How to Cut Cast Iron Pipes – Plumbing and Home Remodeling




Click on this link if you’re interested in learning more about plumbing, home remodeling and building design. Watch this video to find out how to cut a cast iron plumbing pipe. The most important tip I could get anyone, while remodeling a bathroom or doing any plumbing repairs on an old house is to make sure, there isn’t any dirt around the pipe, while you’re cutting. Dirt will dull practically every saw blade, I can think of. For more interesting tips and ideas, visit the rest of our websites today.

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19 Comments

  1. cns688
    April 15, 2012
    Reply

    Wrong.

    The vibration from a sawzall will most likely cause cracks in a cast iron pipe to that will get bigger over time leaving a leak that can become a serious problem especially underground.

  2. gregvancom
    April 17, 2012
    Reply

    I didn't know that. I've been doing this for years and never realized cast-iron was that delicate. I guess this provides us with another reason to avoid using it. Thanks for the comment and this is how we all learn.

  3. lostc0z
    April 19, 2012
    Reply

    Lenox & Milwaukee & other blade manufactures do sell abrasive blades; one carbide the other diamond. They CUT CAST IRON AS is THEIR INTENDED PURPOSE as well as ceramic tile, red clay pipe, brick, stone, etc. And you DON'T REST THE SHOE of the reciprocating saw against the material because of the vibrations…unless you trust the strength of the material. The grit is of such a fine grade their is not much of a tug lest you twist the tool of center or if the pipe pinches the blade.

  4. gregvancom
    May 1, 2012
    Reply

    Thanks for the comment. Have you ever seen any damage to a cast-iron pipe, from a sawzall and I don't mean by someone throwing the saw at it. Just kidding. I'm just wondering if there's a video out there on the subject or even an article with pictures.

  5. gregvancom
    October 16, 2012
    Reply

    Isn't the grinder little messy, what happens when you slip or it binds and sends the grinder into the dirt, throwing a bunch of crap in your face. The grinder seems like it could vibrate also, possibly cracking the pipe. I've never had a problem with a sawzall, but have heard plenty of comments from plumbers who don't agree with my video.

  6. FuriusJorge
    January 28, 2013
    Reply

    GregV: Thanks for posting. My kid rammed one of those water bladder clog blasters you put on the end of a water hose down a vent stack & the rubber dick part is stuck down the 2" vent pipe somewhere down in the slab. Completely ripped out of the hose attachment & gotta figure out how to get the damn thing out.

    I'm not a plumber by any stretch but I know how to tear things up pretty well!

    Thought about using a disk grinder but then saw your vid & went with a diamond blade. 6-8 minutes.

  7. FuriusJorge
    January 28, 2013
    Reply

    At this point I'm inside the wall looking down the pipe, (washer drain about 2 feet above slab), but still can't see anything due to water. If I can't hook it & drag it out I've actually toyed with the idea of putting a shop vac on the cleanouts in the backyard to suck air into that pipe & then trying to burn the rubber out since it's down in the slab.

    Any corrosives that'll eat that rubber that won't destroy the pipe in the slab? Smart answer is rooter snake but I'm broke.

  8. FuriusJorge
    January 28, 2013
    Reply

    Chain cutter is probably the most professional way & cleanest but I didn't have the clearance or workspace much less the tools, (I'm not a plumber), so it was either disk grinder or sawzall method.

    If cutting a vertical vent just remember when you're most of the way through to wedge the cut open so your blade doesn't bind.

  9. FuriusJorge
    January 28, 2013
    Reply

    If I cant hook the rubber crap & drag it out I may use a brass sprayer tip on a water hose for an extension for a propane/oxy rig & just burn the damn thing out right there down in the slab.

  10. gregvancom
    January 28, 2013
    Reply

    Thanks for the input and you're absolutely right about the vertical vent pipes. Another thing I would like to add is that some of these pipes are extremely heavy and if you're not paying attention, you could be risking your own safety, cutting them with practically any tool.

  11. cooldog60
    March 13, 2013
    Reply

    How long did it take to cut it?

  12. gregvancom
    March 18, 2013
    Reply

    I took my time and realistically it probably took less than 2 minutes.

  13. johndebc
    May 30, 2013
    Reply

    I had great success using this blade: MILWAUKEE 48-00-5093 8/12 TOOTH 8" SAWZALL BLADE. Bought a pack of 5 for $15.99. It took one blade per cut through a 4" cast iron pipe, about 4-5 minutes/cut. This blade has a variable number of teeth along the blade, from 8-12 per inch. Milwaukee lists the following as suitable materials to cut with this blade: All purpose blade for cutting all woods, nail embedded woods, composition material, plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and [[cast iron]].

  14. johndebc
    May 30, 2013
    Reply

    Foolish until you are working with a horizontal pipe between floor joists that breaks with a snap cutter on the bottom of the pipe because it has rotted thinner. My snap cutter worked fine on the vertical pipe, but the MILWAUKEE 48-00-5093 8/12 TOOTH 8" SAWZALL BLADE made quick work of two horizontal cuts, 4-5 mins/cut. And if you don't want to rent/buy a snap cutter and have just a few cuts, this is the way to go.

  15. gregvancom
    May 31, 2013
    Reply

    Sometimes the right tool for the right job is actually going to be the right tool and it will be up to us to figure out what that tool is actually going to be.

  16. sunnylandcamper
    November 14, 2013
    Reply

    thanks for the info….saws all it is…..oh boy,lol 

  17. pei broker
    March 16, 2015
    Reply

    Question:  cast iron pipe going to septic tank  broke and fell a few inches so the cast iron pipes are not lined up, can I still use rubber couplings with a piece of abs to connect the 2 pipes if i use 45 degree or 221/2 degree elbows to make up for the plane difference? thanks…

  18. gregvancom
    March 16, 2015
    Reply

    This message is for pei bossman. For whatever reason every once in a while there is no reply button on YouTube. You can use rubber couplings and ABS as an alternative to cast-iron pipes and fittings as far as I know. The only reason why I'm saying as far as I know is because I'm pretty sure somewhere on the planet you're probably not allowed to.

  19. obsolete professor
    December 20, 2016
    Reply

    I've had good luck using a 4-1/2 grinder.. especially if one end of the pipe is going to be a throwaway You grind through and make yourself a "window" large enough to clear the grinder as the wheel will only penetrate one wall.. plus the wheel just wears away. Try and go across as perpendicular as you can as it will lessen the work you will need for a nice flush trim cut. I had a job on a rental where I removed the kitchen cabinet and jack hammered out about a 2 foot wide x 6 foot "window". The bathroom was on the other side of the wall and it was really nice that I was able to replumb all the drainage in the unit just by making only one hole. After I plumbed it and repack the dirt as best as I could I repoured the concrete and the patch was hidden when I reinstalled the cabinet.

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