Plumbing Problem! HELP!

So I totally finished my first flip and it is on the market.

My second one is about half done, but my lender had to bail out with about 40k left in renovations.

Unfortunately a few weeks ago my retarded girlfriend flushed industrial strength paper towl down the toilet of the first one (which I am living in while it sells) and now I seem to have a plumbing backup.

Immediately after the flush the backup started so I called my plumber to snake the thing. It seemed to work and for a few days everything was fine.

I just headed down to the bathroom and realized the ground was soaked in water again. The bathtub and other toilet on the same level are filled up as well. Unfortunately it has even spread to an adjoining room (both ground level). Immediately I put towels down, turned off the water to those toilets and dried everything up. I called my plumber and he said he will bring by a plumbing camera to see what is going on.

Is it possible industrial strength paper towel could have done this or does it seem that I may have a much bigger problem. The problem did coincide with the usage of the paper towel, but I just have this terrible feeling it is something worse.

Has anyone had problems like this before and if so how did they turn out? What was the cause/solution?

any responses would be great. Thanks so much as always.

Tree roots in the pipe from the house to the sewer/septic tank is a very common problem, especially in older houses. The paper towels catch on the roots and the ‘wad’ won’t pass. A fiber optic camera will show this almost immediately and tell you where the stoppage is.

Is it a municipal sewer or a septic tank?


Yep, I vote for tree roots too. I expect every single rehabbed property to get backed up toilet lines when they are put in use. IT ALWAYS happens.

If snaking doesn’t cure it, then you may have a collapsed sewer line. A lot of older houses had clay pipes and they corrode, crack, and collapse. Then you dig a ditch and lay a new PVC white piping sewer line. Again, this is real common. I have had to put in 6 or 7 new sewer lines in 5 years. Now it is just one of the things I expect to happen.

Cost of sewer line? Somewhere from $1500 on up depending on length and difficulty of plumbing job.


One side of our apt. building had sinks that were slow to drain or didn’t drain at all. One unit had been occupied by a lady and later the lady’s daughter since the early 90’s. According to them, the kitchen sink had been stopped up the entire time they lived there. The apt. was pretty infamous among several local plumbers as they’d been out there over the years to attempt to fix the drain. Our building is on a slab so it would’ve been a nightmare to pull up carpet, break out concrete, and repair who knows how much damaged line. Our solution came in the form of a sump system with a pump. For about $800 each, the units were repaired and have been working fine ever since.
If you have a crawlspace or basement, the repairs would be much easier. There are people who can trace out and mark where your pipes lay beneath a slab, but the possibility of having to knock out 10-15 ft. of slab made the sump systems more cost effective for us. We have no trees near our property so our assumption was the pipe just collapsed.

It might need a snake from the basement clean-out to the street (if its city sewers).