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10 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

...

We don't need to agree techniques on everything. PVA is a water based glue that can be livened up if it becomes moist, unlike SBR which I tend to use more often anyway. Since I have a better solution to hand, why wouldn't I use the better solution? The thinned primer is acrylic based. I don't need the addition of PVA (or SBR) which is often used for additional bond, and for reducing excessive suction in porous surfaces. Easi-Fill is sticky enough, as is the jointing tape. B)

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No, we do not need to agree on techniques, nor assume that our respective action is 'the one true path'.   But here I think you miss my point: I was advocating PVA as a sealer/binder on my semi-fractured and exposed gypsum PB infill (following my abrading to create a 'taper' - or indeed whenever PB gets damaged or cut badly) - exactly the type of situation that you recognise as calling for PVA.   After so priming, the gypsum is not only hardened but better able to receive filler (Joint filler or even Artex in my case) and tape, followed by joint cement.   (I don't use Easi-Fill, but no doubt that is a good alternative.)   As for the susceptibility of bog-standard PVA* to react to moisture, this is of no consequence when effectively buried under fiiller/plaster - but, even if it is not, 'Exterior PVA' (D4, as used for woodwork) is a waterproof (not just water-resistant) product and can be used economically in such situations.   I see no real objection to the alternative of using thinned acrylic primer (a product I use extensively for wood priming) but do doubt that it gives the same degree of adhesion to filler etc as would any PVA primer.

*Having written those words, I expect you now to suggest that 'bog standard' aptly describes the destiny of PVA + moisture! :P

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1 hour ago, Puffer said:

*Having written those words, I expect you now to suggest that 'bog standard' aptly describes the destiny of PVA + moisture! :P

I think we have both reached a playful conclusion here. ;) :D

I tend to use PVA (or my preferred, but more expensive SBR) to do one of two things: Homogenise a surface to be rendered of filled where there might be different degrees of suction (that might otherwise lead to deformation due to mixed 'induced' stresses on the drying medium leading to cracking). Or where adhesion might be low, which might be a previously painted or treated surface.

My understanding of plaster or plasterboard, is that too much suction could be a problem, meaning water is drawn from filler (whatever that might be) and can lead to a dry bond that might subsequently fail. In that instance, PVA would be used to slow down the drying of the medium, helping to prevent separation through premature drying. That said, dryliners do not treat plasterboard prior to taping and filling joints. Nor is there any reference anywhere, to products like Easi-Fill separating from completely untreated plasterboard. My conclusion then, is that any prior preparation to is a 'nice to have' rather than 'need to have'.

Where you have used PVA on bare/cut boards, I have agreed the use of PVA in almost every circumstance. However, I have recently had experience of a bathroom I refurbished (which included some ceiling repairs) where I actually wiped dripping water off the repaired ceiling after a tenant had used the shower in the room. So wet was the ceiling, I had to wring out a dish-cloth twice to get the bulk of the water off the newly painted ceiling. Some weeks later, that paint has started to peel, (it wasn't water-proof paint) exposing the plasterwork. Where i live, we have a history of leaking pipes (pictures shown previously) and the repair I've made is directly under a 50 gallon water tank. With this recent experience, and the history of my own home, the location of the repair, I have 3 good reasons to use something that won't liven up if water is introduced to it, no matter how unlikely that might be in the normal course of events. My anticipation (ref above) is to repair for the extreme 'course of events' because that would be typical of my experience. Especially here. :( 

 

Easi-Fill is a useful product for those small/thin repairs, where plastering skim might otherwise be ideal, but where the DIY'er has little or no plastering skills (which would include me.) It's a very 'sticky' medium, and can't be polished like a finish coat of plaster because it literally 'sticks' to everything it touches. As I indicate, adhesion problems are unknown. It's softer than plaster, and more resilient to cracking. In fact it's more like the old lime render, in that untreated it will absorb moisture and maintain some flexibility. Better yet, it's a fine powder product that rubs down easily. Dust can and is a problem, so getting the level as close to correct is desirable, though not as critical as with plaster. Because it accepts moisture and will liven up, it's possible to 'wet sand' with a sponge. It's also easy to re-coat, though suction (gripping) is a problem is you are not quick. ;) I use other fillers for anything deeper than 5mm, but for shallow repairs, this stuff is great. Dries quickly too. B)

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Interesting, Freddy; it is good to compare techniques.   I will just respond on essentials:

1.   I have only used SBR for priming plywood floors before tiling.   I haven't yet needed to use it on cement rendering (its usual purpose) and hadn't considered it for plastering, if only because PVA works for me on those odd occasions it is needed, e.g. on a 'sucking' wall or painted surface, as you mention.

