What Is a No-Dig Trenchless Sewer Repair and Is It Worth It?

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated March 24, 2022
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Highlights

  • No-dig trenchless sewer repairs help preserve your lawn.

  • It costs between $60 to $250 per foot for a no-dig trenchless repair.

  • Trenchless sewer repairs cost slightly more than trench repairs but save you in landscaping costs.

  • There are four types of trenchless sewer repairs, though some require minor digging.

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When a pipe bursts in your lawn, the initial panic is compounded by the thought of heavy excavators digging away at your precious lawn and garden. But this is a reality for many pipe repairs—that is until no-dig trenchless sewer repairs came along. Here’s all you need to know about this lawn-saving sewer repair option.

What is a No-Dig Trenchless Sewer Repair?

A trenchless sewer repair is a type of piping repair that avoids an unpleasant excavation of your yard and the hefty price tag that goes along with it. Each type of no-dig repair avoids the trench process of conventional sewer repairs, though not all options are completely excavation-free. 

Since you don’t need to have a giant excavator digging up your lawn, you can avoid yard repair expenses, ultimately saving money.

4 Types of Trenchless Sewer Repairs

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There are four types of repairs that pros might use on your pipe. The type of repair that is best for your pipe can vary depending on the age of the pipe, the type of piping in need of repair, and the accessibility of the pipe. So, let’s have a look at each type before you replace a sewer line:

1. CIPP

Cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology relines damaged pipes by inserting a fiberglass tube coated with epoxy resin into the damaged pipe and then blowing it up like a balloon. After a few hours, the epoxy hardens and creates a pipe within a pipe.

CIPP technology allows contractors to make sewer and water line repairs with minimal disturbance to streets, sidewalks, and landscaping. After the new lining is put in, a robotically controlled cutting device reconnects the sewer line to the main. The new epoxy lining is jointless and corrosion-resistant, unlike most conventional pipes.

However, CIPP technology shrinks the diameter of the pipe since a new pipe is essential inserted into the old one. For this reason, it might not be a good fit for pipes that are already on the small side.

2. Pipe Bursting

This method might sound like someone will come in and explode your pipes, and essentially, they are! Pipe bursting works by inserting a bursting head into the damaged pipeline. A new piping piece is connected to the bursting head and threaded through the old line. Once this happens, the old pipe breaks and gets pushed out while the new pipe remains in place. 

Pipe bursting is ideal for homes that have old pipes that need replacing, or piping that is too small for the job required, as you can ask your pro to install a larger sewer pipe. However, keep in mind that this option requires two excavation holes for inserting the pipe and removing the old one, but it’s minimal compared to traditional trench repairs.

3. Spray Lining/Brush Coating

Spray lining is another sewer repair option that uses epoxy, resin, or some form of polymer to seal the leak. The sealant is either installed by a spray or a brush. This repair technique is non-evasive, as the equipment for coating the pipes can simply enter through a direct access point. It’s also budget-friendly and quick to install, taking only just a few hours in some cases.

On the contrary, the pipes typically take a day to cure, and this method will not work on any pipes with major damage or cracks.

4. Slip Lining

The last option is also the oldest no-dig sewer repair method. As with the pipe bursting method, slip lining requires two holes, but instead of bursting the pipe, a pro pulls a plastic slip liner into the pipe to seal the leak. 

This trenchless sewer repair technique works best on larger pipes rather than small pipes, as the liner decreases the diameter of your pipe, restricting the flow of matter through it. Therefore, you’re unlikely to use this method in residential homes.

Pros and Cons of a No-Dig Trenchless Sewer Repair

When deciding between a no-dig trenchless sewer repair and a traditional trench repair, you’ll want to consider these advantages and disadvantages to choosing a no-dig option:

Pros of No-Dig Sewer Repairs

Choosing a no-dig solution for your pipe comes with a handful of benefits:

  • It requires less digging. In some instances, your yard might not need any digging whatsoever to fix a leak.

  • It’s quieter. Since you won’t need trenches in your yard, there won’t be loud excavators digging away at your lawn for hours.

  • You save money on landscaping. No one likes seeing their well-tended rose gardens or deck destroyed by unforeseen circumstances such as a busted pipe. You can avoid paying potentially $1,000s to have your yard repaired by opting for a no-dig solution.

Cons of No-Dig Sewer Repairs

There are a few cons to no-dig sewer repairs, which include:

  • It’s expensive. Since no-dig trenchless sewer repairs are less hands-on than traditional trenches, they often cost more than a trench repair. Remember, however, it does eliminate the need to budget for lawn repair after digging.

  • It’s not always a possibility. Very old, narrow, or damaged pipes might not be eligible for repairs using a trenchless sewer repair method. In which case, you’ll have to opt for a trenched sewer repair.

No-Dig Sewer Repair Cost

No-dig sewer installations cost $60 to $250 per foot, so if your pipe only needs minor repairs, you can get away with paying far less than you would to have your entire yard excavated. Compare that to your typical sewer line repair cost, which can fall anywhere between $50 to $250 on average to replace or $4 to $12 per foot just to dig the trench.

Costs may vary depending on your location and the job's complexity, so speak with a sewer line repair company near you to ensure that minimal damage incurs in your yard.

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