Relining or Replacing a Sewer Pipe: What’s the Better Option?

If you’ve been told your sewer pipe needs to be either repaired or replaced, you’re probably wondering which one is the better option. The answer is that it really depends on the circumstances surrounding your sewer pipes and what’s wrong with them. Relining broken sewer pipes can be an effective solution in many cases, but there are times when digging up the old sewer pipe and putting in a new one is the better decision. Here’s how to make that choice for yourself.


Pipe Relining Basics

Relining a sewer pipe is a method of repairing a cracked or split pipe from the inside without digging up the old pipe. Basically, a new sleeve-like pipe is inserted into the broken pipe, thereby restoring the integrity of the original pipe. The relined pipe is sealed so that there are no leaks and the rest of your pipe system that isn’t relined integrates with the relined pipe to restore complete function of your sewer system.

Instead of having to dig up the broken part of your sewer pipe, which might be under your driveway or actual house, the professionals who reline your pipe just need two existing access points so they can pull the lining through the old pipe, ensuring it fits the entire length. The lining then cures in place to create a brand-new pipe in the section that was broken. The broken pipe remains in place, but is no longer the conduit for sewage or water. Instead, it’s simply serving to maintain the shape and structure of the new lining.


When Does Pipe Relining Make Sense?

In the past, if you had a broken sewer pipe, there was no other option than to dig it up and replace the damaged section with a new pipe. Often, homeowners would elect to have the entire sewer line replaced at the same time since they didn’t want to have their yard torn up more than once. The technicians would have to dig a trench from one end of your yard to the other to fully replace your sewer line. This meant a big mess, the loss of any landscaping that was in the way, and potentially, the loss of things like your driveway and porch.

With the advancement of technology, though, those days are over unless you truly need a sewer line replacement. You should only have to replace your entire sewer line if the pipes are corroding or have otherwise outlived their usefulness. This would mean that your house is probably close to a hundred years old because newer sewer systems use non-corrosive pipes that can last a lot longer. Pipe relining makes sense in almost any other situation, but especially if your sewer runs beneath your home or driveway.


Two Types of Relining

There are two main methods of relining a sewer pipe and they both have a great track record of success. The first way is by pulling a new pipe lining through the existing broken pipe and inflating it once it’s in place. The lining is coated in a sealant that forms a seamless barrier between the old pipe and the contents that run through the pipe. This sealant bonds the new lining to the old pipe, making it watertight and leakproof.

The other, less used method, is to apply epoxy directly to the inner walls of the damaged pipe. An epoxy injector and a camera are inserted into the pipe and the machine injects epoxy along the walls of the old pipe. The nice part about this method is that the person running the injector can see where the most damaged parts of the pipe are located and inject additional epoxy at these locations to ensure they’re fully repaired. The epoxy hardens into a pipe lining that can withstand water and sewage as it flows through the newly-lined pipe.



Relining sewer pipes is a revolutionary technology that can preserve your landscaping and still repair your broken sewer pipe. While it’s not always the best option, in most cases, relining the sewer pipe will repair it just as well as if you’d elected to replace it — without all the mess and chaos of digging up your yard or driveway.

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