The Choices You Have For Your Pipe Repair

Piping is never installed so that it’s easy to fix or replace later.  The repair of underground piping used to mean tearing up your lawn, breaking up concrete walks, digging through blacktop or worse.  Besides the cost, there’s the noise, the dirt, and the inconvenience –  and traces of the excavation can still be seen for years.  Learn pipe repair basics here from us. There are now three better options to the traditional excavation usually required to fix or replace a broken pipe: They are pipe bursting, pipe lining, and pipe boring.  They are three completely different technologies; each with their own special benefits, limitations, requirements, and operating concerns.

Pipe bursting destroys an existing buried pipe in place and lays down a new one in one motion.  It requires the section of piping to be replaced to be accessed at each end.  If such an access is not expensive it is the preferred method of replacement.  A thick steel cable is pulled through the old piping and a bullet shaped bursting head is hooked to one end of the cable.  The new piping is then attached to the back of the bursting head.  Hydraulic fluid under tons of pressure move in and out of cylinders causing them to move up and down and pull the cable through the old piping.  As the bursting head moves through the old piping it fractures the old piping if it is something like terra cotta (clay), cast iron, orangeburg, plastic, or concrete, or it splits the piping if it is something like steel, iron, copper, or galvanize.  The bursting head pushes the old piping out of the way enough to allow room for the new piping.  If the piping is for sewer or drain, the new pipe will probably be high-density polyethylene (HDPE) piping.  This piping is amazing.  It’s manufactured for gas and oil lines so using it for a sewer or drain line is really overkill.  However, it has properties which make it work well in the pipe bursting operation.  Once the line is in place, the new piping is connected to the remaining piping using the same approved plumbing materials any new replacement would use.

Pipe lining works by coating the existing piping with a layer of epoxy so the old piping ends up with a hard shell inside.  Pipe lining has the advantage of only needing to get to one end of the old piping.  Since it doesn’t expand the old pipe, it’s a good solution when the piping runs through or adjacent to materials which either can’t be expanded or can’t be expanded without damage. Since the old pipe is going to be the host for the new liner, it must be clean and aligned before the process begins.  A special epoxy absorbing tube sized to the inside diameter of the pipe is chosen and starts the process being turned inside out.  An epoxy is chosen based on a number of factors and is poured inside the tube and the epoxy is worked into the fabric to ensure that the desired epoxy thickness will be achieved.  The liner is then installed into the piping using equipment which rolls it in as the fabric turns rightside out and so allows the epoxy to come into contact with the piping walls.  Once in place, a bladder is inserted in through the liner and then inflated until the epoxy cures.

Pipe boring works by drilling a hole through the ground to make a path for a new pipe where none yet exists.  This technology was made possible by two developments.  First transmitters and electronics which allows the driller to know exactly where the tip of the drill is and then to steer it as it moves forward.  The technology is good enough to drill a hole on a constant pitch so as to give a sewer or drain line the fall needed for gravity flow.  The second development was the pipe bursting equipment described above.  Once the drill completes the pilot hole, a steel cable is pulled back through it.  Then the pipe bursting rig is set up and it can pull a new pipe back using the pipe bursting head.

All this equipment is expensive and its successful operation requires training and experience.  Pipeshark is the only contractor in the area to own and operate all three technologies.  We have dedicated much time and money to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are master plumbers and have been involved in national associations and review boards dedicated to trenchless technology.  We are certified pipe fusers and trainers for contractors and municipalities wanting to learn pipe bursting.  We have completed installations under very strict specs for utilities, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Park Service.

Now we are ready to turn all that experience and expertise onto your piping issues and give you the best solution possible.   No two situations are exactly alike.  As the old expression goes, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.  Similarly, if you don’t have the technology in your tool bag, then you tend to see every problem as a dig job or a floor or wall opening job.  Since we own all three of the approved trenchless approaches, we don’t have to force a solution onto your problem.  We clearly identify the issues and can apply the best approach for your situation

If you have a broken sewer pipe, leaking water service, collapsed drain line, cracked soil stack buried in the wall, or need for a new line where there is none now, call us.  This is our specialty.  We solve such problems every day.  Whether the piping is cast iron, terra cotta, clay, concrete, orangeburg, plastic, PVC, steel, copper, galvanize, or ductile iron, we can repair or replace it with equipment that can do it faster, neater, and better than just digging it up or digging it out.

Call or e-mail us today, 610-993-9300 or