Does anyone have stories or advice about fixing pipes inside interior walls?
We just had the shower pipe break off inside the wall. (It looks like there was a threaded brass/copper elbow just behind the wall, and the chrome pipe screwed into this.) I assume we're going to have to open the wall up to fix this -- the pipe broke off flush with the elbow, and with most of its threads still stuck inside. The whole assembly sits about 1" behind the wall.
Opening up the wall from the bathroom side isn't desirable -- that entire wall is tiled, and I'd hate to have to repair it. I assume it would be better for us to open up the wall from the other side. That wall is paneled, and the plywood is in good shape.
I'd guess that getting a plumber to carefully open the walls would be near-impossible, so we ought to remove the paneling ourselves. Beyond that, I'm not quite sure what I can reasonably expect a plumber to do.
So, any suggestions on what we'll have to do for this repair? Can a good plumber fix this without opening the wall up?
I wouldn't open any walls until a plumber makes an attempt to remove the end of the old pipe. This may turn out to be a very simple task. The worst things that could happen would be twisting and breaking the fitting behind the wall. Then you open the wall.
Not sure how helpful this will be, but during a bathroom remodel, we had our pipes replaced in a very similar manner to the one you are suggesting (by tearing out the wall on the other side because the bathroom wall was tiled). Our wall had already been replaced with drywall there, so we weren't worried about damage as much. But it did work fine and gave the plumber the access he needed.
A friend just pointed out that the first thing to try is an "internal pipe wrench" which can grip the pipe (or, in my case, the stub of a pipe) on the inside so it can be unscrewed.
Time to go to Orchard Supply...