2.   Plasterboard should not need any priming before joint filling (except, preferably, where the paper surface is exposed/damaged as in my usage mentioned previously).   Indeed, I believe that any priming will reduce the desirable penetration/adhesion of normal plaster.   (For similar reasons, most surfaces should not be primed before plastering - or tiling - unless they are very absorbent or, like wood, can flex or be fairly impermeable.)

3.   I suggest that the dripping wet bathroom needs better ventilation!   Was there any mould growth? - commonly found where unthinking tenants dry clothes indoors without opening a window etc.

4.   As said earlier, I haven't yet tried Easi-Fill (assumed until recently to be a character from EastEnders :huh:) as the more traditional joint filler (also used as a general filler) and joint cement work for me.   And Artex is a good initial joint filler too; it keeps quite well and I can put the remains of a bag to good use.

5.   I claim no expertise with plastering, but can cope with most jobs (apart from large areas of ceiling - too tiring).   I find an large old (distemper) brush, a spray bottle and a sponge invaluable for finishing, used with a nicely worn-in finishing trowel (ideally stainless), some patience, elbow grease and whatever bad language I can still command after, say, paperhanging.

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53 minutes ago, Puffer said:

2.  ......... (For similar reasons, most surfaces should not be primed before plastering - or tiling - unless they are very absorbent or, like wood, can flex or be fairly impermeable.)

I would be surprised if a plasterer or tiler did not 'prime' a bare wall with PVA before doing either. As before, the PVA does two things: 1: It makes the suction levels of different substrates more uniform, and makes sure porous ones don't dry out the applied medium prematurely. 2:  As the PVA is moistened by the application of a wet medium, it becomes 'live' again and helps bond the new medium (plaster/tile adhesive) to the substrate (brick/cement).  

SBR wouldn't be completely appropriate in most cases, because it's more of a waterproofing agent (admixture) and strengthener. There are cheaper waterproofing admixtures too. I have used SBR in various rendering/mortar repairs because previous failure indicates a need for greater strength. I have used it around drainage repairs and a man-hole replacement project. Despite the expense of it, I love the stuff. B)

 

Quote

3.   I suggest that the dripping wet bathroom needs better ventilation!   Was there any mould growth? - commonly found where unthinking tenants dry clothes indoors without opening a window etc.

All the above.

Originally I spent over a month in the bathroom, removing every last particle of mould, left by the previous tenants. If I have a photo, I will include it later. Every single inch of silicon had mould in it. Imagine trying to remove that .... I nearly gave up on the job.... The upper edge of every tile in the room, had mould on it. 3 different brands of mould cleaner couldn't get it out of the ceiling, and two coats of stain-blocker didn't completely hide the (dead mould) staining. The room hadn't been cleaned for 10 months.

The shower cubicle stood on a raised plinth so a fairly deep trap could be installed. The tallest new tenant was over 6ft. He could barely get himself under the shower head. It wasn't long before my good work was being unravelled.

I really could fill several pages here of the horrors, now thankfully, a problem in the past. (I hope.)

Edited by FastFreddy2

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10 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

I would be surprised if a plasterer or tiler did not 'prime' a bare wall with PVA before doing either. As before, the PVA does two things: 1: It makes the suction levels of different substrates more uniform, and makes sure porous ones don't dry out the applied medium prematurely. 2:  As the PVA is moistened by the application of a wet medium, it becomes 'live' again and helps bond the new medium (plaster/tile adhesive) to the substrate (brick/cement).  

...

The use if a wall primer essentially depends on two things: (i) the suction/permeability of the wall surface; (ii) the type of adhesive or plaster being applied.   The manufacturers of the plaster or adhesive have views on this (i.e. whether to prime, and if so, with what - unsurprisingly, their own expensive product rather than PVA in many cases) and these views are not always shared by professionals (see Screwfix Forum, for example).   On a dense and fairly impermeable surface, PVA primer will tend to form a skin and can prevent subsequent adhesion (despite any 'livening' that you mention), with the plaster/tiles coming away with the PVA attached to that.   Better that the adhesive/plaster penetrates and grips, as intended, without primer.   Plasterboard needs no primer, at least for recommended plaster coating such as Multi or Board Finish, but PVA priming may assist before painting, although thinned emulsion is better and proprietary primers (e.g. Wickes Ready Mixed Plasterboard Sealer) are even better, although rather expensive.

On the other hand, where the surface is porous or friable, priming is usually necessary to bind/strengthen the substrate as well as limited suction, as you note.   This is often true of old plaster or masonry and some render.   Equally, an inhospitable (usually smooth) surface such as glazed tiles, wood, metal, painted plaster will not readily accept and retain plaster or adhesive without some priming (PVA or SBR) and/or roughening; as you suggest, the 'livening' provides an element of helpful stickiness.   These two 'priming' situations are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum; the more common middle ground rarely needs priming (despite one's natural view that it ought to help) - but often a little experimentation is needed, as my own experience bears out.

