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Trenchless Sewer Repair Methods: Pipe Bursting vs. Re-Lining

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Sewer repair projects can be a huge headache for homeowners. They can be disruptive, expensive, and time-consuming – but these can all be avoided using the right trenchless sewer repair method.

In this post, we’ll discuss trenchless sewer repair, the different trenchless repair methods and technologies, and which method to choose for your sewer repair.

What is Trenchless Sewer Repair?

Trenchless sewer repair is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a method of sewer repair that replaces a sewer pipe without trenching.

In many cases, trenchless repair is the preferred method of sewer repair. Because trenching does not occur, the repair is less intrusive, more affordable, and offers a quicker turnaround than traditional, open-trenched sewer repairs.

Learn more about Trenchless Sewer Repair »

side by side comparison of trenched sewer repair and trenchless sewer repair

What are the Types of Trenchless Sewer Repair?

Pipe Bursting

Pipe bursting is a trenchless repair method that involves breaking and expanding the existing pipe while simultaneously replacing it with new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes.

This is accomplished by pulling a head, also known as a “bursting head or bullet,” through the old pipe. The head fractures the existing pipe while dragging and laying the new pipe behind it.

diagram of pipe bursting trenchless sewer repair method

Slip Lining

diagram of CIPP pipe lining

Slip lining is a trenchless rehabilitation technique that installs an epoxy liner into an existing sewer lateral. This essentially creates a “pipe within a pipe.” It’s important to note that slip lining is generally not approved by the Bay Area sanitary district authorities.

Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP)

Cured in Place, also referred to as CIPP, is the technical term for slip lining.

A resin-saturated liner is inserted into the existing pipe, which is then expanded and cured into place by heating the liner.

Which to Choose – and When

It’s important to understand which trenchless sewer repair method is the right method for your job. Pipe Bursting is the preferred trenchless sewer repair method for a variety of reasons.

Environmentally-friendly.

Pipe bursting is an environmentally-friendly trenchless sewer repair, especially when compared to other repair methods. Studies have shown that some CIPP projects have released styrene, a hazardous chemical, into stormwater following installation.

Pipe bursting does not require the use of any added chemicals or other contaminants during the trenchless repair process – it simply replaces the existing pipe with environmentally-safe HDPE pipe. Because of HDPE pipe’s long lifespan, pipe bursting also prevents future disturbances to the surrounding environment through additional projects and replacements.

Longer lasting.

Both, slip lining or CIPP result in new pipe within the existing pipe, which reduces the inside diameter of the pipe. Over time, this can significantly shorten the lifespan of your sewer pipes. Pipe bursting replaces the existing pipe entirely and lasts much longer than inserting a “pipe within a pipe.”

Additionally, pipe bursting is done with high-quality HDPE pipe, which has been shown to last more than 100 years. This means a long-lasting, superior product replaces damaged, broken sewer pipes.

Quicker turnaround and Less Disturbance

Pipe bursting can also offer a quick turnaround, especially when compared to CIPP. In some cases, pipe bursting can be done in as quickly as one day. The curing process in CIPP can take as long as 30 hours in some cases, resulting in a much longer repair process. A quick turnaround means a more efficient repair process with less disturbance to your everyday life and the lives of your neighbors.

Other Methods

In some cases, slip lining is simply not an option. Some instances include:

  • The sewer pipe runs underneath the building
  • Heavy root blockages in the pipe
  • Collapsed or severely broken pipe
  • Not being approved by the sanitary district

In these cases, it might be necessary to use alternate methods, including open-trenched sewer repair.

Contacting a Pipe Bursting Professional

Although pipe bursting is a superior trenchless repair method, not all plumbing contractors specialize in this method. This is why it’s important to partner with an expert in the pipe bursting method.

Pipe Spy was the first plumbing company in the Bay Area to take advantage of trenchless sewer line repair. We have become experts in pipe bursting and bring our award-winning service and expert certifications to customers across the Bay area.

Interested in partnering with Pipe Spy for your trenchless sewer repair? Contact our team of experts to see if pipe bursting is an option for you.