When it comes to rehabilitating the plumbing leaks in your Chicago building, you can choose Sprayed-in-Place Piping (SIPP) or Cured-in-Place Piping (CIPP). While both of these options extend the useful life of your plumbing pipes and seals current leaks while preventing future leaks, there are some differences in the products.

Why Landlords and Building Owners Choose CIPP and SIPP

Chicago landlords and building owners choose CIPP and SIPP because both of these methods are non-destructive, meaning they only require minimal drywall removal, and where the drywall is removed, the pipelining companies install access panels, which helps in the future by allowing access to the plumbing pipes behind the walls. CIPP and SIPP also improve water quality by preventing the leaching of heavy metals from metal plumbing pipes and improving water flow.

Sprayed-in-Place Overview

Sprayed-in-place pipelining works exactly the way it sounds. A spray head is inserted into your plumbing pipes and threaded down the line via a special hose. As the hose is retracted, the spray head sprays a thin layer of epoxy or polyurea, which completely coats the interior pipe walls. The spray helps prevent future pipe degradation, seals small pinhole leaks and prevents future leaks.

Sprayed-in-Place Installation

Prior to installing the sprayed-in-place pipelining, the plumbing pipes to be lined are completely inspected. This inspection is used to determine if your plumbing pipes can withstand the preparation and installation processes. If certain pipes are determined to be too damaged or weak to withstand the cleaning and installation process, they will need to be replaced prior to installing the coating.

Once the inspection is complete and any extremely worn or corroded pipes are replaced, the plumbing pipes are cleaned. Depending on the company and their equipment, this could be a multi-stage process. The first step typically involves drying your plumbing pipes with heated air. This is because the corrosion on plumbing pipes is extremely hard when wet, and many pipelining contractors describe it as being like concrete and nearly impossible to remove. Once the corrosion is dry, it becomes extremely loose, and if the pipe were to be disconnected from the system, most of the debris and corrosion inside the pipe could be knocked out with a few taps on a hard surface. Since removing the pipes from the system isn’t feasible, especially since this is a trenchless process, the pipes are cleaned using rotating blades that scrape away all the corrosion down to the original pipe walls.

Once the pipes have been cleaned, a second inspection is performed to make sure all the debris and corrosion have been removed from the plumbing pipe. If corrosion is still present, another round of cleaning is performed. This process is repeated until every bit of corrosion and debris has been removed.

Once the pipes are clean, the actual lining process begins. It starts with the insertion of a flexible hose and spray head that is specifically designed for the diameter of pipe to be lined. The hose allows the coating to be transferred to the spray head, and it allows the spray head to be moved through the pipe.

It’s important to note that the spray head is positioned at the end of the section of pipe to be lined. Then, it is slowly pulled backward through the pipe until it reaches the access point. As the hose is retracted, the spray head rotates and sprays the coating onto the interior pipe walls, which is similar to the process of spray painting.

Once the coating has dried, another pipe inspection is performed in order to ensure that the interior of the pipe has been completely coated with the epoxy or polyurea. If the pipe walls are completely coated, the pipelining technicians restore water service and test the system. If the plumbing pipes are working normally, the process is complete.

Sprayed-in-Place Pros

  • More affordable than traditional pipe replacement
  • Completely trenchless
  • Faster than pipe replacement
  • Improves water quality
  • Extends the useful lives of your existing plumbing pipes
  • Reduces the need for pipe maintenance
  • Warrantied

Sprayed-in-Place Cons

  • Very thin coating
  • Some pipes may still need to be replaced
  • Installation process must be meticulously performed

Cured-in-Place Overview

Cured-in-place pipelining is a pipe coating or liner that is installed into the existing pipe and left to cure for a certain amount of time. It’s different then sprayed-in-place pipelining in that there are no spray heads inserted into the plumbing pipe. Instead, the epoxy is either blown in or soaked into a felt liner that is inserted into the pipe then inflated. Both of these methods are used to seal leaks, restore pipe function and prevent future corrosion.

Cured-in-Place Installation

Cured-in-Place pipelining installation also starts with a camera inspection in order to determine if the pipes can withstand the preparation and lining processes. If the plumbing pipes are determined to be in good enough condition to be lined, the process is started. If some pipes appear to be too corroded to withstand the process, they are replaced prior to installing the pipe liner, and access panels are installed to both cover the holes made in the drywall and to provide future access to those plumbing pipes.

The cleaning process is also extremely similar. All the corrosion and debris must be removed from the plumbing pipes so that the cured-in-place pipe liner adheres correctly to the pipe wall. If debris and corrosion are left inside the pipe, the pipe liner may not stick to the pipe wall, and bubbles and wrinkles may form. In order to ensure the pipes are thoroughly cleaned, a special rotating cleaning head is inserted into the pipe.

Once the head has been passed through the pipe, the pipelining company may also utilize shot to roughen the surface of the pipe and clean any remaining debris. The roughening process ensures adhesion by creating more surface area for the epoxy. You can think of it like putting together two pieces of a model. Before you apply the glue, the directions often recommend running a piece of sandpaper over the edges to help in the bonding process.

Once the cleaning process is complete, the pipe coating or liner can be installed inside the pipe. This creates a pipe within a pipe. If the goal is to line potable water pipes, a coating is often blown through the pipes. The coating is a thick, viscous liquid that is pushed through the pipe via pressurized air. As the coating moves through the pipe, it rolls over itself, creating a seamless liner that seals current leaks and small cracks and prevents future pipe deterioration.

If the pipe to be lined is a drain or sewer line, a felt liner is used. The liner is soaked in epoxy then threaded through the pipe. Once it is in place, it is inflated and pressed against the sides of the pipe via an air-filled bladder.

Once the coating or liner is in place, it is left to cure for a specific number of hours. After the time has passed, a camera inspection is performed to ensure the liner or coating has cured and is in its proper position. If everything is normal, pipe service is restored to the newly lined plumbing pipes.

Cured-in-Place Pros

  • Trenchless pipe restoration method
  • Less expensive and time-consuming than traditional pipe replacement
  • Minimal drywall and finishes removed
  • Extends the useful life of your existing plumbing pipes
  • Completely warrantied
  • Rated to last as long as 50 years

Cured-in-Place Cons

  • Some plumbing pipes may still need to be replaced
  • Proper installation technique must be upheld

CIPP with Nu Flow, Serving Chicago

Here at Nu Flow of Chicago, we offer CIPP pipelining services to residential homes and commercial, industrial and manufacturing buildings. We’ve even lined the pipes of sports stadiums and entertainment venues. We have the ability to line potable water pipes and drain and sewer pipes as well as vent stacks, which means we can line every single pipe in your building. If we come across a pipe that is too worn or cracked to withstand the pipelining process, we have professional plumbers that can replace these pipes immediately, which minimizes downtime and allows us to complete the pipelining restoration in a timely manner. We even offer a 10-year warranty on all our pipelining services.

To learn more about our pipelining services and to request and estimate or pipe inspection, call us at 815-790-9000.