I love PVA and use it extensively, especially for priming on old masonry before plastering or cement rendering, and often as part of a cement mortar admixture.   But it is not the answer to every maiden's prayer.

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While Forums are very useful, 'old wives tales' abound. I haven't had much contact with plasterers, nor tilers, but those I know do as I suggest, 'prime' (they call it). I've even had the misfortune to have to clear up residue from a skim+coving job where PVA was used excessively.

Since PVA is an adhesive, I can't imagine where it's use on a dry substrate would be to the detriment of any water based medium applied whatever that might be - with the obvious exception of paint. I have myself applied coats of a waterproofing paint to the substrate in my bathroom where tiles were to be placed. A more difficult surface to adhere to seems unlikely, so I don't see how PVA could be worse.

As for (continued) references to plasterboard, I haven't included this anywhere, and have stated it doesn't need any sealing when the medium designed for it; ie Easi-Fill, is used.

 

An example of 'old wives tales' would be the suggestion by plasterers, to use a weak mix of PVA to 'prime' new (dry) plaster before painting. Absolutely not.... In fact modern (post 2010) emulsions aren't much use for the legendary 'mist' coat either. In the 'old days', dry emulsion was permanent, not any longer. Dulux tell me after 3 weeks it should be 'set' as to be permanent, again, not so. Modern emulsions can be 'livened' up with water, even years after application. Currently I 'prime' bare plaster with a weak mix of acrylic primer, that both seals and fixes the surface ready for coats of emulsion.  

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I don't pretend to have tried, or succeeded with, every technique under the sun, but I do know what has worked for me (or not).   Having installed, filled, skimmed (in some cases) and decorated almost 100 PBs on one project alone, I can speak with some experience.   And I certainly appreciate that a lot of what is posted on forums is (if one discounts the purely abusive or insulting) of debatable value - but there are many postings based on tried-and-tested experience too, albeit not necessarily giving the only or best solution.   But technology moves on, as you indicate with (some) paint - Barry Bucknell would be a fish out of water in many modern DIY settings!   I shall try SBR on walls next time a relevant job comes up.

As to priming plasterboard (before joint filling), you said above: 'My conclusion then, is that any prior preparation to [plasterboard] is a 'nice to have' rather than 'need to have'.   Allowing for the missing word, was this not at least a recognition that PB could usefully be primed?   But we can both agree that it need not be and really should not be, except (in my view) to harden/reinforce broken/abraded areas.   

I'll rest my case there.   

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47 minutes ago, Puffer said:

As to priming plasterboard (before joint filling), you said above: 'My conclusion then, is that any prior preparation to [plasterboard] is a 'nice to have' rather than 'need to have'.   Allowing for the missing word, was this not at least a recognition that PB could usefully be primed?   But we can both agree that it need not be and really should not be, except (in my view) to harden/reinforce broken/abraded areas.   

I'll rest my case there.   

At the time (so putting it into context) we were talking about 'unfinished/damaged/reshaped' board edges if I remember? Otherwise, priming/sealing finished boards is completely unnecessary. B) 

Your text from post #7556

On 06/03/2016 at 10:19 AM, Puffer said:

  I then seal/bind the abraded surface with diluted PVA, allow this to dry and apply tape (preferably mesh, although paper can be used) and joint filler etc in the usual way.

 

My response, was that I used (in the bathroom) thinned acrylic paint in lieu. (We are quite literally, going around in circles now.) ;) I went on to say Easi-Fill (or something like it - Lafarge make a similar product but is harder to source) negates the need for 'priming/sealing' because it's so sticky..... Followed by, the comment you quoted ...

 

Mindful Maison Freddy is practically falling down around my ears (in some places) I feel SBR is justified. The additional strength it provides is my insurance policy against doing 'the job' twice. I recommend it for difficult/harsh jobs only. Otherwise (I remind you) I agree PVA is perfectly suitable in almost every other circumstance, if not every other circumstance.

My case is also rested. :D

Edited by FastFreddy2

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Will this work?

Fourth time of trying ......

Maison Freddy got another visit from the 'leak' fairly yesterday morning. The 'cancerous' copper 22mm pipe that carries hot water around the gaff, let go again. Over the past couple of years I have developed a technique for resolving these leaks, and have the procedure down to about 15 minutes. 

One problem wasn't so easy to solve and necessitated taking up half the bathroom floor. (I have mentioned this event, and promised pictures I've yet to add.) Yesterdays problem was in a similar league, since it was behind a kitchen unit and tucked into a wall. Once I realised the source, I knew I wasn't going to have a great day.

