If you’re a homeowner dealing with pipe problems like leaks, clogs, or corrosion, you may be interested in epoxy pipe lining. This trenchless repair method involves coating the inside of pipes with durable epoxy resin to seal damage and prevent further issues.
Epoxy pipe lining can extend the lifespan of aging pipes by 50 years or more. But how much does it cost compared to traditional pipe replacement? What are the benefits and downsides? This complete guide breaks down everything you need to know.
Highlights on Epoxy Pipe Lining
Epoxy pipe lining provides an affordable, long-lasting pipe repair solution without the mess and destruction of full replacement. When faced with leaks, clogs, roots, corrosion or drainage issues, lining extends the lifespan of your plumbing and sewer pipes for decades at a fraction of the replacement cost.
Here are the key takeaways on epoxy pipe lining:
- Typical costs range from $100 – $500 per linear foot based on pipe size, material, and degree of damage. Expect $4,000 – $10,000 for a full sewer line replacement.
- Epoxy lining saves 50% or more compared to excavation and pipe replacement. It also avoids landscaping demolition.
- The process involves coating the interior of pipes with a flexible epoxy resin tube inflated to seal cracks and gaps.
- Benefits include improved drainage, prevention of root infiltration, restored structural integrity, and enhanced flow rates.
- Limitations include loss of service during installation, inability to repair complete breaks, and risk of failure if improperly installed.
- High-quality epoxy materials offer the best durability and 50+ year lifespan. Avoid DIY kits with subpar components prone to failure.
- Carefully vet contractors on experience, materials used, warranties, pricing, and documentation of the process.
- Address symptoms like odors, slow drainage and leaks early before they escalate into costly emergencies.
How Much Does Epoxy Pipe Lining Cost Per Foot?
For a typical single-family home, expect to pay an average of $200 to $250 per linear foot for epoxy pipe lining. However, costs can range anywhere from $100 to $500 per foot depending on these key factors:
Pipe Size – Smaller drain lines and branch pipes cost less – often $100 to $150 per foot. Larger main sewer lines that require more lining material are $200 to $300 per foot or more.
Pipe Material – The existing pipe material impacts lining costs. Cast iron is the least expensive at around $200 per foot. Galvanized steel, clay, and other materials cost more due to greater surface prep needed.
Degree of Damage – If the original pipe is severely corroded, more lining material will be required, increasing the cost. Less damaged pipes use less material.
Access Points – Access for the lining equipment is key. Limited access means longer lining distances, using more material. More access allows shorter lining segments, reducing cost.
Contractor Experience – Liner installation is part skill, part art. Experienced contractors command higher prices, often $300 to $500 per foot. Less experienced companies may charge $100 to $200.
Location – Geographic region impacts prices too. Major metro areas are the most expensive given higher overhead costs. Rural areas often have lower labor costs.
The range is wide, but for a typical 2000-square-foot home, a full sewer line replacement will cost $4,000 to $10,000 on average from most lining contractors. Get multiple bids and clarify exactly what is included before choosing your contractor.
Trenchless Pipelining.com notes that epoxy pipe lining for residential purposes can cost between $150 to $200 per linear foot of lining, while for commercial purposes can cost between $175 to $225 per linear foot.
New Flow Plumbing notes that the average cost of pipe lining is $80 to $250 per linear foot, with a total price depending on the amount of pipe replaced.
Why Re-pipe writes that epoxy pipe coating costs can be more affordable than traditional pipe repair methods, with an average cost of $1,800 to $2,400 for a typical residential home.
Express Sewer says that trenchless pipe lining costs can range from $50 to $250 per foot, resulting in roughly $3,000 to $6,000 for small jobs and $5,000 to $13,000 for more extensive repairs.
What is Epoxy Pipe Lining?
Epoxy pipe lining, also known as CIPP (cured-in-place-pipe) is a no-dig repair method that involves installing a new pipe lining inside the damaged old pipe. A flexible epoxy resin tube is inserted into the original pipe and inflated to fit tightly. The resin then cures, leaving a smooth, seamless “pipe within a pipe” that seals cracks and corrosion.
Old pipe materials like cast iron and clay tiles are prone to buildup, rust, cracks, and root intrusion over time. By inserting a new epoxy barrier, leaks, and drainage issues are fixed without having to dig and replace the entire pipe. Pipe lining restores flow and performance to the plumbing system without destruction to yards and landscaping in the process.
What are the Benefits of Trenchless Epoxy Pipe Lining?
Compared to complete pipe replacement, epoxy pipe lining offers many compelling benefits:
Less Expensive – Pipe lining costs approximately $100 to $250 per linear foot on average. Complete pipe replacement typically ranges from $400 to $1,000 per linear foot – up to 4X more! Lining can save 50% or more off replacement.
