Fernco Cap

Fernco Cap

When I demo’d the wet wall, I cut off the tee of the soil stack for the first floor bathroom drains. It was a 4″ cast iron pipe. I cut it because it was notched into a completely rotted floor joist. I wanted to replace the joist, and since there wasn’t going to be a drain there it didn’t make sense to notch the new joist. I had picked up a 4″ rubber pipe cap from Home Depot, assuming it would fit.

Of course, it didn’t fit because it was meant for 4″ pipe, not the fitting that 4″ pipe fits into, which has a noticeably larger diameter. For the time being I put the test plug back in. I went back to Home Depot for some other things and discovered they didn’t carry the larger size, because it’s not a common diameter. Menards, however, carried it as a special order with free shipping, which made it cheaper than most of the other online sources for it. I placed my order and got back to work.

As I discussed in my post about our latest run-in with unexpected plumbing, we couldn’t finish the joist repairs on Saturday because we were still waiting on the cap. Scheduled delivery was Monday. Monday I worked from home and waited expectantly for UPS to deliver the cap. Hours ticked by, the mail came, the evening came, but no UPS. I checked the tracking and they said they had delivered it, leaving it by the garage. That was strange. Why would they walk all the way into the back yard and leave it there, especially when there were people home? Nonetheless I searched the back yard, all around the garage, re-checked the front porch and anywhere else I thought they might leave a package, and found nothing.

Frustrated, I went back to the tracking page. It had been delivered to Hebron, Illinois. For a moment I was thoroughly confused. How on Earth would it have wound up- and then it hit me: our friends Mike and Steph lived in Hebron. I had ordered Mike a Menards gift card as a thank you when he helped us put in the footings in the basement. Menards had helpfully saved the address and somehow left it as the default. When I ordered the part I didn’t check the shipping address and sent the drain cap to them. To be clear, Mike and Steph’s house is 70 miles from ours, so getting it from them is non-trivial.

The unfortunate part of this is that I need this drain cap before I can put the joist in because there is quite literally no clearance to put it in later. As it is the joist may have to bend slightly around the drain (still better than a giant hole notched in it). I need the joist in place so I can put in the subfloor, and I need the subfloor so I can re-frame the wet wall. I need to re-frame the wet wall so Lester can run the plumbing for the radiators and install the boiler, so we can have heat this winter. I took off Thursday and Friday of this week in anticipation of getting this work done. I need this drain cap!

The good news is that I found out Grainger stocks the part in Franklin Park, which is quite a bit closer than the alternatives. I’ll pick it up tomorrow morning and when I eventually get the other one from Mike and Steph I can just return it to Menards.

Update: Further Mishaps

I drove to Grainger and picked up the drain cap yesterday morning. When I got home I discovered it too, did not fit. Where the other cap was too small, this was too big. More than that, the slope of the tee meant that a cap was really ill-suited to the task because it didn’t have a straight edge to clamp to. I went back to Home Depot and looked around until I found a Fernco 4″ to 2″ reducing plug. Then I got a 1 ½” cap that fit into the 2″ opening. Ugly, but effective, and it fits into the hole rather than over it. It took me multiple attempts and a lot of pounding with a rubber mallet, but I managed to get it installed and the joist in place.

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One Response to Drain Cap Mishap

  1. Colin says:

    Hello there – I stumbled upon your blog while researching basement dig outs for a home we just recently purchased. I have since gone back and read your entire blog. Wow! It has both inspired and scared the $£!¥ out of me at the same time. Well done. Anyway, I recall in one of your posts that you finally had a reasonable quote for the dig out work, would you mind sharing the name of the contractor – i’m not having much success in the reasonable cost department. Thanks, and best of luck in your continued endeavor.

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