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Roto Rooter Blog

What is trenchless pipe bursting

Published on:
October 3, 2021

We’ve all seen the big trucks out in front of a residence and the torn-up lawn and mounds of dirt that sewer line replacement procedures dictate.  Not only is this visual a complete eyesore for the rest of the neighborhood, but there’s also the added cost of bringing in a lawn repair company to patch up the damage left behind.  There is also the odor factor to deal with when repairing old sewer pipes and replacing them with new piping.  Time and labor costs are also factored in when doing a traditional trench-style sewer pipe line replacement.  The advancements in technology in recent years have delivered a better method of sewer pipe replacement procedures and that method is pipe bursting sewer line replacements.

Pipe Visualization

When you think of a traditional steel sewer pipe, you envision a long cylindrical tube with many weld points at certain spots.  These weld points are the weak points in the sewer line as tree roots can grow into and inside these weld points.  Tree roots don’t need very much space to grow as they can invade in spots as small as a pinpoint.  These roots can get inside the sewer line and cause backups and clogs between the home and the main city sewer line below the street.

The advantage of trenchless pipe bursting services is that the finished product is one solid high density polyethylene pipeline that is heat-fused together.  This means that there’s no points along the line for tree roots to invade which will enhance the life of the new sewer line by decades.  Tree root invasion is the most popular reason for a service call to homes which involves the external sewer lines.


The key word in trenchless pipe bursting services is “trenchless” as the installation doesn’t require a trench to be dug into your lawn outside.  The process of eliminating the old sewer line and creating a new one requires just two small dig points at the external start point of the line at your home’s basement masonry wall or sewer line outlet and the point near the street where the external sewer line connects to the main city wastewater line that runs underneath the street.

Through the use of hydraulics and a steel cable, a conical bursting head is slowly pulled through the old sewer pipe.  This bursting head breaks up the old sewer pipe in small pieces, as this is happening, the steel cable is slowly dragging the new polyethylene sewer pipe that will take its place.  The polyethylene pipe is then heat-fused to form one solid piece with no cracks and no malformations as it is mated to each connection point with the main line and your home.  

Saves Time & Labor

The time and labor required to do a pipe bursting procedure is much less in comparison to a trench job.  Trench job pipe replacements can sometimes take a couple of weeks or longer depending on the size and location of the sewer pipe.  Think of the time and effort needed to dig up long trenches from the home to the street deep enough to get to the sewer line.  In comparison, Plumbers can do a pipe bursting job sometimes as quickly as one day and most of the time, just two days in total to complete the job.

Other Advantages

With a pipe bursting sewer line replacement, you will also save money on lawn repair as you won’t need to fix your lawn afterwards.  We all know how pricey some landscapers and lawn repair jobs can be!  You also have the luxury of a “clean” worksite as you won’t be bothered by any rank odors or extended work sites that take up your entire lawn and property.  Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your property will be fitted with a durable high-quality polyethylene sewer pipe that will most likely outlive you and your family members!  The advantages of pipe bursting versus traditional trench pipeline replacement are overwhelming to say the least.  

Learn More

We’ve just scratched the surface of sewer pipe replacement procedures as there is a lot more information available to you.  You should always research from a wide array of plumbers and sewer line businesses and replacement methods to see which one will work for your unique property and situation.  If you are in need of sewer line replacement and are looking into the possibility of trenchless pipe bursting services, contact Roto Rooter today to learn more about their services.

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