Cast Iron Drain Pipes

House built in 1969 so these pipes are approximately 47 years old. Do you see this as normal rust or am I being an alarmist if I recommend sewer scope and evaluation by plumber based on age of pipes and ground contact underneath the vapor barrier?

Normal surface rust. Sewer scope is a good idea.

Cast iron deteriorates fastest from the inside out, so even though it might look pretty good on the outside, all best are off as to what it looks like on the inside. Recommend videoscanning, and if you’ve never seen one done and have the opportunity to watch, do it.

Being that it’s 47 years old, you should recommend a scan. When it backs up on them two months after moving in, and the plumber says they are rusted shut and your inspector should have warned you, you’ll wish you did.

Unless one has SewerGard…Ooooooooh. Did I just say that?..LOL

I haven’t looked at it, but if it’s anything like MoldGard, it’s probably useless.

Never seen one rust shut!!! typically is the white rat that got flushed that stops it up. When cast iron is near the fail point from rust it forms a scab or a bubble on the bottom side along the water level height within the pipe and one can observe a droplet of moisture on the scab in reference to piping within a crawl space

PS When they stop up from age it is kitchen grease and calcium buildup not rust

I run a lot of water on my inspections which sometimes reveals drain issues.
I do ask the client to consider a sewer lateral on “older” homes of which we have a lot.
I don’t do them so I don’t feel like I’m pushing another inspection on them, it’s their call.

We have plenty of terracota pipes in the ground here which are all failing.

You guys are all too scary and alarmists. If it looks o.k. like in the pics, then no need to say or write anything. You certainly don’t want real estate agents hating you for life, ruining your professional career, and subsequently causing you to go hungry.

Finally! A voice of reason!..LOL

Ya can look at me and tell I have not missed many meals and I have been at this nigh on to 20 years and I only sleep with one Realtor;-)

Rust OR no rust … Standard Comment

Based on the inspection industry’s definition of a recommended water test for “functional drainage” in a plumbing system, the plumbing drainpipes appear operational at this time. However, only a video-scan of the interior of drainpipes and drain lines can fully confirm their actual condition. When the plumbing system is over 30 years old, cast iron, galvanized, etc, there are slow draining pipes, there are prior known drain problems or there are large trees on the grounds, we recommend having the drain lines “video-scanned” prior to closing. Two local companies that do this are: …

Cast Iron Pipes are the norm in most of the houses I inspect. I see cast iron that is 150 or more years old without any flaws. Most of the time it is a long lasting material that does not “rust shut” like galvanized pipes but it can develop leaks and cracks. I’m posting what a leak looks like and what a crack looks like for your information when looking at them in the future. Exterior surface rust is rarely an indication of anything on the pipes interior.


Thanks for your insight and the defect photos, Alan.