In parts of the world with harsh winter and unforgiving frosts, the main culprit for burst pipes is cold weather. However, nothing similar applies for Australia, where even the coldest months are mild and temperate at worst. The water in pipes here doesn’t freeze and expand, causing bursts. The main reasons for pipes cracking and bursting here are unrelated to weather. At the same time, plumbing techniques and technology have advanced greatly in the last few decades, so whichever problem you’re experiencing with your pipework, there are two main remedies – pipe relining and pipe replacement. Read on and find out which one suits you better.
Common causes of pipe damage
Steel pipes were used for water supply lines for many older Australian homes. Over time, these have tendency to catch corrosion, which turns to rust. As a result, the pipe walls weaken and break under water pressure. Newer homes are build using PVC or copper pipes that are corrosion-resistant. What is even worse, the sewage lines in many older homes are made with clay pipes. While inexpensive and convenient at the time, clay pipes are a magnet for tree roots, which often crack them open, as they branch out for moisture. Finally, there’s the issue of hard water. The water we drink contains minerals which can build up along the walls over time, obstructing flow and accelerating corrosion.
Two approaches explained
Traditional pipe relining involves digging up the pipes and installing new ones, while pipe relining is a much more elegant procedure that focuses on fixing the damaged sections only. Prior to relining, an expert plumber drains the pipes and locates the critical spot with a camera. They remove the blockage and insert a piece of tubing that is inflated to dimensions that correspond to the original piece of pipe. The existing pipe and the new tubing inside it are then bonded with a strong epoxy resin for a permanent fix.
Which is more convenient?
Although it solves your problem in one stroke, pipe replacement involves digging trenches on your property. Not only can it destroy your garden, but it can also disrupt the paths and the driveway. Excavation is also a time-consuming job that can take weeks to finish. And if you include the restoration works you need to do to make everything as before, count in a month at least. Pipe relining, on the other hand, is a much more localized job. Professionals who specialize in trenchless pipe relining in Sydney use flexible textile pipe liners and compressed air equipment, allowing them to handle multiple bends of up to 90° and different pipe diameters through a single opening. Depending on the size of the project, the whole work can be done in a few days with minimal disruption to your property and routines.
Small vs. big issues
Pipe relining is highly suitable for repairing all types of problems involving structural damage. It fixes cracks, sags, misaligned pipes, as well as the notorious root damage. Having your pipes relined means having seamless pipework that not only fixes most issues but also prevents them down the road. On the other hand, pipe relining can’t fix extensive and severe damage, and this is where pipe replacement is the only option. Replacement is also strongly advised for extensive home renovation projects and additions, especially if there is excavation and landscaping involved.
Which method lasts longer?
However unbelievable it may sound, the truth is that relined pipes are more durable than brand new ones. New PVC pipes are not as strong as relined pipes, which include the existing pipe structure, the composite liner and a strong epoxy resin to hold it in place. Pipes repaired this way can last for decades without any touch-ups. However, both pipe relining and pipe replacement are jobs that require skilful and experienced plumbers who have all the equipment and offer a warranty for their work.
With all the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches in front of you, it’s up to you to decide which method is more suitable for your property and your current needs.