Last summer we had a sewer smell and an epidemic of sewer flies in the basement. There was no backup of water or sewage to indicate a blockage - just an odor and a lot of pforish flies. We called a plumbing company which sent someone out to rout the main drainpipe and examine it with a camera. Although there were no cracks detected in the pipe, he said there were "rocks" in the line and recommended bringing in a jetter. The next day the drain was jetted. Immediately afterward the plumbing contractor said we needed to excavate the entire drainpipe, out to the street (tearing out walls, paneling, putting a hole in the foundation, etc.) at a minimum cost of $20K. We decided to wait to see what effect the jetting had. Meanwhile, the plumber left in a huff saying, "Don't have any big parties." We noticed that the concrete around the stack in the basement was cracked as a result of the vibration from the routing and jetting and the floor around the drain was seeping as a result. We removed the cracked concrete from around the stack. How do we fill the gap between the floor and the stack? The house is about 85 years old, as are the other homes in our historic neighborhood. I can attach a photograph enter image description here

1 Answer 1


The right way to do it is dig out and repour the concrete in the area. This isn't that hard or expensive.

If you want just a stopgap until you decide what you are doing with your main line then you could get a bucket of hydraulic cement and patch over the existing concrete. The cracked concrete should not be affecting your stack - hopefully - so this is really a different issue than your plumbing problem.

  • 1
    Any reason you think grout / hydraulic cement isn't an appropriate long-term solution? Based on the relatively small amount of concrete I can't see how there are any structural concerns.
    – Hank
    Feb 9, 2014 at 23:29
  • @HenryJackson - I guess that main issue I have with hyrdaulic cement here is the moisture that I see. Also I don't see it binding well due to the moisture and the fact the stack area doesn't seem clean. I just want the OP to understand that the hydraulic cement might not look perfect in a few years... would I personally care about that? only if buying that house.
    – DMoore
    Feb 10, 2014 at 5:18
  • Considering that no cracks were found in the drain, you could have a venting problem. That could explain the smell and the flies having access to your basement. Some folks (me included) run a water hose down the roof vent pipe to clean out vent pipe obstructions). Don't fill in the area around the pipe yet. Wait until the smell is gone. Also, it sounds like the high pressure water jetting dislodged some sealant at the pipe joints. You'll want to reseal any leaking pipes before filling with cement. And whatever you do, don't let those guys near your house again.
    – getterdun
    Feb 11, 2014 at 1:08

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