What is trenchless sewer repair and which method to choose?

So, you have found yourself having problems with the sewer. Your pipes are too old and you know it’s time to replace them. Or your sewer pipes have leaks and the whole yard is now flooded. The first thought that comes to mind in such a situation is a huge expense and the sight of a completely dug up yard. But what if we tell you that there is another solution to the problem? More budget, just as efficient and at the same time does not require excavation of the yard. We are talking about trenchless sewer repair and replacement. In this article, we will explain what it is, which method is best for sewer repair, and why the method is worth the money. After reading this article, you will know exactly what to do in case of a sewer leak.


  • 🔷 What is trenchless sewer line repair
  • 🔷 When do you need to do sewer line repair
  • 🔷 Trenchless sewer repair vs trenched
  • 🔷 Structural pipe lining or Cured-In-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP)
  • 🔷 Pipe bursting
  • 🔷 Spray lining and brush coating
  • 🔷 Slip lining
  • 🔷 Trenchless sewer line repair stages
  • 🔷 Does trenchless sewer repair worth its money
  • 🔷 Choose trenchless sewer repair contractor in San Diego

What is trenchless sewer line repair?

Trenchless sewer repair is a minimally invasive way to fix sewer pipes. It does not require trenches to be dug. It is enough just to dig a small hole for access to the pipe. Next, the plumber uses epoxy to strengthen the pipe and seal the holes. As a result, you get a complete pipe and a clean yard.

This method does not require digging up the yard, tearing down walls, or digging under foundations. This is the main advantage of trenchless pipe repair. The homeowner saves a lot on the extra cost of restoring the yard and home.

When do you need to do sewer line repair?

Sewer leaks are one of the most common reasons why pipes need to be repaired. A rupture of a sewer pipe is easy to notice: because of it, puddles constantly form in the yard and in the house. However, there are also invisible leaks. You can determine the leaking sewer pipe by the following signs:

  • 🔷 water bills have increased unreasonably;
  • 🔷 you hear an unpleasant smell;
  • 🔷 the lawn in the house is unusually green and fresh, although you do not water it;
  • 🔷 dampness is felt in the house and in the yard;
  • 🔷 mold appeared on the walls;
  • 🔷 there are often animals in the yard;
  • 🔷 you hear gurgling from pipes;
  • 🔷 water stagnates in the sink and does not pass through the pipes;
  • 🔷 the water level in the toilet bowl is not constant.

It is also worth thinking about replacing sewer pipes if they are very old. The average service life of pipes is 50-100 years. However, it may be shortened due to poor quality material or careless use. Specifically, according to the service life of the pipe, depending on the material:

  • 🔷 hardened clay pipes – from 50 years;
  • 🔷 cast iron pipes – from 75 years;
  • 🔷 PVC pipes – from 100 years.

Check the documents you received when you bought the house to find out the exact age of your pipes. If the service life has already expired, it is better to replace them before a problem occurs.

We recommend sewer line replacement if you have lead pipes. Lead can release toxic substances into the water, which can be detrimental to health in the long run. The use of lead in the laying of modern sewers is prohibited. However, in older areas, lead pipes may remain in the sewers.

Trenchless sewer repair vs trenched

Traditional trenched sewer repair methods require extensive excavation. For this routine, excavators are used, which dig the earth in large portions. As a result, your yard, lawn, garden, driveway, walls may be destroyed. After the work is completed, you will have to spend money and time on restoration.

Trenchless repair of sewer pipes is the same effective method. At the same time, in the long run, it comes out cheaper, since it is done carefully. Its key difference from the traditional sewer line repair is minimally invasive. To access the pipe, you need to dig a small hole. As a result, sewer repair is several times faster, and your territory will be easier to clean.

In the table below, you can compare trench and trenchless sewer repair methods according to 4 criteria: accuracy, cost, duration and additional costs:

CriteriaTrench sewer line repairTrenchless sewer line repair
AccuracyNeeds excavationNo excavation
Cost$170- $250 per linear foot$130-$200 per linear foot
Time lasting50-100 years50-100 years
Time to do2-7 days1 day
Additional expenseAdditional expenses for yard and house recoveringNo additional expenses

Unfortunately, trenchless pipe repair is not always possible. The method cannot be used if the pipes lie at an angle or deformed.

