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Which is Better: Pipe Bursting or Pipe Relining?

Pipe bursting and pipe relining are two of the most prominent modern-day solutions to sewer snags or underground drain problems. While similar in focus, the two approaches vary in practice and execution.

This poses three important questions:

  1. What is the difference between pipe bursting and pipe relining?
  2. Which is the better solution for your underground drains?
  3. Which should homeowners choose for a trenchless pipe repair?

Before anything else, it’s best to have well-versed sewer technicians in both approaches. This gives you more room for weighing the options when needed. Thankfully, Drain Magic is an expert at both, serving homeowners in the South Central Pennsylvania area. So, don’t hesitate to book an appointment when you need a service.

In this article, we’ll compare pipe bursting and pipe relining to help you decide which is better. Keep reading.

What is Pipe Bursting Technology?

Unlike traditional methods, pipe bursting technology is a modern-day sewer replacement method that does not include digging trenches. It involves breaking and expanding your existing sewer line while replacing it with another pipe. High-density polyethylene pipes are usually used for this process.

Conversely, pipe lining (or relining) is another trenchless sewer repair method that involves creating a new layer inside existing pipes. In this process, techs don’t destroy the old pipeline. Instead, they insert a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) that reinforces an otherwise cracked or leaking underground drain.

Given the base definitions, we can already see that pipe-bursting sewer line replacement is a more complicated process. But how exactly does it work?

The pipe-bursting processThe pipe-bursting process

Sewer technicians perform pipe bursting by pulling a bursting head, a.k.a. an expander head or bullet, through the old pipe. After setup, a hydraulic system-powered machine pulls the bullet throughout the pipeline system. As the head fractures and breaks the old pipe, the new pipe is slowly pulled into its place.

The new pipe used in pipe bursting is usually high-density polyethylene or HDPE, which lasts about 100 years.

Pipe Bursting vs. Pipe relining: Which is Better?

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Which of the two solutions is truly better?

Well, answering that question is more complicated than it seems. It’s not a question of which is better but which is more appropriate for your situation.

Both approaches do not require much digging but have advantages and disadvantages.

Pipe relining is the better solution for minor sewer leaks, root intrusions and cracks. While it does not replace the pipe, the CIPP inserted is durable enough to reinforce the damaged pipeline. Moreover, after getting cured into extreme hardness, the CIPP shames PVC and ABS piping materials in durability.

There’s just one problem: pipe relining is limited in application.

Pipe relining relies on the usefulness of the existing pipes. For highly damaged, severely displaced or crushed pipelines, pipe bursting is the better solution.

In pipe bursting, you get a brand new pipe, which lasts significantly longer than pipe relining. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the problematic implementation of pipe relining that renders drains useless and needs replacement. Here are the advantages of pipe bursting:

Some advantages of pipe-bursting technology

  1. Applicable for any pipe diameter
  2. The length of the replacement pipe can be virtually limitless
  3. Pipe bursting can work on almost all types of pipe damage (except damaged HPDE material)
  4. Pipe bursting has more application compared to pipe relining
  5. Pipe bursting gives you the option to increase pipe diameter for better flow

However, as you might expect, pipe relining is much more affordable than pipe bursting.

Pipe BurstingHow Much Does Pipe Bursting Cost?

There’s no fixed price for pipe bursting, but several factors will affect the cost of sewer line replacement. Here are the elements influencing your pipe bursting fee:

  • The existing pipe’s depth and length
  • The severity of the damage
  • Location of the sewer lateral pipe
  • Structures and utilities disrupting the pipe-bursting process
  • The number of branch connections
  • The presence and number of off-set pipes
  • The slope of the pipe (requires adjustment)
  • Connection of the neighboring property to your line
  • Materials needed for the project
  • Traffic management, parking permits and public right-of-way certifications
  • Surface restoration costs, if any (like pavements, tiles, lawns or irrigation systems

Let your sewer experts guide your decision

Let your sewer experts guide your decision

Knowing the difference between pipe bursting and pipe relining familiarizes you with your options. However, we don’t recommend self-diagnosis and winging your pipe repair services alone.

It is still best to consult sewer experts, like Drain Magic, on the best possible approach for your sewer snags. An expert can provide you with accurate recommendations on your next steps.

If you’re a homeowner in South Central Pennsylvania, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Drain Magic, we specialize in pipe bursting and relining to give you the best possible solution. Trust that we’ll consider your budget, goals and needs in our pipe repair program.

For a service, call us at 717-936-9444 or book an appointment here.