No Excavation or Demolition – Because pipe lining is a no-dig process, you avoid destructive, messy trenching across your yard. Replacement digs up landscaping, driveways, and sometimes foundations.
Less Disturbance to Home – Epoxy lining is usually completed in 1 to 3 days with minimal impact to living areas. Pipe replacement can take weeks and often requires temporary relocation.
Smooth Pipe Walls – The epoxy coating leaves a smooth, frictionless pipe surface that improves drainage and water flow. Old pipes have corrosion and mineral buildup.
Long Lifespan – Quality pipe lining restores pipes for 30 years or longer. Replacement pipes may need repairs again in 20-25 years. Lining extends the life at a fraction of the cost.
Faster Installation – After inspection confirms sizing, lining can be scheduled and completed rapidly. Replacement involves delays for demolition, materials, concrete curing, etc.
Prevents Root Intrusion – Pipe lining seals cracks and gaps that allow root infiltration. Roots are a major cause of clogs, leaks, and sewer backups.
Strengthens Pipes – The epoxy liner adds a protective barrier that compensates for existing pipe weaknesses and prevents future corrosion.
Improved Water Flow – Smooth epoxy lining reduces friction and turbulence that restricts drainage in deteriorating old pipes. Lining improves flow.
No Service Disruption – Many lining projects can be completed with minimal water service interruption compared to replacement.
What are the Potential Drawbacks of Sewer Epoxy Pipe Lining?
While lining has many advantages, there are also some downsides to consider:
Relining vs. Full Replacement – Lining rehabilitates pipes rather than creating brand new ones. For severely damaged drains, full replacement may be more appropriate.
Temporary Loss of Service – Resin curing requires water disruption for 8 to 24 hours in most cases. Complete replacement often has longer outages.
Not Effective for Complete Collapses – If a pipe has fully collapsed or broken apart, lining cannot bridge the gap. Replacement is required.
Risk of Post-Lining Detachment – Improper resin curing or preparation may cause new liners to detach. But this is rare with qualified installers.
Upfront Costs – While cost-effective long-term, lining requires a large upfront investment. Replacement can be completed incrementally.
Short Warranties on Some Materials – Polyurethanes and other non-epoxy liners may only carry 1-5 year warranties. Epoxies often have 10-year or longer coverage.
Difficulty Accessing Upper Floors – Lining bath, shower and sink drains on upper levels can be complicated. Replacement is direct.
For serious foundation shifts, complete breaks, or large sections of missing pipe, replacement is the only option. But in most cases, epoxy lining is an affordable and effective trenchless sewer repair method.
Step-by-Step Process for Epoxy Pipe Lining Installation
If you choose epoxy pipe lining, here is an overview of the full installation process:
Initial Inspection – The plumber will usually use a camera inspection to confirm the interior pipe layout and document any damage, corrosion, clogs or defects. This determines the project scope.
Pipe Cleaning – Before lining, the old pipe is thoroughly cleaned using pressure washing and scrapers to remove any rust, grease, minerals, roots and debris.
Sizing and Measurement – Precise measurements are taken to select the correct diameter liner material and ensure a tight seal after installation.
Liner Preparation – The flexible epoxy lining tube is cut to length, vacuum sealed and lined with a bonding agent to adhere to the old pipe walls.
Access Point Excavation – Small access pits are dug at transition points so the liner can be inserted into the pipe and extraction points for the lining equipment.
Lining Insertion – The collapsed liner coated with epoxy resin is inserted through the access points and inflated using air pressure.
Curing and Hardening – Once fully expanded, the epoxy resin is cured, usually with steam or hot water circulating through the pipe to harden the material. Curing takes around 8-24 hours depending on the resin formula. The new epoxy liner adheres tightly to the old pipe.
Final Testing – Post-lining video inspection confirms the liner expanded properly with no gaps or detachments. Pressure testing ensures leaks are sealed.
Access Point Repair – The small access excavations are filled in and repaired, completing the lining process with zero surface disruption.
Return to Service – After inspection and testing, normal water and sewer service is restored to the newly lined pipe sections.
The full lining process usually takes 1-3 days from start to finish depending on the pipe length and number of access points. In just a weekend, your old deteriorating pipes can be restored!
Why Choose Epoxy Pipe Lining Over PVC or Polyurethane?
For pipe lining projects, epoxy resins are often the best material option over other polymers like PVC and polyurethane. Here’s why epoxy is preferable:
- Longer Lifespan – Properly installed epoxy lining lasts 50 years or longer. PVC and polyurethane liners may only last 10-25 years.
- Superior Bonding – Epoxies form the strongest bond to old pipe walls over other materials. This prevents detachment or slipping.
- Thin Application – Epoxies can be applied extremely thinly without losing strength. Thick liners reduce flow rates.
- High Strength and Durability – Epoxy is extremely resistant to wear, corrosion, temperature fluctuations, chemicals, and root penetration.
