Plumbing Repair – Tunneling Under a Slab Foundation

Plumbing Repair – Tunneling Under a Slab Foundation

The guest bathtub and toilet plumbing in this house clogged with mud. I tunneled under the house to reach the cast iron pipe and fixed the damage. To back-fill the tunnel I used a technique called “mud balling.” Watch the video to see the damaged pipe, the repair, tunnel back-fill and the tools I used to do the job.

The bay window shown from time to time in this video needed to be reskinned. Watch this video to see how Jeff did it:

Like the Music? “Airy Songwriting Kit” by Martijn de Boer (NiGiD)

Get It Here:

Bathroom Remodel 1: After Demolition & Plumbing Overview

Bathroom Remodel 2: The Wayne-Show

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John Brewer says:

I live in North Texas with the beloved black clay, and I have MULTIPLE leaks with cast iron pipe. I want to replace the main pipe in and reroute the kitchen as it is on an ext wall on the opposite side of the house. My question is regarding the digging with the Bosch. Would an auger bit worked better? What would you say your average hr/ ft was? I assume a 3×3 (ish) hole. It would be very hard to replace flooring in both bathrooms. I have about 30ft to tunnel. Just wondering what I'm up against.


Can I stick (sleeve) a 4" PVC pipe into a 6" cast iron main line that has a hole in the bottom and is unrepairable without digging?

Suzanna Dorantes says:

Hurayy! that's my solution. God I thank you!!!!!!!

daisey234 says:

Someone should have told him about pipe lining !


Smart call on buying your own tool rotary hammer. You could prob also sell it and get at least half your money back.


If you've got 10% left over then it's not tamped by any means. It's actually a useless endeavor and it might as well be left completely open and just shored up. I can't believe they make you put the dirt back in the hole but not require it to be tamped to a 95% compaction.


Why do you have to backfill it? There's plenty of houses that have crawl spaces. Why can't you create supports with 4x4s and precast concrete bases like they do decks?


I bet you anything that that hole was punched by a careless person using a snake in the past.

miguel perez says:

You do know we are around everywhere in texas right?, we can dig like Iguanas at a Chinese new years event.

Grumpy OldMan says:

You lucked out with there not being much if any of a footer on that slab. I'm in the Houston area and am currently digging under my slab to find a slight leak in the water supply line for an outside wall hose bib and the footer for the slab is a good 3 ft deep. So, I have to dig 3 ft to get to the bottom of the footer, another 2 ft (at least) to have room to get under the footer, and then tunnel back up to the bottom of the slab where the copper pipe should be located. And with the clay that we have around here, this is NOT fun. Too old for this crap…

Oh, and lets toss some fire ants in periodically for good measure… 🙁

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