Trenchless Sewer Repair in Houston, TX | Nick's Plumbing

Trenchless Sewer Repair in Houston

We ask a lot from our drain and sewer pipes and rarely give them a second thought until we find ourselves standing in ankle-deep shower water. Or worse.

We can often tell when there is a problem with our home’s drain or sewer lines, right? Somehow, they can alert us to many potential drainage issues with gurgling noises in our tubs and sinks, endlessly clogged toilets, horrible odors emitting from random pipes, and raw sewage backed up into the shower stall…you get the idea. I didn’t say the signs were pretty; they just needed to be pointed out.  

Sometimes, It’s More Than Just a Drain Clog

Our drain and sewer line plumbing takes a beating daily, not only from the assault of what we put into our drains but also the toll nature can take on a sewer line. Buried deep underground in an almost always moist area—thanks to the condensation from the pipe itself—your sewer line is susceptible to soil shifting following heavy rainfalls or, conversely, from a lack of rainfall. 

Due to a lack of proper support, soil erosion issues can contribute to a sewer line “belly” or sag forming in the middle of a sewer line. The bellied section of the sewer line sits lower than the line itself, making it more difficult for the wastewater to clear the bellied section of the line. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that everything that gets put down our drains ends up in our sewer pipes. Soap, shampoo residue, dirt and hair from our bathtubs and showers, cooking grease, and food waste from our garbage disposals, and let’s not even discuss what comes from our toilets. 

All that abuse from regular use over a span of decades begins to take its toll on sewer lines after 40 or 50 years. Until recently, the only solution to a broken sewer line was a complete replacement, which involves what we call “open yard surgery,” where your yard is excavated from one end of the sewer line to the other to replace the line. That doesn’t have to be the case anymore. 

Thanks to trenchless sewer line repair techniques, it is possible to repair your sewer line—even if it’s broken in more than one place—without the mess, expense, and inconvenience of open yard surgery! 

What is Trenchless Sewer Line Repair?

Trenchless sewer repair, also known as trenchless pipe replacement, is used to repair or replace underground sewer pipes without requiring extensive excavation. Instead of digging large trenches to access the damaged pipe, trenchless techniques involve creating small access points at the beginning and end of the pipe section needing repair.

What Methods of Trenchless Sewer Line Repair are Available? 


Two primary trenchless sewer repair methods currently in use are pipe re-lining, also called CIPP (for Cured in Place Pipe), and pipe bursting. 

Sewer Pipe Re-Lining – the CIPP Method

Cured-In-Place Pipe (CIPP) lining is a revolutionary trenchless technology used to repair damaged or deteriorating sewer pipes without requiring extensive excavation. The CIPP process begins with a thorough inspection of the sewer line using advanced camera technology to assess the extent of damage and identify any blockages or obstructions. Once the assessment is complete, a flexible resin-saturated liner is inserted into the existing pipe through small access points, such as cleanouts or manholes.

Next, the liner is inflated and pressed against the interior walls of the old pipe, conforming to its shape and sealing off any cracks, leaks, or corrosion. Steam or ultraviolet light is then used to cure the resin, hardening it into a durable, seamless pipe within the existing one. 

The cured liner effectively restores the structural integrity of the sewer line, providing a long-lasting solution that eliminates the need for costly and disruptive excavation. CIPP lining is ideal for repairing minor to moderate damage, including cracks, leaks, root intrusion, and corrosion, and it can be completed in a fraction of the time compared to traditional repair methods.

Sewer Pipe Bursting Repair Method

Sewer pipe bursting is a trenchless method to replace old or damaged sewer pipes with minimal disruption to the surrounding area. The process begins with inserting a bursting head into the sewer line through small access points, typically dug at either end of the pipe. The bursting head is equipped with a special cutting tool that breaks apart the old pipe as it is pulled through the line. At the same time, a new, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe is simultaneously pulled through the existing pipe’s path, effectively replacing it.

Once the new pipe is in place, it is connected to the existing sewer system at both ends, and any necessary fittings or connections are installed. Sewer pipe bursting is an efficient and cost-effective method for replacing old or damaged sewer lines without requiring extensive excavation. It is handy in areas where traditional excavation methods are impractical or disruptive, such as under roads, driveways, or buildings. 

