Are you looking for information on how much trenchless sewer repair costs? If so, you’ve come to the right place!
An introduction to trenchless sewer repair
Trenchless sewer repair techniques quickly fix your damaged drainage pipes without the heavy excavation work associated with traditional methods. In other words, there is little or no digging involved and your damaged pipes are ready for use again within hours rather than days or weeks.
Trenchless methods vs conventional methods
Old school methods of repairing sewers are invasive and usually involve digging big trenches and destroying the interior of your home. They involve digging up floors and tearing down walls and this means major repairs afterward to fix the damage.
Trenchless repair, on the other hand, is minimally-invasive and usually just involves digging a couple of 4ft x 4ft pits or sometimes, if you’re lucky, no digging at all. Less digging means you don’t need to fork out a lot of money to repair the damage.
For more information on the differences between the two, check out Trenchless Sewer Repair: Pros and Cons.
So, let’s take a look at the cost now…
How much does trenchless sewer repair cost?
Trenchless sewer repair typically ranges between $135-$285 per linear foot of pipe. The actual cost depends on various factors including:
- Where you live
- The type of trenchless method used
- Pipe size
- Pipe shape
- Pipe location
- Pipe condition
Let’s take a look at each one of these in more detail…
Where you live
If you live in an expensive city or state, you should expect to pay more to have your pipes repaired using trenchless methods. For example, someone in Los Angeles and Orange County is going to pay more for the same work than someone living in Tulsa.
The type of trenchless method used
There are a variety of trenchless methods. The cost of the repair will depend on which one of them is used. Check out our in-depth guide to trenchless sewer repair for more information: Trenchless sewer repair: The pros and cons.
It’s usually more expensive to fix larger pipes because the materials cost more. However, this isn’t always the case. Since smaller pipes are often more difficult to work with, contractors sometimes charge more to repair 2-inch pipes than they do 8-inch pipes.
When a damaged pipe has many 45 or 90-degree bends, it’s often necessary to create additional access points. For example, the liner used in structural pipe lining can only around a certain number of bends before it starts to get tangled. This makes it necessary to open up one or more additional access points which, of course, increases the cost of the repair.
While trenchless repair isn’t nearly as invasive as conventional methods, it’s often necessary to dig a couple of 4ft by 4ft pits in order to create access points. Often times, these pits are dug at existing cleanouts without cutting concrete.
Sometimes, access to the pipe needing repair is restricted and a pit needs to be dug through landscaping, a driveway, or a swimming pool. There are even times when an access point needs to be opened up from within your home. However, when this happens the access point is still not as invasive as a trench.
If there are any underground utility lines near the damaged pipe, this could also increase the cost of the repair.
In most cases, the pipe’s condition doesn’t affect the cost of the trenchless repair. It affects whether or not trenchless methods will even work at all to fix the pipe.
There are a couple of exceptions though. If the damaged pipe is back pitched (that just means that the wastewater is flowing back toward the house instead of away from it) or collapsed, it will need to be dug up in order to be replaced. This will, of course, affect the cost.
Are there any additional costs associated with trenchless sewer repair?
Yes, these include…
- The cost of inspecting the pipe.
- The cost of removing any buildup or corrosion.
- The number of ‘tie-ins’ or branches that will need to be reinstated.
- The cost of repairing any damage to floors, walls, etc.
Before any trenchless repair work is done the contractor will usually perform a video inspection of the pipe. Some contractors charge for this while others only charge for it if you don’t end up hiring them to fix the pipe. You will also find contractors out there who perform free sewer inspections.
The damaged pipe will need to be cleaned and prepped before certain trenchless repairs like structural pipe lining or spray lining. If the pipe has a lot of buildup and corrosion, the contractor will often charge you a bit more for this. Some contractors still charge a flat fee for cleaning and prepping the pipe. However, this is becoming less common.
‘Tie-ins’ refer to the number of branches that will need to be robotically reinstated (i.e. re-opened) after structural pipe lining. The more ‘tie-ins’, the higher the cost of the repair.
Finally, there is the cost associated with repairing damage caused by the creation of access points. This is more of a problem with traditional methods of sewer repair. However, as we’ve already mentioned, trenchless techniques can, at times, also damage property.
Is trenchless sewer repair less expensive than traditional methods?
Most of the time, yes. However, it might not seem that way because the up-front cost is often a bit more. Here’s what we mean…
Let’s take a look at some average prices for sewer repair, based on our experience here in Southern California. Of course, these prices are affected according to the factors we’ve already discussed above:
Pipe lining: $135.00 to $185.00 per foot
Pipe bursting: $145.00 to $195.00 per foot
Spray lining or brush coating: $200.00 to $285.00 per foot
Traditional methods: Generally around $175.00 per foot. However, this does not cover the cost of repairing floors, walls, paint, or the cost of a hotel where you’ll need to stay while the repairs are going on.
Keep in mind as you read these prices that the cost for conventional sewer repair does not include the cost of repairing the damage. And the damage can be quite extensive.
Trenchless sewer repair usually doesn’t damage property or if it does, the damage is minimal. That means that, ultimately, the cost is less than it is for conventional methods.
Where can I find a trenchless sewer repair contractor?
First of all, you need a contractor who is qualified to fix your sewer using trenchless techniques. Not all sewer repair contractors are. So, when you find a contractor who says they do trenchless repairs, you need to verify that they aren’t merely claiming they’re qualified. You see, the equipment necessary to perform these repairs is very expensive. Qualified contractors own their own equipment. They don’t rent it.
It goes without saying that you need to ask them how long they’ve been in business, their experience using trenchless methods, and if they’re licensed and insured to do this work.
Finally, make sure they give you a written estimate that describes exactly what will be done, what materials will be used, what permits are necessary and who pays for them, the total cost, and when the work will start and finish.