At Impact Plumbing, we get called to properties all over Toronto to investigate sewer and clay drain pipe problems. In Toronto’s complex underground network of pipes, you may be surprised to learn that we still utilize clay pipes for a majority of drains in Toronto. As population and infrastructure increases rapidly in the City, our sewage system can’t keep. The main reason for this is that a majority of Toronto sewers were constructed in the 50’s and have not been upgraded since. This is causing the sewers to overflow and flood basement homes making Back Water Valves a necessity for most Toronto Homes.

Clay pipes are made from a mixture of clay (MUD) and shale (STONES) that has been baked at a high temperature to make it hard. This technology has actually been in use since ancient Babylonia.

Toronto has played its own role in the development and use of baked clay as a building material. Back in 1889 the Don Valley Pressed Brick Works was opened by the Taylor brothers and quickly became one of the largest brick and clay pipe manufacturers in North America. The products were of such good quality that they won prizes at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and the Toronto Industrial Fair in 1894.

The clay they used came right from the Don valley that you drive your car up and down every day. The clay pipes that they made are still being used to this day for a majority of Toronto houses. Can you believe that some of these pipes are up to 100 years old and still in use!

Relying on these pipes to continue working for you is like relying on your 1912’s Ford Model T to start every time for you in the winter.

Photos courtesy of the Toronto Archives

Clay Drain Pipe Problems in 2015

Like all materials made from the natural environment (MUD), clay drains have a life span. It typically ranges from between 40-60 years, at which point it begins to crack, breakdown and disintegrate, slowly returning to its natural form. That means that most of the clay drains currently being used in Toronto are past there life span. This confirms the clay drain pipe problems home owners are experiencing are valid and action needs to be taken.

Clay drain pipe problems:

  • Cracking and splitting
  • Collapsing preventing use of any plumbing in the house
  • Unable to take a lot of ground pressure
  • Invasion of tree roots
  • Neglected and not cleaned for a long time
  • Faulty construction or lack of support
  • Leaking from multiple joints
  • Contaminating the natural environment

Common signs of clay drain pipe problems:

  • Gurgling noises from the toilet or tub.
  • Water on the floor around floor drain.
  • No water in the toilet.
  • A bathtub that won’t drain or drains very slowly.
  • Sewage backing up in your toilet and/or tub.
  • Odor in the basement or yard
    • This means that sewage might not be making it out to the city sewer line!!  A major health hazard.


It is advisable to replace any section of clay drain right away as waiting for a major problem will ensure a major headache both financially and emotionally. At Impact Plumbing we come prepared to properly inspect your drains with some of the best technology. We always suggest getting your drains inspected with a drain cam as this provides a clear picture to both the plumber and home owner of any clay drain pipe problems.

Contact Impact Plumbing today for a clay drain pipe inspection appointment or call 24/7 for clay drain pipe problems or emergencies.

Call impact plumbing today: We crush Clay!