How to Replace a Clay Sewer Pipe

Written by steve sloane
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How to Replace a Clay Sewer Pipe
Replace the broken clay pipe section with PVC pipe. (pvc image by Greg Pickens from

Older households can have sewer pipes made of lead, cast iron or clay. Though clay is no longer accepted by building codes, sections of the broken/fractured clay pipelines can be replaced with PVC pipe and joined together with flexible rubber couplings. PVC pipe comes in diameters ranging from 3.7 to 10 cm (1.5 to 4 inches); it is important to install the same diameter PVC pipe as the existing clay pipe. Installing the new pipe section should not take more than two hours.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Marker pen
  • Tape measure
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Utility knife
  • PVC pipe
  • Handsaw
  • Soapy water and brush
  • Flexible rubber couplings (2)
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Mark the clay sewer pipe 15 cm (6 inches) on each side of the broken area. Cut through the pipe at each mark using a reciprocating saw. Make the cuts straight and perpendicular to the pipe. Remove the broken clay pipe section. Scrape away any clay fragments from the pipe cuts using a utility knife.

  2. 2

    Measure the distance between the two cut pipe ends. Measure and cut a section of PVC pipe to this length -- use a handsaw, circular saw or mitre saw. Scrape away burrs from the cut end.

  3. 3

    Mix soap and water; apply it to both outside ends of the clay pipes with a brush. Push a flexible rubber coupling fully onto each clay pipe end. Position the PVC pipe section between the clay pipe ends and push each rubber coupling half way onto the PVC pipe ends. Each coupling will now be half on the clay pipe and half on the PVC pipe.

  4. 4

    Tighten the metal hose clamps surrounding both ends of each rubber coupling, using a screwdriver.

Tips and warnings

  • After installation of the PVC pipe section, the sewer line can be used straight away.
  • Wear eye goggles when cutting through the PVC pipe.

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