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Old 03-02-2010, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Epoxy pipe lining VS full re-pipe

Oh lucky me, we have a slab leak at the house. We had an estimate yesterday to tear out a bunch of tile and jack hammer the affected area to repair for $850, to repipe around the leak would be at least $1,350--and that would go up depending on what they ran into with. On top of that, with the re-pipe the quote did not include any repairs to drywall they open up.

Has anyone had their pipes relined with epoxy? Is it durable? Can you tell me the approximate price you paid and size of job (i.e. # of bathrooms).
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Dave, I am a maintenance supervisor at a State Park Complex in Pa. & we had a leak in a terracotta sewer line in the basement of our Lodge. I did a lot of research on pipe relining & decided this was the way to go since I didn't have to tear up carpet & bust up cement. I hired a reputable company to do the work & the relining process worked beautiful. They let the epoxy set for 3 hours, & then deflated the long air tube that inflates to hold the epoxy to the pipe walls until it drys. They next inserted a camera to take a look at the repair & when the camera went past the repair area, I almost crapped! The terracotta pipe was all busted up into a million pieces. It seems the leak we had was washing all the dirt from the outside of the pipe area & when they put the air to the tube, there was nothing backing up the outside of the pipe. & it cracked. The repair was about 20 feet long, & cost $4500 big ones. We ended up pulling up the carpet & cutting up the concrete & tile floor anyway. They did televise the pipe before beginning the process, But the pipe must have had hairlines cracks in it that didn't show up. Not sure I would have this done again unless I knew the pipe was solid & in good condition!
Live & learn I guess........Ed
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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is it a single story house?
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It is a two story, 3.5 bathroom house with 2 laundry areas. So there would be lots and lots of repiping. What we are having an issue with is the copper hot water feed. When they do the epoxy, I was told the leak has to be repaired traditionally (at least with the problem we have), then the epoxy treatment can be done if we choose to do it to both the cold and hot lines at the same time.

The history is they used soft copper when building the houses 30 years ago and work was done on the main city water lines about 4 years ago that increased water pressure to our neighborhood. Since then, about a dozen other houses have had slab leaks, in some cases multiple leaks. One neighbor has done epoxy that I am aware of and he has not had any problems, but it has only been about 2 or 3 years since that was done.

We are having the traditional repair done tomorrow as it has to be done and seems to be getting worse. We are seeking experienced input on epoxy as it seems inevitable there will be more problems as time goes on. The advertised life of epoxy lining is 40 to 60 years, and I did see at least one with a 10 year advertised guarantee/warranty. But the guarantee is only as good as the company stays in business. SWMBO got a rough quote of $7500-$8500 to epoxy the whole house.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69 Rustang View Post

The history is they used soft copper when building the houses 30 years ago and work was done on the main city water lines about 4 years ago that increased water pressure to our neighborhood. Since then, about a dozen other houses have had slab leaks, in some cases multiple leaks. One neighbor has done epoxy that I am aware of and he has not had any problems, but it has only been about 2 or 3 years since that was done.
I'm curious if at the time the city did that work, they removed existing cast iron water OR sewer pipes and replaced them with plastic. If so...the issue with leaks is probably based on corrosion rather than any pressure changes. If a buried copper water line is hooked to an underground cast iron main, it essentially will not corrode ever, as the iron main will protect the copper (cast iron is annodic to copper). But, if years later the city replaces the cast iron with plastic...any buried copper will start corroding.

There's a lot of anecdotal information about this situation with old copper gas services going kaput when the old cast iron mains they were hooked to got replaced.

I don't know how that information helps you, if it applies. It's just of interest to me.

Maybe it would apply though. If true, the only pipe you need to worry about is the pipe that is in the concrete or underground.

Phil
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I had the same problem on some apartments I own. They are single story tho. I used pex pipe run over head thru the attic and re-plumbed the whole unit. The problem I have seen with soft copper was pinholes that were caused by 30+yrs of water flowing thru them. Good luck with your project.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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a buried copper water line hooked to an underground cast iron main, it essentially will not corrode ever, as the iron main will protect the copper (cast iron is annodic to copper).

I don't know how that information helps you...
It is interesting info and I can't answer what was done, I just know I have a leak and it is a problem I can't ignore. And history (in the neighborhood) shows the problem is likely to recur. So, a long term fix is needed. I need to repipe with either hard copper, plastic, or get an epoxy lining.

But you give me some great theory to BS with the neighbors about when they ask me how much I spent on my problems.... I'd rather be the dumb guy asking questions with no experience!
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1969 Fastback, 351C, TKO 600, T-lock, Shaker, slats, fold down, yadda yadda, etc.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Being soft copper lines I would go with the repipe method. The flexibility of soft copper might allow for future leaks even if epoxy lining is applied. Keep in mind our ground is prone to movement. Be sure to use Type "K" copper for any underground installation. We use it here in Dana Point Harbor for all reconstruction.

Do you happen to live near a flood control channel with steel sheet piling or maybe a large steel pipeline? These sometime have an Impressed Current Cathodic Protection System which can produce stray currents which will deterioate underground lines.
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