Are you wondering what epoxy pipelining is and if it’s a good solution for rehabilitating all types of plumbing pipes? Epoxy pipelining or epoxy pipe coating is a trenchless technology that’s used to rehabilitate and restore old potable water lines, drain pipes, and sewer pipes. The process involves applying a coating or installing an epoxy-soaked liner on the inside of the pipe in order to fill cracks and gaps and seal pinhole leaks.

Understanding Pipe Materials

Epoxy pipelining can be used to restore many different types of pipes, including cast iron, clay, concrete, copper, PVC, CPVC, galvanized steel, and stainless steel.

  • Cast Iron – Cast iron can most often be found in gutters and downspouts as well as sewer lines.
  • Clay – Clay was more common in the past than it is today. It was primarily used for drainage and sewer lines.
  • Concrete – Concrete is most often used in construction for wastewater pipes, storm drains, and culverts to help funnel water.
  • Copper – Copper pipes were once very popular in homes and businesses as potable water pipes and drainage pipes due to their corrosion resistance and long lifespan. In recent years, plastic has become more popular due to the high cost of copper and its susceptibility to freezing and bursting in cold climates.
  • Plastic – Plastic pipes encompass a wide spectrum of plumbing pipes, including PVC, CPVC, LDPE, HDPE, and UPVC. These pipes are most often found in homes and commercial buildings as drainage pipes and hot and cold potable water pipes as well as drain pipes.
  • Galvanized Steel – Galvanized steel was popular in homes in the 50s and 60s. However, due to its propensity to severely corrode within a short amount of time, it’s no longer as popular in the plumbing industry, having been replaced by plastic piping and copper.
  • Stainless Steel – Used for gutter systems and in industrial applications.

Factors to Take into Consideration

Before your pipes are lined, the pipelining technicians consider several different factors, like the compatibility of the piping material in relation to the epoxy coating, the environmental conditions in which the pipe exists and operate, the condition of the pipe, and the pipe’s diameter and configuration.

The Condition of the Pipe

While most pipes can be easily lined with an epoxy coating or a liner, not every pipe is a good candidate. Some pipes are simply too corroded and damaged and their pipe walls may be too thin to be able to handle the epoxy pipelining process. A professional pipelining technician can inspect the pipes in order to determine if they’re good candidates.

The Pipe’s Diameter and Configuration

Pipelining technology has greatly advanced since its invention in 1971. Coatings and some pipeliners may be able to go around bends and through runs of pipes that aren’t completely straight. However, the pipe’s configuration and diameter must still be taken into consideration. Extremely thin pipes or extremely wide pipes may not make good candidates. Additionally, pipes with lots of bends may need to be handled in non-standard ways.

Environmental Factors

The environment in which the pipe operates must be taken into consideration when choosing the right epoxy resin. Environmental factors that are often evaluated prior to installation include heat, humidity, extreme temperature variations, and chemical exposure.

Building Code and Regulatory Compliance

Different epoxy resins are approved for different applications. For example, epoxy pipe liners are approved for use in drain lines and sewer pipes but not for potable water lines. Epoxy coatings are often approved for potable water lines. Your pipelining technicians will determine the best liner or coating for each pipe in your home or business.

Advantages of Epoxy Pipelining

Epoxy pipelining offers many advantages over traditional pipe replacement, including:

  • It Improves Safety – Epoxy pipelining does not contain any harmful chemicals or VOCs. It can even help prevent chemical leeching from your metal and plastic plumbing pipes.
  • It’s Cost-Effective – Epoxy pipelining is often a cheaper option than traditionally replacing your plumbing pipes. This is because it’s a faster process that does not involve digging through walls, floors, ceilings, and the ground in order to reach your plumbing pipes.
  • It’s Flexible – Epoxy pipelining can be used to rehabilitate and restore most types and conditions of plumbing pipes.
  • It’s Environmentally Friendly – Epoxy pipelining is environmentally friendly. It does not contribute to landfill waste, and it does not involve manufacturing new pipes.
  • It’s Guaranteed – epoxy-lined pipes are expected to last between 35 and 50 years, and all of NuFlow’s work is warrantied for 10 years.

Limitations and Alternatives

While epoxy pipelining is ideal for many different types of pipes, even if they’re corroded or filled with scale, it’s not suitable for every type of plumbing pipe. Severely corroded or deteriorated pipes are usually not good candidates. However, at NuFlow, we offer alternatives when we encounter unsuitable pipes, and one of those alternatives is to use a hybrid approach. For this approach, we utilize the services of a licensed plumber to replace the most corroded pipes and pipes with thin walls. Then, we line the entire run of pipe. This is often more affordable than replacing the entire pipe run.

