Sign In to join the community | Help

Should I have my pipes relined? Or should I replace the plumbing?

Here's a question about possibly relining old plumbing that's become leaky and corroded. 


It comes to us on a short Apron blog post about how to fix plumbing leaks temporarily.  


Rob writes: 


"I live in an old house and think that a temporary fix is not going to cut it. I am curious what others think about relining pipes. It seems that my two options are either cut a whole in my wall (which will be a major hassle with dry walling it later) or relining it. I have done some research about the benefits, including ePipe, but still have no idea if that’s the right way to go. Any input for a long term solution would be appreciated!"


What is the collective wisdom here? Is relining old pipes worth it? Or is Rob better off tearing out the old plumbing and replacing it with newer materials?


-Craig, from the Apron blog

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2013-03-12T16:07:43+0000  by HomeDepotCraig HomeDepotCraig

Hello Craig.


I suppose that it's possible to write a book on all the different facets of this discussion, but let me try to summarize with a few "it depends" comments.


The Apron blog on temporary plumbing fixes is just that - how to get by until a plumber can visit and properly replace the leaking pipes.  So again does our Project Guide focus on the emergency fix.  Having pipes relined or replaced is the permanent fix.


Pipe relining is fairly common for sections of drain and sewer pipe where the cost of excavation becomes prohibitive.


The ePipe and other epoxy lining procedures are used on water and gas supply pipes in an entire home or divisible portions of commercial buildings.  The process involves draining the supply pipes, drying their insides and sandblasting them clean.  An epoxy coating is then blown into the system and allowed to set up.  This provides a coating not unlike what you often see inside tin cans of food.  If I can generalize a bit, the cost of epoxy relining will be similar to the cost to repipe a typical home with drywall repair and painting added in.


When does relining becomes the obvious best choice?


Where time is a big issue comes first.  Ripping out and replacing all the plumbing in a home and then repairing the structure takes time.  This is especially important where tenants will be displaced in a multi-unit building.


Next would be where access to the plumbing requires more expensive repairs than simple drywall/plaster patches and paint.  Underground/foundation piping and homes with extensive tile walls or concrete floors,etc. may dramatically boost the cost to replace all the pipes.


For those who have lead pipes, an epoxy coating can reduce the lead content in drinking water.


The last one I can think of has to do with epoxy being simply better at resisting corrosion due to poor water quality than bare new pipe.  I would prefer to treat the water as it enters the home, but this can be an issue as well.


So if relining has all these advantages, why repipe?  In short, a reline keeps your old pipes and may have a 10 year or so warranty.  All new pipes should last decades longer.


OK, so Rob has a leak that requires he cut a hole in drywall to fix.  That is what a plumber would likely do.  Replacing one bad pipe or leaky joint and fixing the wall will easily be the cheapest way to go compared to a whole house epoxy project.  If Rob is really considering a whole house fix, then his best bet is to have a plumbing contractor that does both types of work evaluate the pros and cons which apply specifically to his home and his needs.  It depends....







Posted 2013-03-12T18:46:46+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
I realize I am a bit late in the reply, but just in case someone else reads this, I will give my two cents. We had some pinhole leaks in the piping of our company and opted to reline because the other choice would have been to break into the concrete flooring or tear into the ceiling. We couldn't afford to close up our business for more than one day, so relining was the best solution for us. Strangely it is cheaper too which always amazed me. I think the downside to relining is that vp copper is obviously a better and stronger material - so it's more of a long-term solution. I guess it all depends on what you can afford to do and how much time you can allot to it. If you want more info about relining I found this site to be very informative -
Posted 2013-04-25T22:31:50+0000  by Robjob
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question