Trenchless sewer line repair methods

Structural pipe lining or Cured-In-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP)

Structural pipe lining or Cured-In-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP)

The plumber creates a new pipe inside the old one. Before the procedure, he carries out hydro-jetting to clean the pipe. The new pipe is created using a felt pad soaked with epoxy resin. The soaked liner is inserted into the old pipe and then inflated. After a few hours, the resin solidifies in the form of a tube. Then the plumber removes the liner, and the pipe becomes like new due to a new durable layer of epoxy.

CIPP pros and cons

Advantages of structural pipe lining (CIPP):

  • 🔷 The speed of work. The whole procedure takes from 2 to 3 days, taking into account the time for solidification of the epoxy resin.
  • 🔷 Minimally invasive. The procedure does not require major excavations. Plumbers need access to the pipe, which they can find through a manhole or by digging a small hole.
  • 🔷 Low cost of work. Due to the fact that the procedure is fast and does not require excavation, its cost is 20-30% lower than that of the trench method.
  • 🔷 Long service life. A new epoxy resin pipe will last 50 years or more.

The disadvantages of the method are associated with conditions that limit the possibilities of its application. Among them:

  • 🔷 CIPP can only be applied to strong pipes. If the pipe is so brittle that hydro-jetting could damage it, the plumber will suggest another trenchless repair technique.
  • 🔷 The method only works with straight pipes. If the pipe is dented or otherwise distorted, it will be difficult to lay a layer of epoxy.
  • 🔷 As a result of adding a new layer of epoxy, the diameter of the pipe is slightly reduced. Because of this, the method is not carried out on pipes of small diameter.
  • 🔷 It takes 1 day for the resin to cue. The curing process can be accelerated with UV learning.

Cured-In-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP) is a complex procedure and not all contractors undertake it. The experts at Almco Plumbing are masters of this technique. To order CIPP trenchless sewer repair leave your contacts in the feedback form or call (858) 293-4996.

Pipe bursting

what is pipe bursting as sewer line repair method

The old pipe is pulled out using a winch with a bursting head. The burst head destroys the old pipe and makes way for the new one. A new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe is placed in place of the old pipe. This technique is commonly used to replace pipes in lateral sewer lines.

Pipe bursting benefits and disadvantages

Benefits of pipe bursting:

  • 🔷 This is the cheapest method of all trenchless pipe repair and replacement techniques.
  • 🔷 There is no need to dig the yard to replace pipes. Two 4×4 pits are required to reach the goals.
  • 🔷 The work is done during the day.
  • 🔷 The new HDPE pipes are very strong, non-corrosive and rust resistant.
  • 🔷 The service life of HDPE pipes is 50-100 years. During this period, you will no longer have to worry about sewer leaks.
  • 🔷 Method that does not involve the use of chemicals. Replaceable HDPE pipes are environmentally friendly.

The disadvantages of the method are caused by limitations in its application:

  • 🔷 The length of the new pipe must be greater than 15 feet.
  • 🔷 The technique cannot be used if the pipe has a slope.
  • 🔷 The method does not work if the old pipes are already destroyed.

Spray lining and brush coating

what is spray lining

The method is similar to CIPP, only it does not require the use of a felt pad. In this case, a layer of epoxy resin is sprayed onto the inner walls of the pipe. The resin can also be applied with a brush. Before coating with resin, the pipe is also cleaned of blockages using hydro-jetting. It takes 1 day for the resin to cue.

The advantage of the method over CIPP is the ability to use different types of resins. So, in addition to epoxy, a plumber can make a coating using a flexible polymer. That is why spay lining and brush coating works well for sewer repairs in multi-story buildings.

Trenchless sewer repair with spray lining is effective in cases where pipes are not sealed tightly. This technique is also handy for restoring pipes that are vertical.

