A Comprehensive Guide to Trenchless Sewer Pipe Repair



Trenchless sewer repair technology allows plumbers to replace or repair pipes without extensive digging. Unlike traditional dig-and-replace methods, trenchless techniques minimize property damage and restoration costs.

The two main trenchless sewer repair options are slip lining and pipe bursting. Both methods use innovative technologies to repair damaged or aging pipes.

Pipe Lining

Trenchless sewer pipe repair technology allows workers to access pipes without tearing up your yard, driveway, or other outdoor areas. While traditional digging is still used in some cases, there are now much more efficient and effective options. These newer methods include pipe lining and pipe bursting.

In pipelining, experts create a new pipe within the old damaged one using epoxy resin and an absorbent tube made of felt or fiberglass material. This new pipe is stronger than the old one and protects against corrosion. It also allows for a better flow of sewage and stops any leaks that may be occurring.

It differs from pipe bursting, which involves pulling a new pipe through the existing one to fracture and allow easier removal. Pipe bursting requires creating two small access holes at the beginning and end of the current line to insert the new pipe.

If your home has more severe damage to the sewer line that cannot be fixed with pipelining, experts can use a method known as pipe bursting to replace the old, damaged line completely. This method is less invasive than the standard excavation and allows us to quickly replace the entire pipe without disrupting your day-to-day life.

Pipe Bursting

A popular alternative to traditional excavation methods, pipe bursting uses a hydraulic device to break apart and replace aging or damaged sewer lines. This trenchless technology involves digging only two access holes, one at the beginning and one at the end of the sewer line. The specialized “bursting head” is pulled through the old pipes and splits them apart as it expands, pulling new pipes behind it.

This method is incredibly efficient and does the job faster than other repair work. It also reduces the risk of contamination by limiting workers’ time on the ground.

On the other hand, open-top excavating requires large trenches that can cause damage to surrounding structures. It can lead to expensive reconstruction costs for landscaping and other infrastructure. In addition, the dirt that is dug up must be backfilled and compacted to avoid further damage and leaking.

With a more conventional repair process, it can take days to finish the excavation and work on your home’s sewer line. It can disrupt your daily life, and you may only be able to use your plumbing once the repairs are finished. Trenchless repair methods like CIPP can be installed in hours, meaning you can have your plumbing back to normal much sooner.

Pipe Relining

When your pipes show signs of aging, you may need to consider a replacement or repair. Repairing the damaged piping requires digging trenches in your yard to access and have it replaced or repaired, which can be an unpleasant prospect. 

Fortunately, an alternative to this avoids damaging your lawn and garden and minimizes disruption in your home. Pipe relining is an option that involves inserting a new liner into your existing pipe, effectively creating a brand-new one within the old, damaged one. This process is very effective and durable, improving flow, stopping cracks, and preventing leaks.

The lining is typically soaked in resin and then inflated, creating a permanent solution to your pipe issue. It is a practical repair method for broken and root-damaged pipes and works well with clogged drains, as the new liner provides a smooth surface that deposits cannot stick to.

While pipe relining is an excellent choice for replacing and repairing old, cracked, or broken sewer pipes, it is unsuitable for all issues. For example, if your pipes are severely damaged, it would be best to choose the bursting method, as it will tear apart and replace your old pipe with a brand-new one. It is more effective and will be a much more cost-effective and quicker solution to your problem.

Pipe Inspection

If you have a damaged sewer pipe that needs to be replaced, it is possible to do so without trenching. The process is more invasive than pipelining but can be done without digging up floors or walls. Generally, it involves digging a single pit to access the area and installing an entirely new line. It is typically used for sewer laterals (the pipes that connect your home or business to the main sewer lines).

To replace the old pipe, plumbers create an access point at the beginning and end of the old pipe. Then, a specialized head that looks like a giant drill is pulled into the old pipe via a winch. As the powerful bursting head advances, it effortlessly shatters the old pipe and seamlessly replaces it with a new one.

This method, called “pipe bursting,” is an effective way to replace your sewer line while avoiding much property damage. The only caveat is that this method doesn’t fix problems with the structure or routing of your pipes, which can only be resolved through traditional excavation.

Another popular option is cured-in-place pipe (CIPP). In this method, plumbers insert an epoxy-saturated lining directly into your sewer pipe. Then, they leave it to cure for about 24 hours before removing it. This process can repair issues with your old pipe, including cracks, holes, channeling, sagging, and age deterioration.

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