Have you ever considered lining your pipes with epoxy rather than replacing all the pipes in your Chicago building? Epoxy pipelining is a trenchless way to rehabilitate and extend the useful lives of your plumbing pipes without all the mess and debris caused by the traditional pipe replacement process. Let’s take a look at how pipelining can benefit your building and everyone who lives and/or works in it and the science behind the technology.

What Are the Benefits of Epoxy Pipelining

Epoxy pipelining offers many benefits over traditional pipe replacement, especially if you own a historic building or own a luxury building where it would be prohibitively expensive to replace certain finishes or find matching finishes.

  • You can rehabilitate and repair your plumbing pipes rather than replacing them.
  • It’s safe for use on all types of plumbing pipes, including potable water, pressurized, vent pipes, drain lines, and sewer pipes.
  • It’s extremely durable with an expected useful life of between 35 and 50 years.
  • It is extremely cost-effective when all the factors of replacing pipes are taken into consideration, like filling in holes in floors and walls and replacing finishes.
  • It’s extremely flexible and can be used in all types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and municipal.
  • It’s a fast process with most epoxy pipe liners curing within 2 to 3 days. Some types of epoxy can cure in as little as 24 hours.
  • It’s environmentally friendly because little to no waste is sent to landfills.
  • Epoxy pipelining with NuFlow comes with a 10-year guarantee.

What Type of Epoxy Resin Is Used in the Pipelining Process?

The epoxy pipelining process uses a two-part resin that consists of the resin and the hardener or curing agent.

Pipelining Resin

For most epoxy pipelining applications, the resin and hardener are mixed just prior to application at a rate of 1 to 1. This is due to the short curing times. Some epoxy resins, like Picote Brush Cast Epoxy, aren’t mixed at all. Instead, the cartridges for the two parts are inserted into the application machine, and the epoxy is mixed as it’s applied. Pipelining resins can consist of polymers, vinyl, or epoxy.

  • Polymer – Affordable and slow curing. Typically used for large municipal projects.
  • Epoxy – Expensive, but durable, and it doesn’t contain any noxious fumes or harmful VOCs.
  • Vinyl – Hybrid epoxy consisting of polymer and epoxy components. It is typically only used in applications where extreme corrosion resistance is needed due to the noxious fumes and harmful VOCs.

Epoxy Curing Agent

The curing agents in the epoxy mixtures are what cause the resin to harden. The curing agent used determines many of the properties of the cured pipe, including its hardness, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals. Common curing agents that can be used with epoxy resins include aliphatic amines, anhydrides, aromatic amines, cycloaliphatic amines, imidazoles, lewis acids, and polyamides. For most epoxy pipelining projects, the most common hardeners used contain amines, like diethylenetriamine (DETA) and triethylenetetramine (TETA). This is because these hardeners offer fast curing times.

How Is the Epoxy Installed?

How the epoxy is installed depends on the type of pipe. For potable water applications, an epoxy resin without a liner is used. For drain pipes and sewer lines, an epoxy resin is used in conjunction with a pipe liner. For both pipelining processes, the first step is always cleaning and preparing the pipes to receive the coating or liner. The cleaning process removes all the scale and buildup from inside the pipe and ensures the surface is smooth.

Potable Water Pipes

1. The epoxy is mixed if it requires mixing. Some epoxy machines accept cartridges that contain epoxy resin and hardener, which means they don’t have to be premixed.

2. The epoxy pipelining machine is connected to the pipe, usually through an existing cleanout. If no cleanout is available, one is made, and a door is installed to cover the access point.

3. The epoxy is inserted into the pipe. This can be done via air or with a special tool, like a brush.

4. the epoxy is left to cure anywhere between 1 and 3 days.

5. Water service is fully restored.

Drain Pipes and Sewer Lines

1. The two-part epoxy is mixed.

2. The pipeliner is prepared, usually by scoring it to ensure that the epoxy fully saturates the liner.

3. The liner is saturated in the epoxy mixture.

4. An empty air bladder is inserted into the liner.

5. The liner is inserted into the pipe.

6. The air bladder is inflated in order to press the liner against the sides of the pipe.

7. The air bladder and liner are left in place during the curing process.

8. The air bladder is uninflated and removed.

9. The liner is inspected.

10. Service is restored to the pipe.

How Does the Plumbing Epoxy Cure?

The epoxy used inside plumbing pipes can typically cure one of two ways. The first way is to simply let it cure in the ambient air. The second way is to send warm air through the pipe, which can decrease the amount of time it takes the epoxy to cure.

How Can I Get My Plumbing Pipes Lined with Epoxy?

If you’re thinking about getting your pipes lined with epoxy in order to increase the useful lives of your existing pipes, you should consider getting a building pipe assessment. A building pipe assessment is a thorough inspection of all the pipes in your building that you’d like to have lined. This can include your potable water pipes, drain lines, vent stacks, and sewer pipe. Each building pipe assessment includes a video inspection, a detailed report of what was found inside your pipes and their condition, and a recommendation for or against pipelining. Of course, most pipes are good candidates for pipelining, even if they’re cracked or have holes. If your pipes are deemed to be good candidates, you’ll also receive a detailed estimate of what it would cost to line your plumbing pipes. The detailed report is great if you need to present the idea to the building owner or the HOA in charge of your condo. It also allows you to budget for the costs of pipelining.

How Do I Contact NuFlow, Serving Chicago to Have My Plumbing Pipes Lined?

If you’re ready to rehabilitate your Chicago building’s plumbing pipes with epoxy, we’re ready to help you. To learn more and to schedule an appointment with one of our pipeliners or to start the process of getting a building pipe assessment, contact us today.