Spray lining pros and cons

Advantages of sewer repair with spray lining:

  • 🔷 Work completion time. It is possible to repair the sewer in 2 days, taking into account the drying time of the resin. The working time can be accelerated to several hours if UV rays are applied to speed up the curing of the resin.
  • 🔷 Minimally invasive. To access the pipe, it is enough to have a plug, a vent or a sewer manhole. The work uses flexible materials, so large-scale excavation is not required.
  • 🔷 Cost reduction. Compared to traditional repair methods, less man-hours are spent on the procedure. This greatly reduces the cost of work.

Disadvantages of the method:

  • 🔷 Durability. The materials used have a warranty for only 15 years.
  • 🔷 The need to wait for the resin to harden.
  • 🔷 The recovery method is suitable for small pipes, from 1.5 to 6 inches in diameter.

Slip lining

slip lining pros and cons

In this case, the new pipe is inserted into the old one. The gap between the pipes is filled with cement mortar.

Slip lining pros and cons

Advantages of slip lining:

  • 🔷 The durability of the pipe is increased by 50-100 years.
  • 🔷 You don’t have to dig up the entire yard to fix the pipe.
  • 🔷 The cost of the method is relatively inexpensive. The price will depend on the length of the pipe being laid.

The method has disadvantages, including:

  • 🔷 Bandwidth limitation. Due to the fact that the new pipe is inserted into the old one, the diameter of the pipe decreases.
  • 🔷 The method is not suitable for small diameter pipes. The technique can only be applied to large diameter pipes.
  • 🔷 The method works on straight pipes. If there is a bend in the water supply, replacement will be very difficult.
  • 🔷 Slip lining does not work if the old pipe is damaged or deformed.
  • 🔷 The method requires excavation and small destruction of the area around the house is possible.

Which trenchless sewer pipe repair method is better?

Before choosing a trenchless repair technique, the plumber will conduct a camera inspection of the pipes. He will assess the current condition of the pipes and choose the best technique for your sewer pipes repair.

CIPP is suitable for leaky pipes located horizontally at great depths. Spray lining is good at fixing leaky pipe connections as well as vertical pipes. Pipe bursting is suitable for replacing old worn out pipes. Slip lining is an inexpensive alternative to the trench method for repairing sewer leaks.

CriteriaCIPPPipe burstingSpray liningSlip lining
Time lasting50-100 years50-100 yearsот 15 yearsот 50 years
RestrictionsFor large pipesFor pipes more than 15 inchesFor small pipesFor large pipes
Time to do2-3 days1 day2-3 days3-4 days

How does trenchless sewer repair work?

The standard procedure for trenchless repair and replacement of sewer pipes includes the following steps:

  1. Step 1. Pipe camera inspection. The plumber holds an HD camera inside the sewer line. With its help, he inspects the pipe. Based on what he saw, he evaluates the strength of the pipe, the degree of its destruction. Sewer camera inspection helps the plumber find leaks and other damage. Based on the results of the inspection, the specialist chooses a method and announces the time and cost of the work.
  2. Step 2. Hydro-jetting of sewer lines. Before carrying out work, the plumber must clean the pipe from blockages and growths. So he will increase the throughput of the pipe and make room for the installation of a new pipe.
  3. Step 3. Repair or replacement of the sewer pipe. A plumber repairs sewer lines using one of his chosen methods. He can create a new pipe shell with epoxy, completely replace an old pipe, or insert a new pipe inside an old one.
  4. Step 4. Re-inspection with a sewer camera. The plumber makes sure that the quality of the work is done. This means that the pipes are tightly connected, there are no breaks in them, the material is firmly attached, and the throughput is good.

Main question: does trenchless sewer repair worth its money?

The cost of trenchless and traditional repair is about the same. Trenchless repairs will cost an average of $130-200 per linear foot. Trenching the pipe costs $175-$250 per linear foot. In this case, you will have additional expenses for the restoration of the house and yard.

Trenchless sewer line repair worth its money. This method of repairing sewer leaks has tangible benefits:

  • 🔷 you will solve sewage problems for the next 50-100 years;
  • 🔷 you will not spend money on yard restoration, tiling, wall restoration and other side work;
  • 🔷 you will solve the problem within 1-3 days.