Immediate response (as usual), turn off the water, and drain the water tank(s) as required. "As required" means until water stops flowing. Although I didn't know this yesterday, our hot water tank won't empty unless water is pushed out of it, or drained directly (more on that later).

While the tank(s) are emptying, my job is to move and dry -if needed- anything struck by falling water, and to put a container under any drips. My well rehearsed procedure meant the water damage was small. My ears are 'tuned' to "drip drip drip" like most mothers/parents are tuned to the wail of their new born when unhappy. 

This leak was the final straw, in an economy jumbo pack B.O.G.O.F. lifetime deal, that I had hoped would be terminated with the addition of a new boiler that would make all this 'cancerous' copper pipe redundant/removed. Unfortunately I allowed myself to get involved in another project that kept me busy for too long, and winter isn't a good time to change every rad in the house, and then a boiler.

So, time ran out for me, and now the 'cancerous' pipework.

It took until 4am to access everything, restore some of a bedroom floor, and install a repair regime that removed large sections of 22mm pipe with more efficient 15mm copper with no holes. Effectively working through the night, with the objective of Mrs Freddy able to shower in the morning. But filling up both tanks again, and warming up the hot tank meant there wasn't enough time left for that to happen since she is in the bathroom at 5am. The cold water tank filled quickly, and quicker than I imagined given the hot water tank downstream....

One of the idiosyncrasies of this house (and its plumbing system) is that any emptying of the hot water system, needs a mains water back-flush to remove an airlock. Once I had worked out how to do this, we again had running water from the hot taps in the bathroom. Better, there was warm water out of the hot taps!

I had not realised, though it was very desirable from the metered consumption point of view, the hot tank hadn't emptied. In fact the heated water had stayed heated too. Yay! B) Mrs Freddy got her 5am shower after all. ;)

Not that this put her in a better mood than she was in the previous evening. She is thinking we should live somewhere else, while the plumbing here (and residual building work - including new kitchen) is concluded.... :huh:

Edited by FastFreddy2

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11 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

At the time (so putting it into context) we were talking about 'unfinished/damaged/reshaped' board edges if I remember? Otherwise, priming/sealing finished boards is completely unnecessary. B) 

Your text from post #7556

My response, was that I used (in the bathroom) thinned acrylic paint in lieu. (We are quite literally, going around in circles now.) ;) I went on to say Easi-Fill (or something like it - Lafarge make a similar product but is harder to source) negates the need for 'priming/sealing' because it's so sticky..... Followed by, the comment you quoted ...

...

With respect, if you look at the entirety of the paragraph in which your 'nice to have' comment appeared, it addressed normal jointing of plasterboards, without saying anything about damaged/exposed areas.   It was only because of your apparent recognition there that 'virgin' joints (i.e. from undamaged tapered edges) could perhaps be primed that I felt obliged to comment further, especially when you later seemed to deny that possibility (although I totally accept that you did not intend to give that impression).   You and I both know (and agree) that neither normal jointing nor PB surfaces generally require any priming before filling or skimming - but the casual reader would probably have been confused by the apparent contradictions in our respective texts.   That is why I wanted to clarify matters - blame a lifetime of seeking precision in technical writing.   And I think you will agree that both of those concepts are desirable.

A closing thought:   When Michelangelo decorated the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, do you think he first applied a coat of 'Latin Primer'?   B):unsure:    (As a matter of interest, he apparently transferred his designs from pre-prepared cartoons to the plaster surface by pricking the outline with a stiletto.   I hope he didn't ruin his best shoes. :o )

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On 07/03/2016 at 11:55 AM, FastFreddy2 said:

My understanding of plaster or damaged plasterboard, is that too much suction could be a problem, meaning water is drawn from filler (whatever that might be) and can lead to a dry bond that might subsequently fail. In that instance, I agree with you, PVA would be used to slow down the drying of the medium, helping to prevent separation through premature drying. That said, dryliners do not treat plasterboard prior to taping and filling joints. Nor is there any reference anywhere, to products like Easi-Fill separating from completely untreated plasterboard. My conclusion then, is that any prior preparation to damaged plasterboard is a 'nice to have' rather than 'need to have'.

There, backwardly corrected to suit a quotation taken out of context from the rest of the statement, which was throughout the discussion concerning repairs to plasterboard and render, that pretty much excluded new-build situations through absence. I was in essence, agreeing your regime not promoting mine. 

In the light of my correction, you will find it fully ties in with everything I have said. Next time I will try to ensure every dot is joined, to help anyone missing a dot, or not joining it with the others, to understand its presence. B) There is a difference between seeking clarity on a point of ambiguity, and trawling for contradictions that don't exist.

