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The DIY Plumbing Hall of Shame

These homeowners should've stopped and called a pro several steps prior to finishing their DIY plumbing projects...

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Sock Purgatory

Well, at least we’ve solved the problem of where those lost socks go. Duct tape alone just wasn’t stopping the leaks.

2 / 34

Wine Cork Plug

At least until you get to the store for a new pop-up drain assembly. Or maybe it’s time to install a new vanity sink.

3 / 34

Leaking Faucet

That’s the definition of “hard water.” On the plus side, the water spraying out should soon melt the icicle. Might be time for a new faucet and maybe to install a freeze detector in the house.

4 / 34

Duct Tape Compression Fittings

What’s weird about this is that it appears that the drain parts are brand new. Installing drain lines and p-traps under a sink doesn’t normally call for duct tape. Bound to be a few plumbing leaks here.

5 / 34

The Rocky Throne

Does something look unsteady in this photo to you? We thought so too. Here’s how to fix this very issue.

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Corrugated-Drain clogged flexible plastic drain linesPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

See-Through Plumbing

We’ve been through this before. Don’t use those stupid flexible plastic drain lines! If you have this kind of plumbing you better learn to how to clear clogged drains.

7 / 34

That’s Not PEX

Here’s a perfect illustration of just about everything that shouldn’t be used for plumbing repair. What do you think? ShooGoo? Regardless, this tops the charts for home inspector nightmares and plumbing fails.

8 / 34

Which Problem Solver Would You Choose?

There are always options when it comes to buying a toilet—some better than others.

9 / 34

Leaking Fill Valve Repair

Once Warren caught the recycle/re-use bug, he just couldn’t stop. Even going to the extent of breaking the fill valve on his toilet for a chance to re-use this plastic container. Might be even smarter to replace the fill valve with a new kit.

10 / 34

Look Closely

And you’ll see a very conveniently located outlet right where it’s needed. There are several things to keep in mind when you’re roughing in the wiring.

11 / 34

A Shower Found in Munchkinland

After mom and dad moved out, the toddlers decided to make the bathroom more user-friendly. But when they grow up they’re gonna have to install a new shower.

12 / 34

Strange Brew

This is some scary stuff! Maybe it’s time for a water quality test. Or maybe it’s time to look into water softeners.

13 / 34

What the Wall Usually Sees

How in the world can a tank get put on backwards? Maybe read the directions the next time you install a new toilet.

14 / 34
Corrugated-drains too many different types of pipesPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Plumbing Bendy Straws

Just because pipes come in all kinds of different shapes doesn’t mean you need to use them all on one job.

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Do NOT look this mess in the eye! You’ll turn to stone! I think these supply lines could be a bit shorter. Plus the water pressure is bound to be affected.

16 / 34

You’re not fully clean unless you’re Zestfully clean!

I don’t think this shower would meet the new low-flow requirements. But it sure makes a nice set of grab bars.

17 / 34

All employees MUST wash their hands before returning to work!

Genius! With this setup, you can wash your hands and your feet at the same time! A small bathroom requires a certain amount of planning.

18 / 34


There are a multitude of things that shouldn’t be put down the toilet. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out what happened here.

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Corey-Cahill-Homemade-Urnial ice cream bucketPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Ice Cream Anyone?

The cheapest, easiest-to-install, urinal on the planet. And no water supply lines required. But next time maybe you should read up on how to plumb a basement bathroom.

20 / 34

Mystery Leak Sealant

Maybe it’s silly putty, maybe plumbers putty, maybe epoxy putty, maybe they should have just fixed the leaks to avoid scary stuff like this.

21 / 34

P-trap Nirvana

Now all I have to do is put in a flex pipe at the wall. To make the drain work, you just lift the sink out and tilt it every which way. There are better ways to connect a sink drain.

22 / 34

When Copper and Steel Collide

And it’s called galvanic corrosion. But it can be prevented if you connect dissimilar pipes the right way.

23 / 34

Who needs a “Pee”-trap?

“See, this way the city can’t monitor the water going down my drain and I don’t get charged for it. And if I’m not feeling like using the toilet, I can just let loose anywhere in the basement!” Yes, it’s true. In order to work properly, a drain actually has to be connected to something.

24 / 34

Don’t Fall for This Trap

Maybe it works maybe it doesn’t. Is the whole system properly vented or not?

25 / 34

So I asked the plumbing guy at the home center….

This is a perfect install if the only use is for flooding your basement. This outdoor sillcock could’ve been thought through a little better.

26 / 34

P-trap, Not Mousetrap

Must’ve been something really tasty plugging up that trap! Better get a new one put on before it starts leaking!
27 / 34

Tank Top

Expecting the toilet to grow sideways, Tom planned ahead. Installing a new toilet was far too much work.

28 / 34

Sump Pump Smarts

It may look smart. But you’re not allowed to run your sump pump discharge into your home’s sewer pipes. This is another example of someone who should study up on the right way to cure a damp basement problem.

29 / 34

Porcelain Throne for the Uninhibited

So much for the one place, a guy can be left alone! Delores wanted to make sure that she could give Ron additions to his to-do list at all times. Time to plan out some bathroom walls.

30 / 34
Improper-Laundry-Sink-DrainPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Speed Bump

Ahhh…the glow of satisfaction from a job well done. Clearly, plumbing and drain installation aren’t for everyone.

31 / 34

Overhead Tub Spout

Yup. The whirlpool tub fills from the upstairs toilet! Genius!

32 / 34

Stick Shift Toilet

So, I sit backwards, project my video game on the tank, and use the flusher as a joystick. Might be time to replace this old beauty.

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floor joist has been cut beneath toiletFamily Handyman

The Plumber’s Solution

This is all too common. The carpenters carelessly placed a floor joist directly under a shower that’s clearly marked on the house plans. And then a plumber goes nuts with a reciprocating saw. If you have manufactured I-joists, never, ever cut the top or bottom flanges!

34 / 34

Rube Goldberg’s Basement

Jeff decided to make it his goal to use every single 2-in. PVC fitting offered at Lowes. Can you imagine how many trips to the home center this took?