How to Choose A Trenchless Pipe Replace Professional

The Pros and Cons of Trenchless Pipe Replacement


Trenchless sewage line pipe replacement can be done in one of two ways: pipe lining or pipe bursting. With pipe lining, a small, flexible, resin-coated tube is slid into the damaged pipe, then it is inflated (like the balloons that clowns shape into animals). After several hours, the tube hardens and creates a new, undamaged pipe. This pipe is slightly smaller in diameter, but shouldn’t affect the overall flow rate of the sewer. The other trenchless method, pipe bursting, is a process that pulls a completely new pipe into the old one, which fractures outward from the pressure.


There are a few obvious advantages to a trenchless method. Because there is less digging, the process is usually cheaper. With traditional methods, anywhere the line runs must be dug up, and this can include landscaping and even driveways and garages. The digging used in trenchless methods is minimal and unobtrusive. As far as durability goes, either method generally comes with a warranty of up to 50 years.


Pipe bursting and lining are not possible in all circumstances. In some places, pipe bursting is illegal, and in other instances, the joints of the pipe make these techniques impossible. In many cases, extra efforts must be taken to make sure that electrical and gas lines will be unaffected by the process, and this can lead to higher labor costs. Also, it may be harder to find plumbing experts who specialize or are trained in these methods.

List of the Pros of Trenchless Sewer Repair

It saves time when compared to the traditional access methods.
Technicians using the trench technique would spend several hours digging out around the damaged sewer line. Then several more hours to fill the trench back in were required before the repair was complete. That doesn’t include the time necessary to complete the fix in the first place. Not only does the trenchless sewer repair technique take much less time, but it also requires fewer workers to be involved with the project. Companies providing this service get a lot more done with less labor, boosting their profit margins.

It reduces consumer inconvenience during the repair process.
When a sewer line is compromised for homeowners, they no longer can use their home’s water system until technicians complete the repair. That means the occupants of the property must either haul all their water supplies in manually, then remove them the same way, or relocate to a different property until the project is finished. Before trenchless sewer repair, that could mean 7-14 days away from home. Now many repairs happen in 24-48 hours because there is such a substantial reduction in prep time.

It saves the landscaping of the homeowner.
Sewer line repairs require underground access, which means the landscaping along the pipe must be removed for the work to be done. That could cost homeowners thousands of dollars, depending on what was in the way of the repair technicians. Although a couple of holes must still be dug to access the line when performing trenchless sewer repair, there is much less damage to repair to the lawn, landscaping, or garden after the work is complete. The customer’s property gets back to normal faster and with fewer disruptions.

List of the Cons of Trenchless Sewer Repair

It may not be covered by homeowners’ insurance.
The property damage caused by a broken or clogged sewer line is not usually covered by the standard homeowners’ policy. Repairs required because of tree root penetration are not usually covered either. If you haven’t needed to worry about a sewer line repair yet, then check your policy to see if special insurance requirements, or a rider to your policy, is required for this cost to be covered. Nothing is worse than having an expensive repair to fund straight from your own pocket.

It may require work on clogs outside of the property line.
The typical urban sewage system connects the house to the public sewer main through the use of two pipes: the upper lateral and the lower lateral. The lower portion of this connection often falls outside of the property line. Should a clog occur there, many communities require the property owner to maintain and repair the connection. The city would only work on the public sewer main when issues occur there.

You must review all the paperwork included with your mortgage and housing contract with the city to understand who is responsible for what repairs outside of the property line, but still benefits your home. The cost of repairing a lower lateral issue can be upward of $50,000 using traditional repair methods.

It can sometimes be more expensive to use a trenchless repair technique.
The trenchless sewer repair technique does not work well when you have a lateral pipe that doesn’t sit below your driveway or expensive landscaping. You might find that older pipes with joints, or a collapsed pipe, could cause the costs of this repair option to be much higher than the traditional service. There is only one way to determine which option is best for your specific situation: through a professional evaluation of your problem.

Pipe Lining Can Last 50 Years or More

Most pipe lining is insured for 50 years, so that should give you an idea of how long you can expect to have the new lining in the pipe to last. The warranty covers 50 years, but the lining can last longer than this, even to around a hundred years. This is basically doubling the lifespan of the pipeline that was already in place.

Pipe Bursting Has Similar Longevity

CIPP isn’t the only way we can repair a damaged pipe. Instead of putting in a liner that seals along the inside of the older pipe, we can slide a new pipe inside the older one and then use a burster to expand the new pipeline outward to replace the older pipeline by shattering it. This service is useful for smaller diameter pipes, which aren’t as well suited to CIPP. The new pipe also has a 50-year warranty and a similar lifespan expectancy.

Which One Is Better?

This isn’t a situation where you have to worry about making a choice. Our technicians will determine which of the two is right for your situation after making an evaluation. Both have similar advantages (non-invasive, fast, long-lasting) and can be used with a range of pre-existing piping materials.

Factors That Determine The Time It Takes To Perform A Sewer Repair

The location where the clog occurred: There are specific locations of the pipe that are more difficult to access than others. As an example, typically a repair under your front yard is easier than  repair in a busy roadway. This can make the job vary from only 1/2 a day, to 2 to 4 days if in a busy roadway.

The age of your pipes: The age of your pipes can increase the length of time it takes to repair the pipe. The older the pipe, the more chance for complications, or the need for a more extensive repair.

The type of damage the clog has caused: Different types of damages can occur, and these damages will all require a different approach and repair method. For instance, grease stoppages may be able to be cleared using a sewer jet, alleviating any need for excavation. While a backpitched sewer line may need a complete replacement, which could take 3 to 5 days.

How to Dig a Trench for a Sewer Line Replacement

Digging a trench down to your sewer line is mostly just a matter of hard work. It is not technically difficult, but it can be extremely demanding physically. One adult in reasonably good shape may expect to dig a sewer trench 4 feet deep by 8 feet long by 3 feet wide in one weekend of long workdays. This estimate is based on the assumption that you have loose soil with a moderate number of roots to cut through. Clay or densely packed soil, as well as the presence of many large roots, can increase digging time significantly.

Cold climates can present additional complications. In these areas, the depth of the sewer pipe can be quite deep because the frost line (the depth the ground freezes in winter) may be 4 feet or more below the surface. Also, if your sewer line fails in winter, you are faced with the difficult task of breaking through frozen ground in freezing temperatures. This may be impossible to do by hand, and you may need to call in for earth-moving equipment.