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Trenchless Sewer Repair: A Guide for Homeowners


Traditionally, sewer repair and replacement involved a lot of invasive digging and hours of intensive labor. But throughout the 1990s and 2000s, a new sewer repair and replacement technology gained ground — trenchless sewer repair. Also known as “no-dig sewer repair”, this approach is faster, more affordable, and far less destructive than digging out the whole pipe.

You might be wondering how plumbers can replace all or part of a sewer mainline without any digging. It’s important to note that some digging is involved to access the ends of the damaged pipes. Fortunately, any holes dug will usually be small enough to fill in the same day.

How does trenchless sewer repair work? What are the pros and cons? Are there any issues that trenchless sewer repair can’t handle? Let’s take a look.

How does trenchless sewer repair work?

There are two types of trenchless sewer repair: pipe bursting and pipe relining. Pipe bursting involves splitting open the existing pipe and threading the new pipe through the old. Pipe relining uses a durable epoxy resin to seal and strengthen the existing pipe.

Pipe bursting is often the method of choice for replacing brittle pipes or those made out of old and potentially toxic materials like clay and asbestos.

Pipe relining involves sealing the inner sections of a weakened pipe with a strong epoxy resin. The resin is then cured to provide maximum durability to the resealed pipe. This cured resin lining can extend the pipe’s lifespan by up to 50 years and is fully leakproof.

After your technician conducts a video inspection of your pipes to determine the problem, they’ll schedule the repair and get to work. The process varies depending on the method used. Digging small holes will be required to expose the ends of the damaged pipe. Pipe relining typically only requires one hole. Pipe bursting requires two or more, depending on the number of pipes that need replacing.

How do I know which type of trenchless sewer repair I need?

Once your video inspection is complete, your technician will recommend the appropriate technique. Generally, pipe bursting is recommended for damaged pipes for which replacement would be cheaper or longer-lasting than a repair. These include broken or improperly installed pipes well as those with offset joints. Pipe relining is a good choice for pipes of sound structural integrity with light damage like small fractures or cracks.

Pros of trenchless sewer repair

The pros of trenchless sewer repair compared to traditional digging far outweigh the cons. Let’s take a look.

  • High-quality, state-of-the-art materials. We use hydraulic pipe bursting technology to minimize digging and finish the job as quickly as possible.
  • Fast and efficient replacement. Our modern technology drastically reduces labor times and costs, which means your pipes are repaired or replaced as quickly as the same day.
  • Less damage to your home and yard. Long gone are the days of digging up driveways and hedges to get down to the pipes. We’ll only dig to expose each end of the pipe that needs replacing or relining, and we’ll clean up after ourselves when we’re done. (It’ll be like we were never there!)
  • Eco-friendly. Extensive digging isn’t just a nuisance for homeowners — it also damages the environment. Digging up sewer lines can destroy native plants and habitats for wildlife and cause soil erosion. Trenchless sewer repair also requires fewer power tools that can stir up dust and debris in the air.

Cons of trenchless sewer repair

Trenchless sewer repair is one of the most efficient sewer repair and replacement methods out there. But — there’s always a but! — there is one major disadvantage. Trenchless sewer repair might not be enough to repair pipes beyond rehabilitation. Significantly aged or corroded pipes will require a trenched repair, which involves the extensive digging most homeowners envision when they picture a sewer repair.

Additionally, pipe relining may not be suitable for some pipes, like Orangeburg pipes or small pipes.

Regular maintenance is essential to diagnose pipe damage early and prevent it from snowballing into a major repair.

Contact us today with all your sewer repair and replacement needs

Get in touch if you have any questions about sewer maintenance, repairs, or replacement. Just one call is all you need to discover why Phoenix homeowners trust us again and again with repair jobs big and small!

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