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A Midsummer Pipe’s Dream (Bursting vs. Lining)

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A Midsummer Pipe’s Dream (Bursting vs. Lining)

When it comes to sewer repair, there are few things more important than pipe restoration. Luckily, with today’s technology there are methods of restoring pipes with very little, to no excavation required. The most popular of these trenchless methods are “pipe bursting” and “pipe lining” which will be discussed in detail below.


Pipe bursting is a way of replacing an entire pipe with a brand new High Density Polyethylene Pipe (Also known as HDPE). In addition to being non­toxic, and environmentally sustainable, this pipe is also resistant to corrosion and chemicals.

Pipe bursting is achieved by pulling a tool called a bursting head through an already existing pipe. This allows the new pipe to be pulled through while the bursting head breaks up the original damaged, or compromised pipe.

This is achieved through the use of a heavy cable which is attached to a hydraulic pulling machine. This machine is capable of pulling with up to 30 tons of force, and uses a hammering motion which helps the bursting head to thoroughly break up the original pipe, and ensure it will be out of the way.


Pipe lining is a way of repairing or replacing an already existing pipe through the use of a Cured­In­Place pipe (or CIPP). CIPP is jointless, and seamless, as well as capable of restoring pipes anywhere from 0.1 to 2.8 meters (or 4 to 110 inches) in diameter.

This process is achieved with the use of a felt liner, which is saturated with resin and then pulled through the pre­existing damaged pipe. The liner is then cured typically with the use of hot water, uv light, or steam.

The end result from this method is a tight fitting replacement pipe within the original pipe which is jointless, and resistant to corrosion.


As with most things in life, there is no one cure all method for replacing or repairing compromised pipes. While both techniques mentioned above are non invasive, there are some conditions which can assist you in choosing the right one for the job.

In some areas the pipe may be too deep to burst. For example, in the northwest, sewer lines are much deeper, because they have to be built below the frost line. In these areas pipe lining is a more common method because it is more cost effective. Lining is also best used for pipes that run under buildings.

However, if the pipe you are replacing has lost its integrity (such as becoming oval shaped or crushed) bursting is the best of the two methods discussed for this situation.

Of course if you are having pipe problems, the best thing to do is research every available technique, and consult with your local plumber.