- Customizable Formulas – Epoxies can be engineered for specific pressures, pipe materials, and curing requirements.
- Longer Warranties – Most epoxy liners come with 10-50-year manufacturer warranties, while other materials may only have 1-5 years of coverage against defects.
For critical plumbing and sewer lines, epoxy is the ideal pipe lining material in terms of durability, longevity, and value. Make sure to choose an experienced contractor who specializes in high-quality epoxy pipe rehab products.
DIY Pipe Lining Kits – Are They Worth It?
You may come across DIY pipe lining kits advertised online and wonder – can I save money by lining my pipes myself? We strongly advise against attempting pipe lining as a DIY project. Here’s why:
- Safety Risks – Mishandling chemical resins, over-inflating liners, and improper curing can be hazardous without training and protective equipment. Leave it to the professionals.
- Inferior Materials – DIY kits often use weaker adhesives and cheaper resins prone to failure. Contractors source industrial-grade epoxy materials designed to last decades.
- No Specialized Equipment – Pipe cleaning, video inspection, liner insertion/inflation and curing require specialized tools you won’t have access to. Renting equipment is challenging.
- No Experience – Pipe lining is equal parts art and science learned over years on the job. DIYers can easily make mistakes leading to liner failure down the road.
- No Warranty – Professional installation comes with long-term warranties from the contractor and liner manufacturer. DIY repairs have no protection if something goes wrong.
- Potential Damage – Amateur mistakes like over-inflation and poor curing can damage pipes. Problematic pipes will need professional repair anyway if botched DIY lining fails.
For such a precision process, specialized tools, and high-performance materials are essential. Don’t waste money on poor quality DIY kits that seem like a bargain but often create major problems down the road.
Questions to Ask Your Contractor About Epoxy Pipe Lining
If you’re getting quotes for an epoxy pipe lining project, ask the contractor these important questions:
- What type of epoxy resin do you use, and what is its expected lifespan? High-quality bisphenol-based epoxies last 50+ years.
- What warranty do you provide on the liner material and workmanship? 10-year minimum coverage is standard.
- Will you provide me documentation from the liner manufacturer regarding its formulation and expected durability? Get assurances about quality in writing.
- What other pipe lining materials do you offer besides epoxy? Can you explain the pros and cons of each option?
- What size liner do you recommend for my pipe based on video inspection and measurements? Proper sizing prevents leaks.
- How will you prep my pipe before lining? Cleaning and roughening the old pipe wall ensures resin bonding.
- How long will the liner installation take? What is the curing process? Faster resin curing is preferable to minimize service disruption.
- How will you confirm a successful lining installation? Post-lining video and pressure testing are musts.
- How much warranty and post-lining support do you provide? Choose a contractor who stands behind their work with long-term service.
A reputable lining company will take time to answer all questions and provide documentation that gives you confidence in their process, materials, warranties and workmanship. Never feel rushed into signing a contract without understanding exactly what you’re paying for.
8 Signs It’s Time to Consider Epoxy Pipe Lining
Here are some clear indicators that your pipes may be failing and it’s time to call for epoxy pipe lining service:
1. Slow Drains: Notice the sinks, tubs and toilets emptying slower than normal? Slow drainage is often the first warning of pipe corrosion and blockages. Address early before complete clogging occurs.
2. Gurgling Noises: Hear bubbling, gurgling or “wet burp” sounds coming from your drains and toilets? This signals blockages, buildup and venting issues in your piping that require attention.
3. Sewer Odors: Catching whiffs of rotten eggs or sewage smells inside? This points to sewer gas escaping damaged, leaky pipes. Toxic, explosive gases can accumulate so don’t ignore them.
4. Leaks and Cracks: Does water pool around pipes or leak from fittings and joints? Cracks allow water infiltration and root intrusion. Seal up with lining before major damage.
5. Vermin and Roots: Seeing roots protruding into your piping? Tree roots penetrate tiny cracks seeking water. Rodents also gnaw pipes. Lining seals off intruders.
6. Rust Accumulation: Flaking iron oxide inside cast iron pipes causes obstructions. Rust is difficult to remove and will rapidly reoccur if not lined.
7. Pipe sag or belly: A drain line that holds water and sags in the middle signals a weakened, potential collapse point. Line before a full failure.
8. Age over 50 years: Old pipes simply wear out over decades of use. Even without symptoms, consider proactive rehabilitation to extend the lifespan.
Catching problems early is wise since small leaks can easily escalate into flooded basements, sewage backups, and other disasters. Don’t wait until you have a full-blown emergency. Schedule an inspection at the first signs of trouble.
Has this guide provided you with a better understanding of your pipe lining options? The experts at [Your Company] are here to answer any other questions you may have. Contact us for your free video pipe inspection and repair estimate today. We provide honest professional advice so you can make the best choice for your home.