Trenchless pipe repair is most beneficial if the damaged pipe is located at great depths. You will also benefit from this procedure if the pipe is located shallow but under valuable points: pool, driveway, garden.

You can use the traditional sewer repair method if the pipe is shallow and there is nothing of value above it.

Choose trenchless sewer repair contractor in San Diego

Almco Plumbing is a plumbing company with 10 years of experience in doing trenchless sewer repair. We quickly and efficiently carry out our work. This is confirmed by the reviews of hundreds of people on Facebook, Google and our site, whom we helped solve their problems.

The quality of the work of plumbers from Almco Plumbing was highly appreciated by third-party experts. We are in the TOP 10 companies in San Diego according to Yelp. According to Expertise, we are in the TOP 29 best plumbing contractors in San Diego.

Our specialists are proficient in all trenchless sewer repair techniques. After this procedure, the pipes will last you 50-100 years. We guarantee a neat job.

To call a plumber from Almco Plumbing, fill in the contact details on the Booking page. You can also call (858) 293-4996 to book a sewer line repair in San Diego.


  1. Trenchless sewer line repair and replacement is a minimally invasive way to solve a leaky sewer problem for the next 50 years. It is carried out without large-scale excavation, which increases its convenience and reduces the cost.
  2. Repair of sewer pipes is carried out if they are leaking or worn-out.
  3. Sewer repair with trench digging takes from several days to a week. At the same time, it entails the destruction of walls, digging up the lawn and damage to property. Because of this, the homeowner expects additional expenses after the completion of the work.
  4. Trenchless sewer repair is gentle. It conducts without excavation and takes several days. Its cost of carrying out is lower, mainly due to the lack of additional costs for restoring the house.
  5. There are four trenchless sewer repair techniques: structural pipe lining (CIPP), pipe bursting, spray lining and slip lining.
  6. CIPP involves creating a new pipe shell using felt and epoxy. It takes 2-3 days to complete. The service life of such a pipe is 50-100 years.
  7. Pipe bursting is used to destroy an old pipe and immediately lay a new pipe in its place. The new pipe is made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) and lasts 50-100 years.
  8. In spray lining, the plumber creates a new pipe sheath using epoxy or flexible polymers.
  9. Slip lining requires some excavation. As a result of this technique, a new one is installed inside the old pipe.
  10. The plumber selects the best trenchless pipe restoration method based on a camera inspection assessment of the sewer condition. CIPP is suitable for leaky pipes located horizontally at great depths. Spray lining is good at fixing leaky pipe connections as well as vertical pipes. Pipe bursting is suitable for replacing old worn out pipes. Slip lining is an inexpensive alternative to the trench method for repairing sewer leaks.
  11. Trenchless sewer repair is usually carried out in four stages: camera inspection, hydro-jetting, direct replacement or repair, and evaluation of the quality of work.
  12. Trenchless sewer repair worth its money. So you will not only eliminate the leak, but also extend the life of the pipes by another 50-100 years. What’s more, you’ll save on the cost of restoring your home and yard.
  13. Plumbers from Almco Plumbing carry out trenchless sewer line repair with all methods. If you need to repair sewer pipes – leave us a request. We provide services in all areas of San Diego.

Vlad Khorenko

He started working at Almco Plumbing in January 2016. In 2018 became the owner of Almco Plumbing. He has built a great team – 10 people in the team, 9 of them are plumbers. According to Vlad’s words, the team is his greatest treasure. Vlad and his wife have three sons and are building a family owned business. Their mission is to be honest and fair with the great people who live in San Diego. Vlad has a plan to expand plumbing services to other cities in California by building an Almco plumbing franchise network.

Published: 12.04.2022

Related post

  • what is cipp for sewer line repair and replacedment

    Process, Advantages, and Cost of Cured-In-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP)

    Are you tired of dealing with leaky pipes, clogged drains, and expensive plumbing bills? Or are you searching for a more efficient and cost-effective solution…

    Read more
  • how to choose a plumber for sewer line repair

    How to choose a plumbing contractor for sewer line repair in San Diego?

    A properly functioning sewer line is essential to remove wastewater from the residential or commercial building to where it is safely released. Nevertheless, if the…

    Read more
Skip to content