Excavating and Replacing Drain and Sewer Pipes


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Problems with drain and sewer pipes can take a number of forms, and be solved in a number of ways, but in some cases the only remaining solution is replacement.

excavating-replacing-drain-sewer-pipesArriving at the need to replace piping is usually a process of ruling out less invasive options. In most cases, the decision to replace piping follows an inspection of the existing piping. Inspection cameras are perhaps the most effective method of diagnosis. A camera inspection will show whether the pipe is blocked with something that can be removed, whether the pipe is clogged with roots, whether the pipe walls are collapsed, or whatever else might be causing the problem.

If an inspection shows a blockage that can be removed, then hydro jetting or drain snake rootering can be used. Hydro jetting uses a powerful water jet to dislodge blockages, while drain snake rootering removes a blockage using a drain snake with rotating blades.

Failing these options, it’s possible that the pipe needs to be replaced. Causes of such problems can be:

  • Ice damage from freezing;
  • Damage from root penetration;
  • Pipe collapse from age; clay piping is particularly susceptible to age-related damage;
  • Experienced and well equipped plumbing experts such as Master Drain can diagnose problems and effect a pipe replacement that minimally disrupts your property, building, and landscaping.

Trenchless line replacement

Advances in plumbing have led to methods of pipe replacement that dispense with large scale digging. These “trenchless” techniques include pipe lining and pipe bursting.

Pipe bursting


Pipe bursting pulls a new pipe through the old one, pushing outwards as it passes, and breaking away the old pipe. While pipe lining may not be optimal in cases where the pipe being replaced is severely collapsed or has tight bends, pipe bursting can be used when enough room exists in the pipe to drag a pulling cable through the old pipe.

Both pipe lining and pipe bursting create durable and relatively long lasting solutions for some drain pipe replacement scenarios. Which of the two methods is more cost effective depends on the type of pipe, its configuration, and its depth. Importantly, trenchless solutions eliminate much of the need to disrupt paving, patios, landscaping, and other surface obstacles, possibly making them competitive in cost to conventional trenching.



Open trenching remains an option when conditions are favorable. When other work is being done at the same time, when the landscaping is being redone, or when the type of pipe being replaced or installed is not compatible with lining or bursting, then trenching makes good sense. Building codes might also come into play, limiting or prohibiting trenchless piping.

Ultimately, the choice of method will depend on the particulars of the job. Although trenching has a generally lower base line cost, the trenchless options are less disruptive.

Overall, the less disruptive the replacement technique used, the lower the all-in cost. These two benefits go together, but making the best choice of pipe replacement option requires the services of a knowledgeable, skilled, and well-equipped contractor. Master Drain can answer these questions.

Additional details on Drain and Sewer Issues

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We specialize in residential and commercial drain repairs, drain cleaning services and water pressure problems in Greater Toronto Area. We also service damaged pipes and drains caused by tree roots and will investigate to see if you are entitled to a rebate from municipality for such work.

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Some maintenance can be done by homeowners, but when professional tools and techniques are needed, contact Master Drain.

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