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Cast iron soil pipes will last a century if painted regularly

September 25, 2012

View of old cast iron pipe with rusted rear curved section.

The soil and vent pipe (SVP) is the pipe that allows flushed waste from the toilet to enter the foul drainage system. On older houses these pipes are made of cast iron and often painted black.

The problem with cast iron SVPs is that they’re very difficult to paint along the curved sections facing the brick wall. Over many years the unpainted cast iron will rust and eventually create a tiny hole. The hole will allow foul water to run down the outside of the pipe and then enter the property through the brickwork, resulting in internal dampness.

My cast iron SVP has been leaking for some time and today was the day that a new cast iron SVP was installed. It’s tempting and very much cheaper to have a plastic version installed, but plastic components of any description are banned in my house!

The photo above shows the thinner section of cast iron that has just rusted away to nothing, for lack of regular painting. However, where the pipe has been painted the metal is in excellent condition. This proves that regular maintenance ensures components such as SVPs last for many years, if not centuries!

My plumber ordered the two 2.00m sections of cast iron pipe and with some effort and a few cups of tea managed to insert the two new sections back into place.

I am now going to make sure that the whole section of pipe is cleaned up and repainted in gloss black, ready for another 100 years of service.

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