If there’s one problem that every homeowner dreads, it’s the prospect of discovering faulty or damaged pipes somewhere on their property. Whether it’s a water or sewer line, broken pipes can cause a number of problems if they’re left unattended for too long. Traditionally, the digging required to repair or replace these pipes was a major undertaking that could last for several days and inflict significant property damage. Today, however, trenchless technology allows experienced plumbing contractors to do the same work in a fraction of the time with minimal digging.
While trenchless techniques are becoming much more common, many homeowners question whether they are affordable compared to traditional repair techniques. Here are a few factors worth considering:
The Upfront Costs of Trenchless Vs Traditional Pipe Repair
On paper, traditional sewer pipe repair solutions are slightly less expensive than trenchless repair solutions. As this method of pipe replacement is more common, homeowners typically have many contractors to choose from.
Every project is different, but the average cost of a traditional pipe repair ranges somewhere between $50 and $250 per foot depending on where pipes are located, the pipe materials used, and other related factors. By those figures, a job involving just 10 feet of pipe could cost as much as $500 to $2,500. Most plumbing jobs require much more than 10 feet of pipe, however, and this figure accounts only for the labor and materials used to repair the pipe itself.
The cost of trenchless technologies varies based on the method utilized. Two commonly-used trenchless technologies used for pipe repair/replacement are:
- Lateral Pipe Lining: Sometimes called cured-in-place piping (CIPP), this technology uses existing pipe, adding a layer of epoxy resin to re-line the pipe, repairing cracks and closing gaps to prevent leakage and soil intrusion—basically creating a new pipe within the existing pipe. Costs for lateral pipe lining can range from $80 to $250 per foot.
- Pipe Bursting. This technique uses a pneumatic or hydraulic head that destroys the old, broken pipe and drags in a new pipe to replace it. Pipe bursting tends to be a bit less expensive than lateral pipe lining, with costs ranging between $60 and $200 per foot of pipe replaced.
In a pure, “by the numbers” comparison of costs on paper, the price of traditional repair is less than or equal to that of trenchless repair solutions.
Of course, this superficial comparison doesn’t tell the whole story.
Hidden Costs of Traditional Pipe Repair Vs Trenchless Repair
There are a number of additional costs to consider when making repairs to a pipe that the sticker prices listed above simply don’t cover.
For example, traditional trenching repairs don’t always include the cost of excavating the old pipe. Trenching can cost anywhere between $4 and $12 per foot; if the job is especially complicated, it may even require another contractor to perform the work. Also, if any large, heavy objects are located over the sewer pipes, there may be separate charges for relocating them before and after work is completed.
Even if the price estimate does cover the cost of digging up pipe, it almost certainly won’t include the cost of replacing landscaping after the fact. To repair their yard, homeowners often need to hire a professional landscaper to get things back to the way they were, which could cost thousands of dollars.
When doing repairs for commercial sewer & water pipes, the act of trenching can be extremely disruptive to business operations, blocking off sidewalks, driveways, or signage. If the project drags on for longer than expected, it could result in lost productivity and make it difficult to conduct business altogether.
Trenchless technologies can bypass these costs because they’re minimally invasive. There’s no need to rip up landscaping and sidewalks and these repairs are also completed in as little as a day, resulting in less disruption to businesses.
Taken as a whole, then, trenchless techniques are generally a faster, more cost-effective solution for most residential and commercial pipe repair projects. And since trenchless repairs have an average expected lifespan of 50 years, they can provide lasting peace of mind.
Repairing a broken sewer pipe doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. The first step in addressing the problem is contacting an experienced plumbing contractor familiar with trenchless techniques to assess the situation. At Express Sewer and Drain, we’ve worked hard to establish ourselves as an authority on trenchless pipe replacement in the Sacramento area. To find out whether a trenchless solution is right for your residential or commercial property’s plumbing problems, contact us today.