I will not be responding or acknowledging any further comments on this. It's become unnecessarily destructive. :(

Edited by FastFreddy2

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9 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

There, backwardly corrected to suit a quotation taken out of context from the rest of the statement, which was throughout the discussion concerning repairs to plasterboard and render, that pretty much excluded new-build situations through absence. I was in essence, agreeing your regime not promoting mine. 

In the light of my correction, you will find it fully ties in with everything I have said. Next time I will try to ensure every dot is joined, to help anyone missing a dot, or not joining it with the others, to understand its presence. B) There is a difference between seeking clarity on a point of ambiguity, and trawling for contradictions that don't exist.

I will not be responding or acknowledging any further comments on this. It's become unnecessarily destructive. :(

Agreed; thank you; and I'm sorry if you have felt that anything here was destructive when that is alien to both of us.   I do look forward to sharing more DIY-related issues with you, however; I think we both have skills and experiences that are worth sharing - and politely debating where necessary. 

And I'm glad neither of us is working on the Sistine Chapel, whether on original or repair work. :rolleyes:

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I have been kept busy during the last couple of weeks, carrying out replacement of hot water piping, repairing the old (but serviceable) though soon to be redundant kitchen units, and repairing floorboards ready for their (hopefully) permanent re-seating. Details to follow. 

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Apparently, I am becoming 'a bit of bore' talking about my plumbing adventures, so I will keep this reasonably short. (Haha.)

My home is about 40 years old. Might be 45, but not as old as 50. That means my home was built during a time of great expansion in home building, leading to a shortage in copper (pipe) availability. To make it go further, not entirely suitable additions were made, that have not stood the test of time in the way everyone would hope. 

When we purchased the house, we were not told of any endemic problem, but I have since found some historic evidence of it. The problem is that some (if not all) the 22mm copper pipe used in the hot water supply side in my home, has corroded from the inside out. Heated water, has activated some chemical reaction in the 'unusual' blend of copper in this pipe. (As an aside, I have recently found a small hole in some 15mm hot water pipe too. Unsurprisingly, in a length below a section that had already been replaced, but the replaced pipe was hidden inside a 'boxed in' pipe run between floors.) Short of lifting carpets, taking wall coverings off, un-hiding boxed in pipe runs, this 'evidence' could not be seen by anyone doing a survey. 

While doing an autopsy to identify the cause might seem attractive, it won't change the problem. Bad copper mixes, or iron particulates are the main suspect, possibly leeching from a water heater, since the 'cold' pipework doesn't exhibit the same problem.... Thing is, we have suffered for several years with this, and the last visit from the 'leak fairy' meant even Job (spoken as Jobe) aka me, had come to the end of his patience. Shame it hadn't ended several years ago, I would have wasted less time doing remedial work to water damaged ceilings and walls.... (Duh.)

 

So the bad pipe runs almost 5 meters along a ceiling void, and a further 2 meters down a wall (boxed in and behind then inside a kitchen unit) had to be replaced. It meant lifting bits of a bedroom floor, cutting up/through a kitchen unit. Initially the old 22mm pipework had to be removed, with access being almost non-existent. Happy days! :(

I was tempted to use plastic, but I am concreted into using copper, though this is about to change. I also use solder unless access means a hot flame is dangerous, since I don't have a good record with compression joints.

I started by isolation of the working hot water to the bathroom, as this pipework had already been replaced last year due to the same pipe-corrosion problem. Hot water was off to the lower floor for two days while I accessed the pipe route, 'dug it out', worked out a repair regime (in 15mm copper) and completed the repair scheme. I did have one little 'hiccup', in that I didn't do a very good job on what was the penultimate joint, that resulted in a leak. The joint was in the end corner of a kitchen unit, and against a wall. I had been concerned about heat damage, and not sufficiently warmed up the joint, which I can tell you is MOST unlike me. Having worked as a welder, I like to see stuff glowing. ;)

With the pipe run run full of water, and no way to drain it, I had to cut the join and sweat off the duff joints. I cleaned and pre'p them again, but decided I'd make life easier for myself (for once) and bought a pair of Hep2o 90 degree elbows the next day. Although all the other prep work had been done (including the intermediate 70mm length of copper pipe), once the elbows arrived in the room, it took less than 2 minutes to finish the job. And that included getting the elbows out of their plastic wrappers. Water on, no leaks. Yay!

A side benefit to this change, is that hot water supplied in the 15mm pipe, arrives faster than with 22mm with less wasted residual cold water.

Repairing the used/abused (soon to be skipped) kitchen units took a bit of time, since access took priority over ensuring the old/worn units were kept in good order. Full functionality has been restored, and the internal shelf won't need to be torn out to remove it next time either. ;) :D 

 

Epilogue.

