When the plumbing pipes of your residential highrise building in Chicago reach the end of their useful lives, you may be torn between traditional method of pipe replacement and trenchless pipe restoration. The type of plan you choose for your pipes will largely depend on your budget and the benefits and drawbacks for your building, residents and board members.

Traditional Pipe Replacement

The traditional pipe replacement process involves removing all of your old pipes and replacing them with new pipes. In areas where the pipes are exposed, like in basements, the process is fairly simple and fast. The plumbing company walks down to your basement, cuts out the old pipes and replaces them with new pipes.

Drawbacks of Traditional Pipe Replacement traditional_plumbing_replacement.jpg

When your plumbing pipes are hidden behind walls and in floors and ceilings, drywall, finishes, ceiling and flooring must be removed before the pipes can be replaced. This means that your residents may be inconvenienced for longer periods of time, and your building’s board members may be unwilling to pay for such extensive plumbing work.

  • More Time Consuming

The first step in the traditional pipe replacement process is locating your pipes. This can be accomplished with electronic pipe locating equipment. Once your pipes are found, the plumbers mark the spot and move forward to locate the other pipes that are slated to be replaced.

Once all of the pipes are located, the plumbing company returns to the front of the project to start cutting and removing drywall, flooring, fixtures and finishes in order to reach the pipes. At this point, the water will be turned off to your building.

While the water is off, your old pipes will be cut out and new pipes will be installed. This takes more time and manpower than simply lining your pipes to increase their structural integrity and longevity.

  • More Expensive

Because traditional pipe replacement requires more manpower, more time and more materials, it translates into more cost. Pipe replacement quotes typically include the material and labor costs to locate, remove and replace your pipes. It does not include fixing the damage caused by the excavation process. Replacing drywall, flooring, ceiling tiles, fixtures and finishes will require more materials, more labor and more money and a separate contractor.

  • More Room for Error

Every time you replace a pipe, there is the potential for installation errors. Over and under-tightening fittings, using too much or too little mastic and using the wrong fittings or the wrong type of pipe for the application can result in future leaks. In order to avoid this problem, you should always properly vet the plumbing company you plan to use or get referrals from businesses and individuals who have worked with that company in the past.

  • Inconvenienced Residents

While your pipes are being replaced, your residents will not have access to water. This means that they will be unable to flush a toilet, wash their hands or prepare food without first driving to the store to pick up several gallons of water, and they will be completely unable to shower or wash laundry in their units. If the project is particularly large, your residents may be without water for several hours on multiple days while the plumbing system is being replaced.

For tenants that live on the floors where the pipes are being replaced, they could be exposed to construction dust and debris, making passage through the halls difficult and impacting indoor air quality. To minimize the impact of pipe replacement on your residents, you may want to consider a combination solution that involves both trenchless and trenched pipe restoration and replacement.

Finding the Right Solution for Your Building’s Plumbing Problems

Here at Nu Flow, we are dedicated to helping you find the right long-term solution to your building’s aging plumbing system. This may mean going with a combination solution of trenchless pipe restoration with epoxy liners and coating as well as completely replacing some pipes. Thankfully, our pipe lining experts  team with the experienced plumbers at Althoff.

By combining technologies, we can determine a customized plan that offers you the best possible option. Our pipe restoring process cleans and lines the existing pipes that are not quite past their useful lives, and the pipe replacement process ensures that you have new pipes exactly where you need them.

To learn more about how we can help you with your old, leaking pipes, call us at 815-790-9000.