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So tonight I was digging a post hole for a new fence tonight. And as I'm digging the hole I hear a hollow thump, crack. Behold:

broken ceramic pipe

This pipe is a downspout drain pipe that runs from the front of my house to the back yard.

So ideas on how to fix it? Can I just put a piece of PVC pipe on top and cover it back up and call it good? I'm worried the PVC will move on top of it over time.


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Get a large diameter PVC pipe, cut it in half lengthwise on a bandsaw so it has a sort of shallow C shape cross section. Clean out the broken bits from the clay pipe and use the PVC pipe to cover the hole. Use some adhesive to keep it in place.

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What type of adhesive? – Trevor May 10 '14 at 14:44
@Trevor an epoxy resin should work but you really just need something that keeps the pvc cover in place while you backfill. It's not like the drain pipe will have a large flow and pressure. If you don't mind digging some more you can just cut out the section of pipe and insert a PVC pipe using those rubber couplers. See youtube.com/watch?v=h0CjCHPkTp0 for instructions. – OrganicLawnDIY May 10 '14 at 16:05

So I called a friend who's a retired contractor and he said:

  1. Don't replace the pipe. You can't buy those anyway. They're 60 years old.
  2. Put a piece of plastic or fabric over it and call it good. You just need dirt to not get in there.
  3. More often than not, drain pipes like this aren't even put together tightly because the idea is that they drain at the joints.

That is all.

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Normally I would:

  1. Dig around the pipe
  2. Cut pipe.
  3. By PVC of the same size.
  4. Install adjustable rubber gasket to merry the two together.

If you don't want to dig out your whole yard (after the break) then you would need a piece of PVC and two gaskets.

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