It would seem copper pipes don't always last forever. I am warming toward plastic, and Hep2o in particular. Floplast has proved to be difficult if not impossible to disconnect, though their coloured lock collets are a nice idea. Speedfit is okay and I have used this, but disconnection is too easy and the joints are quite bulky. The Hep2o product is less bulky, more aesthetically pleasing and can't be released without the use of a key (so secure). Plastic, is a shed load quicker too. I have seen a couple (or three) installations by people who maybe have taken the time saving aspect a little too far, and not clipped the pipe anywhere. All three working examples looked untidy for that reason. I'm thinking that a mixture of copper and plastic might be the way forward.

 

Epilogue II (The next chapter).

I am currently 'fighting' my way into changing a 28mm outlet from a cold water tank, to a 15mm supply, since the tank provides indirect water to the hot water tank via a different route, and now, only supplies cold water to a sink that isn't used much. A length of 28mm diameter pipe was originally used to supply the bathroom, then move on around the rest of the house in 22mm. I have changed all but one sink to mains water, and recent experience has shown I should not take for granted that old pipework and fittings can tolerate higher pressures. (The connection to the washing machine in my case.) That 28/22mm pipe runs have to go, as they're all but redundant, and I want to recover the space the 28mm is using. Replacement with 15mm and a revised route seems like a prudent choice.

As of this morning, I am no longer in love with copper in the way I was. While many will think it's a lifelong product, I now find it isn't in all circumstances. I'm aware this particular job would have been easier if I had remade the 28+22mm pipework in 15mm plastic. At the time, of making my original decision, I wanted to avoid using (at least) four 90 degree elbows that would be needed to complete the route. I would also have needed a way to accommodate a 40/50mm offset and a 95 degree bend, though much of this could have been avoided if I just snaked the pipe work where it needed to be, and forgot about any aesthetic appeal issue. (Meaning, forget the fact it look like a cowboy job.) Done mostly in copper, the job is a challenge, but will look okay when it's done. I have used push-fit for the reducers, because I don't own tooling (wrenches) for 28mm connections, and I already have a 22-15mm push-fit to hand. Both of these are Speedfit, bought on price and availability. (The 28-22mm item is a 28-22-22 tee that I've used after blanking off the second and unnecessary 22m outlet.) The final push-fit item is another 90 degree Hep2o elbow, that is connecting a vertical and horizontal, under a partition wall, and behind a toilet. I can see where the joint is to be made, but I don't want to remove the toilet to get at it. The push-fit connector is by far the simpler solution. 

It won't be long before I have installed pipe runs using (heavily clipped) Hep2o plastic. :huh:

Edited by FastFreddy2

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Interesting, Freddy - and by no means boring to those of us born with a silver wrench in our hands.

Not so many years ago (maybe 10), there was a well-identified quality issue with a large batch of rogue copper pipe (or 'tube' as some would have it) that had an alarming tendency to pinhole and leak.   I doubt that this was unique and may well have also been happening in earlier times, remembering that copper only began to replace lead or galvanised iron in the 1950s and I suspect that (especially in pre-metric days) standards of manufacture were not as strict.   But your experience, although fairly uncommon, is certainly a confounded nuisance and I suspect undue electrolytic action, as you imply, worsened by higher temperature.   I can only say that I have very rarely experienced a similar pipe defect/failure and I am happy enough re-using old copper unless it is clearly in poor condition - much of the older stuff (sometimes 0.5" imperial) has a thicker wall and will likely last forever.

I sometimes wonder whether poor or over-fluxed joints in gas pipe are a worse risk than in a water line.   Water leaks do show more obviously and, although damaging, usually less of a major hazard than (undetected) gas leaks.   And the scouring action of water will tend to remove flux or other debris that can cause eventual problems in gas lines.

Like you, I was very much a copper-only user until a few years ago, when the purchase of a 'totally unfinished-refurb' property with partial first-fix plumbing in plastic encouraged me to use it - after stripping it all out and running it where it ought to go, allowing for my changes in the flat layout etc.   I still prefer to use copper in all visible locations, with end-feed fittings (although may use solder-ring or compression when not on show or needs dictate) - the one exception being short radiator upstands which can look neat in white plastic and don't need painting.   I am happy enough to use plastic pipe/fittings where it is hidden, especially in awkward locations where the ability to thread and bend is a big bonus, e.g. under a bath or inside a vanity unit.   I have used Hep2O, Speedfit and Polypipe without any difficulty; all have their minor quirks and advantages - but I agree that the newer Hep2O (with tapered unions), which is what I think you are using, do look neater if they must be on show.    The use of a push-fit (or even compression) fitting on either copper or plastic (or to join both) in a tricky location, where access is limited or the joint may need later manipulation or undoing, is of course another big bonus.   But I still avoid unsightly unions if I possibly can, and it is very rare that I cannot make a soldered joint safely without damaging the surroundings - and it may be easier than using a 'fat' plastic fitting in a confined space anyway.

