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newbinca 04-29-2013 10:02 PM

Sewer Back Up/ Pipe Relining Question
We recently bought a new home. It is a two level single family home. The home is on a hill, and we have large trees in the backyard. During the first week after we moved in water backed up in the laundry room on the lower level, when a family member was taking bath in the bathroom upstairs. We contacted the home warranty company. The plumber ran cable to clear stoppage in the sewer line, but water backed up again the next day, when the toilet in the same bath was flushed. The plumber came back, ran cable again, and this time he said the stoppage is due to roots, therefore the warranty company would not cover it.

We had sewer inspected before we bought the home. Actually, we paid the guy for a second visit as well to complete inspection as he could not find a suitable cleanout to cover the whole length of the sewer line the first time. Still he missed a section, which happens to be the main sewer line for the whole upper level of the home!

We asked the guy who performed the inspection to come over. He ran a camera and found that there were roots near a test tee just before a clay pipe section outside home. The roots are from a hedge about 4 feet away from the structure, between patio and deck. He hydro jetted with a small jetter in his truck and claimed to have cleared the roots. According to him the problem was taken care of for now and we need not worry for another two-three years.

It was clear that hydro jetting is not a permanent solution. When we pressed him for a permanent solution, he suggested that we reline the 4 inch clay pipe with a fiber glass lining. He would remove about 6 tiles on the patio, dig up, remove the test tee and install a 27 feet fiber glass lining covering the clay pipe. This would cost us $4,000 and he would install a cleanout as well near where he would dig up, so that supposing we have a problem due to roots in the backyard in the future, water would at least not back up in the home. Supposing he had to only remove the test tee and install a clean out there (no relining) it would cost $1,200. (We would still have to continue to take care of the roots, but supposing sewer backed up again, it would be outside the home in this case.) We would have to get the tiles replaced by someone else in both the cases, and that cost is not included in these estimates.

We contacted a couple of other plumbers for estimates, and other approaches to solving the problem permanently. They ran camera as well, and we found out that the hydro jetting by our inspector had removed roots only at one place (near the tee before the clay pipe), but there is another place in the clay pipe where roots from the same hedge are intruding, and would require immediate attention.

Most of the sewer line in the backyard was replaced with ABS during the past 10 years, but it seems this section was not, as it passed under the patio, through a small retaining wall, and under the deck. The 4 inch clay pipe is actually in a very good shape, except for the root intrusions from the hedge in the couple of places.

One plumber suggested that we hydro jet again, this time with a more powerful (4,000 PSI) jetter, and remove the roots completely. We would then not have to worry about the roots for 2-3 years. We can follow up, if we want, with a rootx treatment every year. According to him, there is no need to reline the pipe at this time. He quoted $300 for hydro jetting.

The other plumber specializes in relining. He provided an estimate for $3,200 to reline 27 feet of 4 inch clay pipe. This would be for felt lining (not fiber glass) and since they would be digging away from patio (at the other end of the clay pipe, down the slope), the patio would remain intact. The tee, in this case, would not be removed, but will be capped. (The lining would be inserted from the lower end of the pipe in this case, just to be clear.) We negotiated the price down to $2,200, and he would also install a cleanout where he will dig.

Following the backups, we had the affected drywalls, baseboards and carpet padding removed, and the area completely dried up. That cost us $1,200. (There was no mold.) We still have the drywalls, carpet padding etc., not replaced, as we need to take care of the roots first.

I need your help in deciding whether to cut cost, spend just $300 and stop at hydro jetting at this time, or spend $2,200 for felt lining, OR consider other better alternative. We have just bought the home, so there are quite a few other projects competing for money. On the other hand, we cannot take another round of sewer backup, so a permanent solution which does not cost arm and length would be golden.

I also have a question regarding felt relining. Supposing we opt for that option, could there be any issue with high pressure hydro jetting, if we have a roots/stoppage problem in any other sections of the sewer line (The rest of the sewer line in the backyard seems to be of ABS; I am told that felt lining cannot withstand hydro jetting above 1,500 PSI. At that level, does hydro jetting even work?)

My last question is about home insurance coverage - would any of these costs be covered by the home insurance? I am under the impression that root issues are usually not covered by home insurance, also not sure whether the insurance company would actually pay for pipe relining. I do not think it would be a good idea to approach the insurance company for small expenses. Any thoughts?

