In the past 15 years, trenchless methods for repairing sewer lines have become more popular. However, before committing to trenchless sewer repair, a homeowner should carefully evaluate the benefits and risks. A properly licensed contractor should evaluate the system with a video camera and advise on the best procedure.

Overview of Trenchless Methods

There are two main strategies for fixing sewer lines without undertaking a major excavation project. In the first method, pipe lining, a flexible tube coated with epoxy resin is blown into the damaged pipe and then cured in place. The lining reduces the pipe diameter slightly. The second method, pipe bursting, involves pulling a new pipe through the old pipe while at the same time cracking the old pipe with a pipe bursting head. The replacement pipe can be the same diameter or larger than the existing pipe.

Pros of Trenchless Methods

Trenchless procedures often take less than a day to complete. They are less cumbersome than traditional projects that require digging up lawns and driveways. The resulting repairs are seamless, corrosion resistant, and durable. Traditional repairs often have thousands of dollars in associated costs from the excavations. In some cases, homeowners not only have to pay to restore lawns and driveways, but also have to pay the costs of digging up a nearby road.

Cons of Trenchless Methods

Some localities place restrictions on pipe lining or pipe bursting repairs. Homeowners should work with a contractor who fully understands local laws and regulations. The contractor also needs to map all utilities in the area before digging or bursting pipes. Burst pipes could damage nearby gas and water lines.   

A trenchless alternative to traditional sewer line replacement could save homeowners time and money. However, a homeowner should first insist on a proper diagnosis of the problem from a reputable contractor. The homeowner should also check local laws and regulations.