Pipe layout and routing can develop into quite an art-form; careful selection of fittings (and, with 15/22mm copper, use of a pipe-bender) can save a lot of aggravation, minimise leak-potential and usually save money too.   On the rare occasions I work in 28mm, I use end-feed or compression fittings - bending needs more tackle and strength than I possess or can justify acquiring - and I do have a couple of large wrenches that will fit.   I have never needed to use plastic fittings in 28mm - the price is a deterrent anyway (and true of 15 and 22mm also to a degree)! 

But we can both be grateful that screwed iron is no longer the norm.   Pipe dies, vices on big stands, Footprint wrenches and all that.   I have a copy of 'Practical Householder' from the '50s showing two blokes attempting DIY central heating in that medium (and with the ugly 'school' radiators that now seem fashionable again - the plumbing equivalent of platform shoes).   Somewhere, I do have a pipe to smoke as one of them has, but I draw the line at a fair-isle pullover and baggy trousers with turn-ups. :wacko:

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We have been enjoying leak-free plumbing here at Maison Freddy for some weeks now. It's allowed me to re-fit a fair amount of flooring, that had been left loose in case of further leaks ....

I am remiss in not including a lot of re-work images to support the narrative, and it may be that since I can't edit old posts, I may 'catch-up' by posting a short catalogue of work completed in a short series of new posts.

 

One thing I keep meaning to mention, is that I finally measured the water pressure here, at a disappointing 4.5 bar. Now, the expert plumbers amongst us will know that is only half (to 2/3rds) the story. There is a figure that relates to a lower pressure when the water is running. (I can't recall the term, but there is one.) This figure is worked out by turning on a tap, and measuring the lowered pressure while the tap is running. That happened to be 4.0 bar.

The other half of the story, is flowrate. It happens to be around 30L/pm here. I might be more, but that rate isn't bad at all. In fact the Belfast sink I re-plumbed (pictures appear here with the new/revised waste), and it now has a mains supply too. As 'avid' readers will know, that sink flooded when the overflow failed to function. (It was blocked with Plumbers Mait it transpired.) Anyway, I've been tempted to block the sink waste to test the overflow, more than once, and had a change of mind as the water level in the sink has risen. Last week, I needed to wash away some grit left in a bowl I'd emptied and turned on the cold supply (mains) to wash away the small amount of debris.

To my amazement, I found the water-flow from the tap was greater than that of the waste, meaning I got to watch the sink start to fill even with an open waste! I allowed the water to get some 3 inches deep, before deciding the 'experiment' was conclusive.   

When I get that combi boiler fitted, we are going to be able to go surfing in the bathroom with our flowrate! ;) :D

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Had an interesting 30 seconds today.

Over the weekend I separated 3 radiators from the heating system at Maison Freddy. Not much to report .... Emptied one side of the heating circuit. Uncoupled the three rads. Took two off walls. Removed 3 loosened rad valves and replaced them with isolation valves (I'd got a few lying around). Checked the ground floor valves which were left in situ didn't leak by putting some liquid back in the system, all okay so refilled and added £14's worth of inhibitor.

Vented some air, ran both heating and hot water circuits independently, vented some more air ... Everything looked fine.  

Two hours later, I noticed a small pool of water under the ground floor drain cock that was dripping once, about every 3 minutes. Overnight I lost about half a litre of liquid. What was I to do? Recycling the system liquid wasn't an option, but the drain cock had to be changed.... 

I bought a 15mm to 15mm straight push fit connector (I must buy a pack) and used one of the two new drain cocks I happen to have, together with a 60mm length of copper pipe to make a small sub-assembly. (Connector-pipe-drain cock.) The last bit of preparation, was to clean and polish the bit of the pipe immediately next to the old radiator fitting/drain cock. Then came the 'hairy' 30 seconds.