Javiles 04-29-2013 11:20 PM

without physically looking at your situation i can tell you what we offer in similar cases, we first recommend replacement of the damaged section(s) second root extraction with Root treatment, all this eventually depends on the condition of the line, reline has its limitations and sometimes sold under misconceptions, i have seen roots return back into a line that was relined. for example i have lines that we have treated going on five years Root clear we have found that if the Root killer treatment is done correctly not only will it kill the roots remaining in the pipe it will kill the roots back 3 to 4 feet away from the pipe, I designed a injection machine that targets the specific area its very effective not sure if any other company does it in this manner at least not here in south Florida. i would recommend someone that can guarantee a root free line for a couple years obviously at a reasonable cost, buy your self sometime to gather more information on a permanent solution in your case. spend good money once so you don't have to do it twice. good luck

TheEplumber 04-29-2013 11:31 PM

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A lot info in your post but unfortunately I would want to see a video to make suggestions on the preferred route to take.
I will say that lining systems are a very good way to repair a line and he gave you a good price.
Lining up the pipe from the yard is probably the way to go. But this is based on your clay line being straight- no bellies or reverse grade- lining won't fix bellies. Once the pipe is lined you will not have root intrusions there. The only place for roots to enter would be the joints at the clean out (rubber couplings at the transition from lined clay to ABS)

Jetting is also a good method if the clay line has the previously mentioned issues, but you will need to be proactive and stay ahead of the roots. They will come back eventually.
Sounds like it boils down to money up front or jetting payments over a period of years.
As for the felt liner, I'm not familiar with it. The system I worked with was a felt liner impregnated with a 2 part resin mix. The felt itself was totally coated or saturated with resin on both side. If memory serves, we guaranteed it for 20 yrs.

Another method you didn't mention is pipe bursting. but it may not be an option in your case as it requires accessing the existing pipe at both ends of the repair location.
Hope this helps you some

TheEplumber 04-29-2013 11:40 PM

199 Attachment(s)
There you go, 2 opinions from opposite sides of the nation. What to do- what to do. :)
I hope you can see why you got different methods/solutions from your on-site plumbers. It's not cut and dried- I believe Javiles is much more informed in drain service than I am so put some value in his comments :thumbsup:

newbinca 04-30-2013 12:10 AM

Sewer Back Up/ Pipe Relining Question
Thank you very much for your quick and valuable responses, Javiles and E! Let me see if I can post the video - I will be able to do it only tomorrow.

newbinca 05-10-2013 12:59 AM

Sewer Back Up/ Pipe Relining Question
Javiles, TheEplumber: I was finally able to convert the video and upload it. You can access it at

Does the video make it more clear which option is better -hydro jetting (which would cost me $300) or relining (cost for which is $2,200)?

Sorry about the quality of video in the first half. The second half of the video is more clear than the first half. The plumber is a little unclear, on the video, about clay vs abs, and 4" vs 6", but you would know better.

For relining:
I am under the impression that a 27' section of 4" pipe needs to be relined. Does the video show anything different?

The roots are near a test tee just before the clay pipe section. (There are also roots at a place in the clay pipe section.) They are from a hedge about about 2'-3' away from tee. With the relining option we have, the tee would not be removed, but capped. What possibility do see that there could a root intrusion near the tee even after pipe is relined?

Do you see issues with hydro jetting in the future, supposing we decide to reline (it would be felt not fiber glass lining) and have a roots/stoppage problem in any other sections of the sewer line?

Would you still suggest that I go for hydro jetting at this time, save money for now and get any large work done after I am more clear about its complexities and benefits? (One of the reasons I cannot decide is because $2,200 for pipe relining seems like a very good price, which I may not be able to get in future?)

(Also, Javiles, TheEplumber, have you ever seen any home insurance cover the cost of sewer pipe relining?)

Thank you very much for your help on this subject!

joecaption 05-10-2013 06:40 AM

Coming from a layman, why not just dig up the line and replace the whole thing with new ABS?
No way for roots to get in, no more call backs.

MTN REMODEL LLC 05-10-2013 08:06 AM


Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 1176251)
Coming from a layman, why not just dig up the line and replace the whole thing with new ABS?
No way for roots to get in, no more call backs.

Joe may have a good point.... you did an excellent write up of the options offered by the plumbers.... BUT, depending on your DIY abilities and persuasion, and the logistics of your deck and patio, and the competing projects challenging your pocketbook.... are you sure you've considered
dismantling your deck and patio yourself, and just replacing that 27' of clay with ABS and solving the issue for good.

If you created access, and subsequent repair, and depending on access, replacing only 27' should save you significantly verse a questionable lining job... and permently solve your issue.

Pipe bursting I don't think is viable from either a access, nor small size of job. But just digging it up may very well be.

Your situation may not be amenable to a partial (or full) DIY... but generally it's not rocket science.

Just an idea if it fits your circumstance

TheEplumber 05-10-2013 10:29 AM

199 Attachment(s)
I rushed through the video while slurping down a bowl of Cheerios. But from what I saw, you need hydro scrub first. Then a new inspection can be done to verify it as a liner candidate. That first offset worries me- I had the sound muted so I didn't hear his explanation.
If you choose a liner- have the scrub deducted from the bill. It would need to be done anyways.
I'll check in later-

newbinca 05-10-2013 12:23 PM

Sewer Back Up/ Pipe Relining Question
joecaption, MTN REMODEL, TheEplumber - Thank you for your responses!

joecaption, MTN REMODEL - Given the size of the deck, and that the sewer pipe passes through a small retaining wall, and other complexities, the project is beyond my current skills. But, I get your point.

TheEplumber - I will put your suggestion to work, and check with the company which provided the relining quote whether they would be able to adjust the cost of hydro jetting, supposing we do indeed go ahead with relining.

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