Are your plumbing pipes old and corroded? If you’ve experienced frequent leaks and the need for plumbing repairs over the last 1 to 2 years, you may be considering replacing your plumbing pipes. The good news is that there are two methods you can use to restore your problematic plumbing system, including traditional pipe replacement and pipelining. Here at NuFlow, we’d like you to know what is involved in each of the methods so that you can make an informed decision about your Chicago building’s plumbing pipes.

Traditional Pipe Replacement in Chicago

Traditional pipe replacement involves the complete removal of the damaged plumbing pipes. Once the pipes are removed, they are replaced with new plumbing pipes in the material of your choice. Since plumbing pipes are located inside walls and underground, this often involves digging or cutting through the material hiding your pipes in order to reach them.

When you replace the pipes inside your building, this means cutting through drywall, flooring and ceilings and removing finishes. When traditional pipe replacement is used to replace sewer lines, it means digging a trench along the entirety of the sewer line from your building to the street, which means grass and any other landscaping you have in the area must be replaced after the sewer line work is performed.

Types of Plumbing Pipes You Can Choose

  • Copper – Proven reliability. Lasts up to 50 years. Most common for indoor potable water pipes.
  • PVC – Rigid plastic plumbing pipe that can last indefinitely under the right conditions and when installed correctly. It is most commonly used for drain and sewer lines, but can also be used for potable water. PVC cannot be used for hot water.
  • CPVC – Contains more chlorine than PVC. Safe to use for hot and cold potable water lines and drain pipes. Slightly more flexible than PVC.
  • PEX – Flexible plastic plumbing pipe. Most often used to replace copper pipes. Doesn’t need as many fittings and joints as copper, PVC and CPVC pipes. Lasts an extremely long time.

Pros of Traditional Pipe Replacement

  • You will receive new plumbing pipes.
  • You can choose the pipe material.
  • You will receive the entire expected useful life out of your new plumbing pipes.
  • You won’t have to worry about leaks or corrosion for many years.

Cons of Traditional Pipe Replacement

  • It takes several days to complete.
  • If you own a historic building, you may not want the antique finishes damaged.
  • It requires a team of plumbers to execute, which can increase the cost.
  • You may have to hire additional contractors to fix drywall and/or landscaping.
  • It doesn’t fix the reasons your pipes corroded or deteriorated.

Pipelining In Chicago

Pipelining is a trenchless pipe restoration method. This means that trenches are not dug and large sections of drywall are not removed. Instead, smaller access points are created and an access door is installed. This means that you won’t need to repair or replace drywall when epoxy pipelining is used to rehabilitate your existing plumbing pipes.

If you decide to have your sewer pipe lined, trenchless pipe lining doesn’t involve lots of heavy trench-digging equipment. Instead, the team of pipe liners looks for existing cleanout pipes. If cleanouts are found, there may not be a need to dig holes in your property to reach the sewer line. If cleanouts are not found, it simply means that two smaller holes will be dug in order to reach the pipes and connect the pipe lining equipment. This requires much small excavators and causes less damage to your landscaping than a traditional sewer pipe replacement.

Pros of Pipelining

  • It can be used to line entire plumbing systems.
  • It completely rehabilitates plumbing pipes.
  • It does not require as many man-hours or plumbers to install the pipelining.
  • It does not require shutting off the water supply to your entire building.
  • Pipelining is more affordable than traditional pipe replacement when all costs are considered.
  • It prevents future corrosion in the pipes that are lined.
  • It takes less time to line a pipe than to replace it.
  • Pipelining with NuFlow comes with a 10-year warranty.

Cons of Pipelining

  • Pipelining may not be the right choice for pipes that are severely corroded.
  • The pipe liners used for drain pipes are not recommended for pipes that bend.
  • The epoxy coating or pipe liner must be installed correctly by professional pipelining technicians.
  • Lined pipes cannot be exposed to high heat, like the heat created by welding and cutting torches.

Learning More About Pipelining from Our Team at Nu Flow

Pipelining can be used to rehabilitate every plumbing pipe in your building. The process of lining your pipes starts with a plumbing pipe inspection in order to determine if your plumbing pipes can withstand the pipelining process. If there are pipes that are too weak or with very thin walls, our pipelining technicians will recommend replacing those pipes prior to lining the rest of your plumbing pipes.

After the inspection and any potential pipe replacements, the remainder of the pipes to be lined will be cleaned down to the pipe walls. This removes corrosion and debris and smooths the interior surface of your existing plumbing pipes. When epoxy pipe lining is used to rehabilitate potable water pipes, a two-part epoxy liquid is blown through the pipes. This coats the entire interior diameter of the existing pipe and seals small pinhole leaks and cracks. Once the epoxy coating has cured, the water flows down the epoxy instead of the host pipe, which prevents future corrosion.

When epoxy pipelining is used to rehabilitate drain lines, vent stand, risers and sewer pipes, a pipe liner is used. The liner is either made from felt of fiberglass and it is cut to the exact length of the pipe to be lined. Once the liner has been prepared, it is completely soaked in epoxy. Then, it is threaded through the pipe and pressed against the sides of the host pipe with an air bladder. The bladder is left in place during the curing process, which can take up to 24 hours. Once the liner has completely cured, it is a pipe within a pipe. This means that the wastewater flows down the liner and not the host pipe, which extends the useful life of your drainage system.

To learn more about Pipelining and how it can stop corrosion and increase the lifespan of your plumbing pipes, give us a call at 815-790-9000.