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The Step-By-Step Process of Sewer Pipe Lining Explained

A video inspection of your pipes determines the best trenchless repair option. We then prepare your pipes for lining by cleaning out blockages and roots. Next, a felt liner imbued with epoxy resin is inserted into your old pipe via a maintenance hole. A bladder is inflated to force the liner against the walls of your pipe, causing it to take shape.

Inspection

The network of pipes that ferry wastewater to and from your home can become damaged over time, causing sewage to leak into the ground or back up into your plumbing. This can lead to reduced water pressure, overflows, and even flooding. Fortunately, sewer pipe relining can often restore functionality to damaged pipes without excavation and replacement.

To begin the relining process, technicians run a high-resolution camera down your sewer line to locate and pinpoint the problem. They then remove any obstructions blocking your line. This may include debris washed down the drain, tree roots, or other objects. Once the line is clear, technicians measure the size of your pipe to determine how much pipe liner and resin mixture to use.

Once the sewer pipe lining process is complete, workers insert the new liner into your existing pipe. A calibration tube is sent close behind the lining with a yellow cord attached. This will be used later to pull the lining out, ensuring it is set correctly.

Then, steam is forced into the liner to push it against the existing pipes and force it to take shape, filling in cracks and holes. You may notice a smell during this process caused by chemicals in the liner resin. Once the lining has cured, you can resume normal sewer and water use.

Preparation

Pipe lining is a trenchless sewer repair method that creates a new pipe inside the old one. It repairs cracks, small holes, and general wear and tear. But it’s not a solution for bigger issues like structural damage or clogs from more extensive root growth.

First, a certified technician will run a camera through the pipes and identify where the problem areas are. Then, they’ll prepare the existing pipes for lining by thoroughly cleaning them. This can be done with hydro-jetting or a dry mechanical method that uses spinning chains to remove debris and scale. The cleaned pipes are then inflated with an air bladder to help the epoxy liner take shape. It’s a quick and efficient process that can usually be finished within hours.

After the liner is cured, it’s time to install it in your existing pipes. This is a relatively simple process, but it does require creating access points to feed the liner in and pull it out at the other end. Limiting water use on the property is also important to prevent your private sewer connections from backflowing into your home during this time.

CIPP can be used in various pipes, including clay tile, ABS plastic, PVC, and concrete drains. However, it’s not effective in corroded or damaged steel pipes. The liner will also reduce the overall pipe size by about an eighth of an inch, but this is generally not a big deal.

Lining

Unlike pipe coating, which brushes epoxy over a damaged surface, the lining process puts a new pipe inside your old one. This creates an extremely durable pipe that is resistant to corrosion or cracking. It will also stop tree roots from poking through and can fill in holes or missing sections of a pipe.

This is a relatively quick process as well. After the liner is inserted into the pipe, a rubber bladder inside it will be expanded with steam to adhere to the walls of your existing sewer pipes. It may take some time for the lining to cure fully, but once it does, you have a brand-new pipe within your old sewer system that can last decades.

While lining is an effective solution for most situations, there are some cases where it won’t work. If a pipe is too badly damaged or has issues like sagging or bellying, then replacing the entire pipe with another method will likely be necessary. However, this could be the perfect solution if the only problem is a small crack or hole. This method is cheaper and less disruptive to your property than digging and replacing an entire sewer line. It will also extend the lifespan of your existing piping and save you money in maintenance costs down the road.

Installation

If a section of your sewer line is damaged beyond repair, you may need to choose a more invasive pipe relining method. This is when the plumber will need to dig a new tunnel to replace your existing line. It is a more involved process but will provide you with a new pipe that will last for decades.

Pipelining, also known as cured-in-place pipe (or CIPP), involves a unique epoxy-impregnated liner inserted into your old damaged pipes and cured by heat or steam. This allows you to avoid replacing your entire sewer line and can save you thousands of dollars in plumbing fees.

During this process, a bypass system must be set up to re-route wastewater from the affected area to other areas of your sewer system until the liner can cure completely. During the curing process, no water must be run or flushed down the drains, as this can damage the liner. After the liner has cured, your plumber will install and reinstate any service lateral connections covered by the liner.

Another method of trenchless sewer replacement is called pipe bursting. With this method, your plumber will need to dig two access holes at the beginning and end of the affected section of the pipe. They will then insert a specialized head that uses hydraulic power to break apart or “burst” your old damaged pipe while drawing a brand-new pipeline behind it.

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