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Over time, even the sturdiest pipe materials give way to rust, corrosion, and wear. By the time you see signs of trouble, the damage is usually extensive. To restore your piping system, the pipes either need to be repaired or replaced. You’ll have to choose which solution is right for your needs: trenchless pipe lining or conventional pipe replacement. For most homeowners, it comes down to the method that’s the most affordable and fastest to complete. Figuring out which is ideal in your situation often depends on what is causing the problem.

Diagnosing the Damage

There are several signs that your sewer pipes are damaged and in need of repair. Sometimes the plumbing keeps flowing smoothly even though there’s a hidden problem. If any of the following signs occur, don’t wait to call a plumber.

  • Sewage Back Up
  • The Odor of Sewer Gas
  • Muddy Yard Without Rain
  • Odor of Mold
  • Lush Patches of Grass in Your Yard
  • Cracks in the Foundation

Pipe camera inspection is the best way to see the damage inside of pipes without disturbing the pipe system. The plumber will insert a small camera into the pipes to determine the source of blockage or damage to the pipe walls. The information gathered from the camera provides the plumbing company with the details they need to diagnose the problem. Although the sewer camera isn’t needed in all cases, it does identify the source of bigger problems. If the damage is significant, you need to make a choice between conventional pipe replacement and trenchless pipe lining.

Types of Sewer Line Damage

If all of your drains are backing up, it may be due to a clogged drain. When efforts to get rid of the clog don’t work, you might need to repair or replace the pipes. The problem might be from a break or rupture in the pipe, which prevents it from flowing accurately. Ruptures can occur as a result of shifting and settling of soil above ground. If there’s been a lot of traffic in the area or you’ve been using heavy equipment, it can lead to ruptured pipes.

Years of waste traveling through sewer pipes result in corrosion. The corrosion can cause damage to the inside of the pipe walls, resulting in breaks. Sometimes it creates channels in the bottom of the pipe that impact the flow. When this happens, the pipe needs to be replaced.

Older pipes made from porous materials like clay are especially vulnerable to tree root infiltration. Tree roots invading and clogging broken sewer lines is a common problem. There are some products available on the market that help to repel roots, but this is just a temporary fix. Plumbers also use water jetting and routing processes to remove the roots. Homeowners sometimes use these techniques to buy more time before they have to replace their pipes. But once the process starts and pipes get damaged, repairing or replacing them is usually inevitable.

Getting the news that you need new sewer drains often comes with worries over the unwelcome expense. Most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover sewer line repairs. That makes it even more important to spend as little as possible.

When you get a quote for both methods of pipe repair, conventional pipe repair appears to be the practical option. It usually costs thousands less than the trenchless alternative. But the initial quote doesn’t include all of your costs. There are several reasons that trenchless pipe lining is the most cost-effective choice. Some plumbers don’t explain your option for trenchless pipelining because they only offer conventional pipe replacement. Make sure you know all of your options before you decide.

What Is Conventional Pipe Replacement?

Basically, it means that you dig up the old pipes and put new ones in their place. An excavator is typically used to dig up the old pipe. Once it is removed, the new pipe is laid into the trench that held the old pipe. Once they place all the pipe into the trench, they will re-connect it on either end. Anything on the ground above the pipes has to be dug up too. That includes your patio, your kids’ playhouse, or even your garage floor.

Pipelining is a trenchless method in that it doesn’t require you to lay the new pipe into the trench. Instead, it creates a new seamless pipe inside of the damaged one. The liner is made of high-grade epoxy, resulting in a permanent solution without creating the mess.

Trenchless pipe lining is often the best, most cost-effective solution for repairing damaged sewage pipes. It’s also the one that’s best for the environment. When you break down the processes, you save time and money every step of the way!


The conventional method of pipe replacement starts with digging. It may only involve the pipes leading from your home or it could include the main sewer line. In case of the latter situation, the project will cost much more. In either case, you can expect to have your driveway, sidewalk, and the road torn up. Some homeowners have to pay the expense of re-routing traffic and repair costs to the road. The excavation process is a necessity before the plumbers can expose the pipes and replace them.

Trenchless pipe lining doesn’t require a major excavation. The plumbers only dig one hole to insert the lining through. The hole can even be dug by hand, so there’s no need for expensive excavation equipment.


During a conventional pipe replacement project, your house is no longer your home. The plumbers must turn your water off throughout the entire repair, leaving you without water for weeks or months. You have to pay to stay somewhere else after the repair, costing you more money and causing a lasting inconvenience to the entire family.

Trenchless is much faster and it’s a project you can live with. The plumbers shut your water off first thing in the morning, then turn it back on at night. You stay at home during your pipe repair and save on outside living expenses.


The damage to the driveway and road during a conventional pipe replacement is bad enough. No one wants to spend weeks or months looking at rubble where their driveway used to be. Once the project is complete, the contractors will repair the driveway, road, and sidewalks they had to dig up. But what about your landscaping? You’ll be left with the costs of restoring that and the repairs to your driveway and sidewalk.

When you choose trenchless pipelining, there’s no cost for repairing your landscape. The plumbers will fill the holes they dig and replace the grass after they finish the repair. At this point, the cost of conventional pipe replacement can reach double the cost of trenchless pipelining.

Repairs to Your Home

Digging trenches isn’t always limited to outdoors. Sometimes the plumbers have to dig inside your home to replace the damaged pipes. That means digging through the structure, the flooring, and walls. If you have to get special materials to match the remaining floor or appliances have to be replaced, this adds thousands of dollars to the cost.

The trenchless process allows plumbers to access and repair pipes inside the home without damaging the structure. The few small holes they dig outside simply need to be filled in and repaired with minimal effort and cost.

Thinking About Doing It Yourself?

If you’re considering doing a conventional pipe replacement yourself to save money, make sure you’re prepared for the job. It’s labor-intensive and requires the right tools. There’s also the potential to make a mistake in the process, resulting in a less-than-adequate repair job. Having to pay to have pipes replaced or repaired on top of the do-it-yourself project could make your pipe repair much more expensive.

Pipe Bursting

Sometimes pipelining isn’t an option, such as when the pipe has lateral joints or it has collapsed. But you may still have a better alternative to conventional pipe replacement if you have room to drag a cable through the existing pipe.

Pipe bursting is another trenchless method of pipe repair that results in a new pipe with fusion-welded joints. Sometimes it works best when there isn’t a good path for the pipelining process. In pipelining, a new pipe forms inside of the existing one. It uses the structure of the old pipe to create a new one that restores its integrity.

Pipe bursting often works best when the pipe has changed shape or is crushed. A bursting head on the cable bursts the old pipe so that the new pipe takes its place. The plumber can advise you on the best method for your situation and your budget.

All plumbers don’t have the equipment or the skills to install trenchless pipelining. Don’t accept the diagnosis that conventional pipe replacement is the only option for you. Contact San Diego Pipelining for professional quality trenchless solutions for any pipe, any time. We’ve worked hard to build a reputation as the most cost-effective, reputable, and technologically advanced pipelining company in the region. Get long-lasting pipe solutions you can trust at the best possible price.