I inserted the leaking end of the pipe run into the bottom of a bucket, I had laid almost horizontal close to the floor. The replacement sub-assembly put within easy reach, and I grabbed the pipe slice. At this time, it might be worth noting, the heating circuit is still full of water, and I am on the ground floor. I started to cut the pipe with the 15mm pipe slice. (No turning back now.) It took more turns than I thought, but the slice cut the pipe and water gushed out! I put my left thumb over the open pipe** and the stream stopped. I grabbed the assembly, and readied it next to my thumb holding back the water. Thumb removed, the push fit connector slipped on and re-sealed the heating circuit. My left knee got a bit damp, and there might have been a litre of liquid in the bottom of the bucket.... But it has worked, no more leaking. If it hadn't worked, I would have been in very deep do-do. :huh:

 

Now the heating circuit is no longer leaking, I can get on with repairing/painting the areas behind the rads, prior to installing newer, more efficient and correctly rated radiators. :)  

 

** About an hour later when a little 'tidy-up' had been completed, I found I'd cut out a small chunk of flesh from my thumb, when using it as a pipe-bung. I'd not noticed any pain, but the blood smears on the towel were hard to miss. Saved wasting the inhibitor, and a couple of hours filling/bleeding the heating circuit, so it was worth it. ;) B)  

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Presumably the washer inside the draincock had failed - by no means uncommon.   (It happened to me once doing work at my son's flat - and that was on the second floor so those below knew about it!).   I hope you will re-use the draincock (with a new washer) elsewhere!

I assume that the new draincock was the usual glanded type A with a plain spigot to fit into a coupling - and that your sub-assembly therefore included a coupling soldered between pipe and draincock.   The non-glanded type B are useless in this situation as they leak water when opened.   It is tempting to fit the draincock spigot directly into a push-fit connector - it will of course 'go' but will not hold securely; similar draincocks with a longer spigot intended for push fit are available but expensive (although I got a bag of them dirt cheap at a boot sale).

I hope your replacement rads are of an equivalent length so the valves connect without the need for adaptors.   Would it not have been better, after wall repairs etc, to mount and fit the new rads with the system all drained down, altering pipework if necessary?   You probably aren't using the heating in this warm(ish) weather. 

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Before fitting the "new" drain cock, it was tested for function on the 4.5 bar mains. It's unused so functioned well. Ultimately, the replacement pipework will use a 'heavy' type A drain cock which seems to meet with universal approval. The older (now removed) drain cock had functioned well previously. I'm aware they can and do fail, and my mistake was not ensuring the seal was clear of debris of any sort before re-tightening. :rolleyes: Lesson learned.

The new rads will not be the same size, and at least 600mm of pipework will be replaced at each connection. New TRV's or new manual valves are to be fitted too. The 'bugger' of this particular radiator is the poorly made pipe covering fascia board. That and the fact I may need help lifting a 600x1400 double rad when the wall is refinished. :huh:

 

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All understood, Freddy - and good luck with the replacements.   I had assumed that you were not needing to (or intending to) alter the rad pipework, implied by you putting new inhibitor into the system - why bother for a short time if you have to drain down and alter?

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12 hours ago, Puffer said:

... why bother for a short time if you have to drain down and alter?

I have a 'habit' of doing a job that should last days, and it getting it done in weeks. Having taken two rads off 'upstairs', I find cracks in need of repair behind both. Given my 'repair' method, possibly a weeks cycle time to conclude them. Then there's the fitting of the new rads, which will include raising floorboards which I already know from the nail patterns on the floorboards, will provide some unique challenges on replacing the boards. The walls are again, breeze/cinder block that show signs of settlement. The repairs are not structural, but mostly cosmetic. Unlike the previous owner, my solution to this isn't woodchip wallpaper.  

The plaster-work on the ground floor behind the old rad is 'blown' in places. It's the location of the large rad that heats the house entrance, hallway, stairwell and upper landing, 40+ years of heat has persuaded much of the cement rendering to part from the brickwork. Well over half the depth of the screws holding the radiator support rails, are kept in place by this cement render, so it needs to be properly fixed to the brickwork.

If I had employed a plumber to change the rads the job would be done in a day, but I would have sleepless nights worrying over the condition of the walls behind them. Removing the upstairs rad wouldn't be a problem, though inconvenient, but the large one on the ground floor ... That won't want moving once it's mounted. :(

So the inhibitor is (again) for my peace-of-mind in case the work over-runs as it almost undoubtedly will. :rolleyes:

  

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10 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

...  So the inhibitor is (again) for my peace-of-mind in case the work over-runs as it almost undoubtedly will. :rolleyes:  

Again understood; it just seemed wasteful to me, even if a month or two elapses, particularly during a period when heating use will be minimal (we hope).   Personally, I would have filled with plain water and, on completion of the rad changes, flushed everything thoroughly before refilling with inhibitor added.

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3 hours ago, Puffer said:

 Personally, I would have filled with plain water and, on completion of the rad changes, flushed everything thoroughly before refilling with inhibitor added.

We both know you are not as lazy as me. ;) :P :D

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7 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

We both know you are not as lazy as me. ;) :P :D

I don't think you do yourself justice!   'Thoroughness' is surely your middle name?

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