Additionally, sewer pipe bursting results in a durable, long-lasting replacement pipe resistant to corrosion, root intrusion, and other common sewer line issues, ensuring years of reliable performance.

Is Sewer Pipe Relining or Pipe Bursting Right for Every Home? 

While both CIPP and pipe bursting are effective trenchless methods for repairing or replacing sewer lines in many situations, they may not be suitable for every home or scenario. Homes with severely collapsed (bellied) or misaligned sewer pipes, extensive root intrusion, or significant structural damage may require a complete sewer line replacement instead. In such cases, traditional excavation methods are often necessary to access and replace the damaged sewer line entirely.

Complete sewer line replacement involves excavating the old pipe and installing a new sewer line in its place. While this method may be more disruptive and costly than trenchless alternatives, it is sometimes the only viable solution for homes with extensive sewer line damage. Additionally, complete replacement allows for installing larger or more durable pipes, which can better withstand future issues and provide long-term reliability.

To Trench or Go Trenchless—That is the Question

Determining whether you require sewer line replacement or re-lining depends on several factors, including the extent of damage to your sewer line, the age of the pipe, and your budget. Here are some signs that may indicate the need for either sewer line replacement or re-lining:

Extent of Damage

If your sewer line has extensive damage, such as multiple cracks, fractures, or collapses, complete pipe replacement may be necessary. On the other hand, if the damage is relatively minor and confined to specific pipe sections, re-lining with Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) may suffice.

Age of the Pipe

Older sewer pipes, especially those made of materials like clay or Orangeburg, are more susceptible to deterioration and may require replacement rather than re-lining. Newer pipes made of PVC or HDPE may be candidates for re-lining if the damage is minimal.

Root Intrusion

Re-lining may temporarily address the issue if tree roots have infiltrated your sewer line and caused significant damage. However, if root intrusion is severe or widespread, full pipe replacement may be the more permanent solution.

Sewer Line Blockages

Despite professional cleaning and maintenance, persistent blockages in your sewer line may indicate underlying structural issues that require evaluation. Depending on the cause and severity of the blockages, re-lining or replacement may be recommended.

Budget and Timeline

Re-lining typically involves less disruption and lower costs than full pipe replacement, making it a more budget-friendly option for some homeowners. However, investing in complete pipe replacement may be necessary in the long run if your sewer line is severely damaged or poses health and safety risks.

Ultimately, it’s essential to consult with a licensed plumber or sewer line specialist to assess your sewer line’s condition thoroughly. They can conduct a comprehensive inspection using advanced camera technology to identify the extent of the damage and recommend the most suitable course of action based on your specific circumstances and needs.

What Does Trenchless Sewer Line Repair Cost? 

The average cost of a trenchless sewer line repair, which includes methods like CIPP (cured-in-place pipe) or pipe bursting, typically ranges from $60 to $250 per foot. For a 100-foot sewer line repair using trenchless methods, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 on average, depending on various factors such as the extent of the damage, accessibility, and local labor costs.

On the other hand, the cost of a complete sewer line replacement with traditional excavation can be significantly higher due to the labor-intensive nature of the process. A complete sewer line replacement can range from $6,000 to $25,000 or more, depending on factors such as the length of the sewer line, depth, soil conditions, and any obstacles like trees or landscaping that may need to be removed or worked around. 

While trenchless methods may initially seem more expensive per foot, they can often result in lower total costs compared to traditional excavation, especially when factoring in landscaping restoration and property damage expenses.

Choose Nick’s Plumbing for Your Sewer Pipe Re-Lining or Replacement!

Consulting with a licensed plumber or sewer line specialist is paramount in finding practical solutions for your sewer line issues. Their expertise allows for a thorough assessment of your sewer line’s condition, aided by advanced camera technology, to accurately gauge the extent of any damage. 

At Nick’s Plumbing of Houston, we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive services, ensuring that each aspect of your sewer system is meticulously evaluated. Our commitment to precision and quality makes us diagnose the problem accurately and recommend the most suitable course of action tailored to your unique requirements. 

Trust Nick’s Plumbing of Houston to provide expert guidance and seamless execution, whether you require trenchless sewer line repair or a complete sewer line replacement. 

Call Nick’s Today. We’re on the Way! 

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