has to go in 1-2 mos. later and start fixing plumbing problems.

So what do you rehabbers do? Do you replace the plumbing while you have the walls ripped down? What do you do when you come across cast iron plumbing? Do you replace or wait until a leak springs?

Buy it right … - Posted by Hal Roark

Posted by Hal Roark on January 16, 2003 at 11:17:01:


You should go into a rehab knowing what work ahead of time you plan on doing, so that you can factor that into the cost of the rehab and thus factor that into the cost of the property. My suspicion is that you already do that; the real issue is that you have a family partner. Beware: those often don’t work well because of these style differences you cite.

I replace all mechanicals: water lines, drain lines, electrical, and sometimes gas. I buy homes 60+ years old needing significant repair, and often the cast iron is shot or will be shot shortly (5-10 years). I definately want new mechs when I’m the landlord, and having them helps my stuff sell faster when I rehab and flip.

My advice is to the the replacements and learn to buy cheaper. You will be happier on both accounts.

Good luck,


ps. I’m finishing a rehab right now of a property I intend to keep as a section 8 rental. Nasty brown paneling kilzed and painted with sw dover white 400 promar semi-gloss paint looks great. Don’t overimprove. But to not do that, you must be clear on your exit strategy going in. Cheers.

Re: Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by Nate(DC)

Posted by Nate(DC) on January 15, 2003 at 23:33:45:

As a general principle…Nobody likes a cheapie rehab. Do it right and be proud of your finished product. This is not to say you have to put granite counters and a Jacuzzi tub in your $50,000 house…but don’t cut corners on the basic systems such as plumbing, roof, heating, and windows. Everybody needs those to work and if you’re going to the bother of rehabbing the place you should at least do those right. Save money by doing the cosmetic stuff cheaper.


Re: Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by Steve

Posted by Steve on January 15, 2003 at 18:53:27:

If your walls are open and the plumbing is that old, I agree on replacing it especially if your going to hold it. If your selling to a landlord, he might look for more properties from you if you treat him fair.
If you have the moneyy and it’s keeping you up at night, replace it.

Re: Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by Dave

Posted by Dave on January 15, 2003 at 15:40:31:

Don’t have any input on the plumbing, but I have a rental that had one wall covered with ugly brown paneling. We primed and painted it an off-white color and it looks fine.

Re: Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by Bill

Posted by Bill on January 15, 2003 at 13:28:04:

Here’s what I do. I automatically replace all galvanized incoming pipes with PEX type plumbing. I leave the main cast iron stack, if it’s in good shape, but replace all drains up to the stack. Simple adapters tie the new plastic drains to the old cast iron stack. If the stack is bad, I use a chain breaker tool and snap the stack about a foot off the floor and run a new main stack in plastic. Entire job is usually less than $500 if I do the work or 700-800 if I get a helper to do it. I’ve trained some helpers to do this and after a short learning curve, they can do it OK. All tools to deal with PEX and the plastic drains can be had for just 200-300 on a one time purchase. Sure beats the 2000-3000 a plumber would usually quote for the job.
As to why, I have the same reasons you gave. Fix it now while it’s open and available. No headaches later. Also, it’s an added selling point.
Good luck,

Re: Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by Mark-WV

Posted by Mark-WV on January 15, 2003 at 12:20:27:

Ib, I as a rule replace all cast iron and metal if it’s on supply side , if it’s on drains I replace from the floor up to trap if there isn’t a problem allready . If there is leaks or sign of past leaks on the drains I replace all of it.

By doing it myself it is not a large ammount of money to spend ,maybe a couple of hundred to replace all of it with plastic.


Re: Question for you rehabbers/settle a dispute - Posted by IB (NJ)

Posted by IB (NJ) on January 15, 2003 at 13:09:22:

Thanks Mark. From your experience, why do you do this? Do you find your buyers want this? Does it translate into less repairs later down the line? I’d like something to present to my Brother on why I think cast iron should be replaced while we’re rehabbing, we have the help on hand, and the house is vacant. Thanks.