Are you thinking about a traditional plumbing pipe replacement for your Chicago building? If your pipes are between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, a pipe replacement may seem like the ideal solution. After all, once they’re replaced, you’ll receive the maximum useful life out of the new pipes, but have you considered the demolition costs? This involves more than just extra money, this also involves time, a mess, inconvenience, and cleanup.

Downfalls of Traditional Pipe Replacement

The biggest benefit to a traditional pipe replacement is that you know you have new pipes, and they’ll be reliable for their entire expected lifespan if they are properly installed. However, there are some downsides to getting all of your building’s plumbing pipes replaced that many building owners, property managers, superintendents, and HOAs don’t think to consider.

It Needs a Permit

Repiping a building needs a permit in Chicago. Typical plumbing repairs to unclog drains and replace broken sections of pipe do not need a permit, but Chicago mandates that if you are constructing or altering the plumbing, the work does have to be permitted, and it must be done by a plumber who is certified and licensed.

Time to Install

When you think about time to install, consider repiping the average home, which is usually between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet with two bathrooms and one kitchen. This can take anywhere from two to three days to an entire week, and that’s just a small home. When it comes to commercial buildings and multi-unit tenant buildings, it may take months to completely perform the repipe.

Opportunity for Mistakes and Installation Errors

While professional plumbers in Chicago don’t intend to make mistakes or installation errors, they can happen, and when you’re talking about the entire repiping of a building, there’s a lot of room for mistakes. The plumber could accidentally over-tighten or under-tighten a fitting or used mixed materials that are not compatible that could lead to premature corrosion. When it comes to drain pipes, they could be hung at an improper angle, leading to waste and wastewater building up in the pipe and leading to partial and complete clogs. The latter is especially important when laying new sewer pipes because a miscalculation could lead to wastewater backing up into your building.

Mess and Inconvenience to Employees, Residents, and Visitors

A total building repipe is a major project. It starts with getting a permit and ordering the needed plumbing materials. Then, the plumbers turn off the water to the pipes that are to be replaced for that day. This means that those residents will not have access to water until the pipe replacement in that section is complete. Next, the plumbers will cut through the drywall and remove finishes in order to access all the pipes. This often means entering the tenants’ apartments and condos for an extended period of time. Reaching the pipes also creates a lot of noise and dust. This means that some tenants may have to leave their units while the work is being performed, especially if they have allergies or breathing issues. Not to mention, the plumbers need access to those units for as long as the work is being performed in that area. Once they’re finished, your residents may be left with holes in their walls and exposed pipes until the drywallers are hired. Then, another crew of contractors will have to enter the apartment in order to perform the finishing work.

Drywall Repair and Finishing Work

In order to reach your existing pipes, the plumbers must cut through your drywall and potentially remove sections of flooring as well as ceiling tiles. This is because plumbing pipes are hidden inside walls, floors, and ceilings to improve the aesthetic value of the building. The bad news is that plumbers don’t typically perform drywall work. They may put back ceiling tiles and flooring tiles if those items are still in good condition, but they will rarely patch and repair drywall. This means that you may have to hire additional contractors for the drywall repair work and finishing work. If you own a historic building, this could mean having to hire contractors that specifically work on historic buildings so that the finishes remain period accurate.

Cost of Pipe Replacement Plus Finishing Work

Commercial pipes cost between $14 and $15 per square foot. The average cost to repair drywall is $50 to $75 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. When you add these costs together, it can more than double your anticipated pipe replacement project.

How to Save a Million Dollars on Your Pipe Replacement with a Pipe Restoration

If you’re looking to save money on a total building pipe replacement in Chicago, you may want to consider a pipe restoration with epoxy pipe lining from our technicians at NuFlow. One of our projects was at a condo at 1250 N. Lasalle where the hot water pipes had corroded and were near the point of total collapse. Initially, they were considering a total pipe replacement and received an estimate of 2.5 million dollars. Shocked at the price, they decided to contact us at NuFlow to see how much epoxy pipelining would cost. Our estimate was a million dollars cheaper than the traditional pipe replacement estimate. Of course, we did our due diligence before starting the project by performing an inspection and lining one hot water riser as a test. Our test pipelining was a success, and we went ahead and relined every hot water pipe that needed to be refurbished. The end result was that the condo saved a million dollars on its plumbing project.

Epoxy Pipe Lining for Plumbing Pipe Restoration with NuFlow Serving Chicago

If you are looking for an affordable and more convenient way to restore your plumbing pipes without the hassle of a traditional pipe replacement, epoxy pipelining may be right for your Chicago building. Here at NuFlow, we are experienced, qualified, and licensed to line pipes in Chicago and the greater Chicago area. We even have a master plumber on staff to inspect all of the work, and if a piece of pipe can’t be lined, we can replace it without having to call any additional contractors. We also don’t leave holes in your drywall. Instead, we create access points with doors. This means there is no cleanup once we line your plumbing pipes.

Another benefit of the pipelining process is that your residents are not without water for the entire duration of the project. Instead, the water is turned off during working hours. Once the workday is done, your residents will have access to warm water for the evening and overnight. This means that they can still cook, clean, and take a shower. Overall, the process of pipelining is faster, more affordable, and more convenient than a traditional pipe replacement.

To learn more about pipelining and how it can save you money, give us a call at 815-790-9000.