A previous owner of my house installed a 1/2" copper tube gas line through the basement wall beneath ground level to install a grill, which an owner after him removed, leaving the line buried. I found the buried portion of the line when I accidentally hit it with a pick while digging a French drain. Long story short, I now have removed all of the gas line except the portion stuck in the wall.

I avoided crushing the part of the tube inside the basement:

Front view of copper tube in wall

Side view of copper tube in wall

The outer part didn't fare so well, it twisted and crushed while attempting to pull the line through to the outside:

View of crushed copper pipe sticking out of foundation

At this point, I just want to make sure that water and bugs can't come in through this hole. Having a flat wall as a result would be a plus but isn't strictly necessary. Complete removal also isn't strictly necessary. I can think of 3 options:

  1. Cap the inner part of the tube and leave the outer part as it is, or try to crush it into a crimped end. This doesn't leave me with a flat wall, and the tube may fill with water from the outside, but at least none of it will come into the basement and none of it should be able to get into the wall either unless there's a crack in the tube where it's encased in concrete.

  2. Cut the inner portion flush with the wall and fill the tube with something. Could be a little difficult to get the filling material down to the outer end, but not the end of the world.

  3. Drill out the tube and fill the hole. This would be the cleanest look, but the most work. On top of that, the length of the remaining tube is about 2 feet and I don't know if I could get away with drilling only the tube using a metal cutting bit, or if I would need to remove some concrete too with a masonry bit (in which case I would expect the copper to interfere).

Is there a way this is normally done? The closest process I could find to this is "pipe abandonment" which normally consists of filling an underground pipe with cement, but I only see pipe abandonment mentioned when talking about industrial or commercial-scale pipes.

  • No difference, use the industrial/commercial solution. Fill both ends with hydraulic cement, if you couldn't push through from one end. – r13 Apr 17 at 22:04
  • You may want to caulk around and over the exterior side. That will prevent water getting into the wall as well as the pipe. Once it gets inside the wall ... . – HABO Apr 17 at 23:46
  • If you use caulk, I've noticed recently that not all caulk sticks to copper. – K H Apr 18 at 4:49
  • Any chance you could cut the pipe flush, and then drive it at least partway through the wall with 3 pound sledge, and a piece of steel appropriately sized used as a pusher? – Steve Sether Apr 18 at 16:02
  • @SteveSether I tried this with some 3/8" rebar (the ridges on the sides make it too large to go into the tube) with the ridges filed off at the tip so it would just barely seat into the opening. It ended up just wedging itself deeper and deeper in there until I was worried it was going to crack the block. I had to get it out with a large crowbar. Looks like I'll be trying to fill it with hydraulic cement. I'm going to use a mortar piping bag to "pump" it into the hole. – zaen Apr 19 at 22:03

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