Expertise and Assessment

A qualified pipelining professional, like the ones we have at NuFlow, can determine if your plumbing pipes are good candidates and provide you with an estimate. We do this via our building pipe assessment. This assessment includes a camera inspection with a 360-degree plumbing camera, a detailed report on everything that was found inside your pipes as well as their condition, whether or not your pipes are good candidates for the pipelining process, and an estimate for lining your plumbing pipes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Epoxy Pipelining in Chicago

If you’re considering having your plumbing pipes lined with epoxy, you may have some questions. Below are some of the most common questions we receive regarding pipelining.

What is pipelining and how does it work?

Epoxy pipelining is a trenchless and non-destructive way to rehabilitate and restore existing plumbing pipes. This means that no trenches or holes are dug on your property or through your walls. Instead, existing cleanouts are used to reach the pipes and attach the equipment. When a cleanout is not available, one is created and a door is installed to cover the new access point.

What are the benefits of pipelining over traditional pipe replacement methods?

Epoxy pipelining is often faster, less intrusive, and less costly when compared to traditional pipe replacement. This is because there’s no need to locate and cut out your existing pipes. Instead, your current pipes are cleaned and prepared for the epoxy. Then, the epoxy coating or liner is installed, and it’s left to cure. Once the epoxy has cured and hardened, the pipe is returned to service. It’s also important to note that your residents or employees will still have access to mixed hot and cold water in the early mornings and evenings.

Is pipelining suitable for all types of pipes and pipe materials?

Epoxy pipelining is suitable for most types of pipes and pipe materials. However, excessively corroded or worn pipes may not make good candidates. If you’re concerned about whether or not your pipes can be lined, it’s best to talk to one of our pipelining technicians at NuFlow, serving Chicago.

How long does the pipelining process typically take?

The time it takes to complete your pipelining project depends on the number of pipes to be lined and their length. Small jobs may only take a matter of hours. Larger jobs may take several days, but since we, at NuFlow, provide mixed hot and cold water in the early mornings and evenings, your residents and employees won’t be nearly as inconvenienced. When possible, we can also line your pipes outside of your normal business hours to make it more convenient.

Can pipelining be done on pipes of any diameter and length?

Extremely small and extremely large diameter pipes may not make good candidates for epoxy pipe lining. In general, epoxy can be used to line pipes with diameters between 2 inches and just over 12 inches.

Does pipelining affect the flow capacity of the pipes?

Having your pipes lined with epoxy improves the flow capacity of the pipes. This is because all the corrosion and internal scale buildup is removed prior to lining the pipes. Additionally, epoxy is very smooth. Both of these features help increase the flow of water through the pipe.

What is the expected lifespan of pipelining?

Epoxy-lined pipes are expected to last between 35 and 50 years. In accelerated lab testing, it’s estimated that epoxy-lined pipes may be able to last as long as 80 years.

Does pipelining eliminate the need for future maintenance?

Pipelining does not completely remove the need for future maintenance. You should still have your plumbing pipes inspected regularly, and drain and sewer lines should be hydro jetted about once a year to remove any debris buildup.

How does pipelining address issues like leaks, cracks, or root intrusion?

Epoxy pipe lining seals cracks and leaks and helps prevent future root intrusion. In fact, if you have a sewer pipe that is currently infiltrated with roots, there’s a good chance it can be lined in order to increase its expected lifespan.

Can pipelining be used for both residential and commercial applications?

Pipelining can be used in both residential and commercial applications. Here at NuFLow, we’ve lined the pipes of municipal buildings, residential homes, condos, apartment complexes, industrial facilities, and even outdoor venues and sports stadiums.

Does pipelining come with any warranty or guarantees?

At NuFlow, we offer 10-year guarantees on all our pipelining work. If you have a future problem with a lined pipe, simply call us. We’ll send out a technician to evaluate the problem. If it is a problem with the epoxy, we’ll fix it.

How can I determine if pipelining is the right solution for my pipe issues?

If you’re thinking about having your plumbing pipes lined with epoxy, there’s a good chance you’re building is a good candidate. However, the best way to know is by speaking with one of our pipelining technicians and scheduling a building pipe assessment.

To learn more about epoxy pipelining and to schedule a building pipe assessment, call us today at 815-790-9000.