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Drain Pipe Repair: Relining Versus Pipe Bursting

“Pipe Bursting versus Pipe Relining: A Brief Comparison”

By Adam Glovan, of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Buncombe & Henderson Counties, NC

Providing long-lasting, quality underground sewer repairs for our customers is the cornerstone of our industry. There are several methods for performing these repairs, which range from tried and true to new and innovative. Two procedures Mr. Rooter Plumbing utilizes most often are pipe bursting and pipe relining.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing took a leap of faith in facilitating the education of local inspectors about pipe bursting in 2006. Asheville area inspectors saw the advantages and approved it for use to repair entire in sewer lines, using HDPE. When the pipe bursting method is used, the end result is brand new HDPE pipe with fusion welded joints. The overall investment to start in pipe bursting is lower than it would be with relining. The material cost for each job is lower. This means the overall job price is less for our customers. If the pipe has lost its integrity (become oval-shaped or crushed), pipe bursting is the only method (of the two methods discussed in this article) which can be pursued. Some draw backs of this procedure are that two access holes are required and it cannot be used under buildings. If there are branches entering the line, each area must be exposed, the branches must be disconnected and then reconnected after the burst is complete. Any information about these procedures has the potential to be area-specific. The wisest approach to take would be to seek information from local municipalities regarding regulations.

In the winter of 2014, Mr. Rooter Plumbing made a decision to invest in relining equipment. We had some experience with the process, as we had subcontracted (to vendors who traveled great distances to bring this service) for relining on past jobs. A project had presented for which relining was the only option and we took this as a sign that it was the time for Mr. Rooter Plumbing to step forward as the innovator in the Asheville area. Our relining equipment type uses an inversion drum and hot water cure system. There are choices to be made when purchasing a system, each option has correlating price and time considerations. Relining can be tricky, so time and opportunity for training are a must. The procedure requires at least two people with ample skill. Relining is not a viable path to repair crushed pipe. The materials can be costly. While it seems daunting, the opportunity to provide an area with relining as an option for sewer line repair should be seriously considered. Laterals can be reinstated without exposing the line. Not many contractors have the ability to perform relining. It is a very versatile repair method with less access requirements, which is very beneficial for jobs involving large concrete areas and intricately manicured landscaping. In the mountains, hills and valleys of Western North Carolina, this can be extremely advantageous!

When it comes to sewer line repair, there is no “always the best” option. Neither of these methods will remove a belly in the line. Research each available technique and choose what is right for your home or business, based on the sewer issue and the makeup of the area in which the repair will be do.

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