What Is CIPP Pipe Relining?

Last Updated On June 11, 2024

Updated on June 22, 2022



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What Is CIPP Pipe Lining

Were you told about CIPP pipe relining to repair your underground pipes after a sewer camera inspection discovered damage or found a leak? CIPP pipe relining is a great option, especially compared to more expensive methods that require extensive digging and excavation. 

Cured-in-place pipe lining is the latest trenchless technology available and offers the least expensive option. However, will it work for your situation?

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • What is CIPP pipe lining?
  • Are there any CIPP pipe lining limitations?
  • Heat vs. Light Curing for CIPP Installations 
  • Choosing a CIPP Contractor
  • Popular CIPP Pipe Lining Equipment

What's In This Guide?

      What is CIPP Pipe Lining?

      Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) Relining refers to the trenchless pipe repair process of creating a new pipe inside of the existing pipe if the host pipe has a leak or other signs of damage. 

      A pipe relining sleeve covered in epoxy resin gets pushed through the old pipe with a “bladder”. It must then harden, which generally takes about two hours. 

      CIPP pipe replacement works well if you need emergency service due to a burst pipe (usually caused by root intrusion or frozen pipes) or your damaged pipe has a blockage due to cracks that are unfixable with standard drain cleaning. It’s an improved way to repair a pipe under your slab or in your yard without digging.

      Watch this CIPP Pipe Lining Video 

      HDPE Pipe

      The CIPP process uses HDPE pipe, a type of thermoplastic pipe that is flexible enough for sharp corners and resistant to corrosion.

      CIPP installation using HDPE pipe lasts over 50 years!

      As opposed to pipe bursting, the HDPE pipe allows for maneuvering 90-degree angles, making it the best option when repairing pipes in awkward positions. Angle work is accomplished in conjunction with a robotic device and camera, which can be thought of as performing “pipe surgery.”

      How Does Cured in Place Pipe Lining Actually Work?

      Here are the steps involved in CIPP pipe lining:

      • Remove debris from the existing pipe.
      • Turn off water to the house and inform residents not to use plumbing.
      • Utilize a Vactor truck, or sewer vacuum, to keep the pipe free of debris.
      • Feed a liner into the sewer line from an access point (also known as a man hole).
      • Expose the liner to heat or ultraviolet light to cure, or harden, the liner inside the pipe.
      • Reestablish plumbing connections.
      • Verify lined piping results.

      Are there any CIPP pipe lining repair limitations?

      CIPP pipe lining will minimally reduce the diameter of your pipe, which can lead to slightly reduced water flow and reduced water pressure. However, most households don’t experience a noticeable difference.

      You will not be able to use water during the process unless you install a bypass system for any waste water produced by your home. Ensure everyone in the home knows not to use the plumbing unless you have an adequate backup drainage system in place.

      You may also notice a slight smell thanks to the materials used in the lining. Luckily, the smell will dissipate over time.

      There are other issues that may not be resolved by CIPP. If you have a belly in your sewer line or if joint connections have settled too far apart, a contractor may need to dig physical access to this location. This doesn’t mean that CIPP can’t be deployed to restore the other sections of your sewer lateral.

      did you know What Is CIPP Pipe Lining

      Safety of CIPP Pipe Lining

      CIPP pipe lining has been used for potable drinking systems since the 1990s, and the process is NSF/ANSI 61 approved, meaning it’s acceptable for use on drinking water lines. That said, CIPP pipe lining repair is often used in sewer pipes. 

      Some reports indicate that the resin curing process releases toxins into the air (up to 59), which can potentially be damaging. However, proper breathing equipment and dermal equipment can prevent respiratory and skin irritation. 

      Innovations in trenchless repair technology focused on more eco-friendly resin options are in the works at institutions like Purdue University.

      If you prefer not to use CIPP pipe lining for your job or it’s highly restricted in your area (such as in Los Angeles), you may opt for the following alternative pipe relining methods:

      • Slip lining
      • Fold and form lining
      • Spiral wound lining

      Heat vs. Light Curing for CIPP Installations 

      In order for the sleeve to harden, it requires heat or light.

      Light is generally considered the more preferable option as installers tend to have more control over the amount of light exposed to the material. In order to cure using light, the sleeve is inflated using pressurized air. Then, a light train brings light into the pipe to cure the lining.

      In order to cure using heat, the sleeve is inflated using cold water. Then a portable boiler is used to provide heat to the material in order for it to cure.

      Choosing a CIPP Contractor for Sewer Pipe Lining

      As a new technology, it’s important to choose a CIPP contractor familiar with the process and how it varies from other options. In other words, experience matters.

      You also want a CIPP contractor familiar with doing work in your service area, as the requirements may vary from location to location. Some cities require special permits. Their understanding the soil types, terrain, and pipe materials commonly used in your city are valuable and will reduce mistakes. 

      Popular CIPP Pipe Lining Equipment 

      See the following equipment required for CIPP pipe lining: 

      • Liner – the liner is the material that feeds into the existing pipe, typically made from polyester felt.
      • Resin – the resin is the epoxy coating on the liner that adheres to the pipe.
      • Roller – a roller helps apply the resin onto the liner. The liner doesn’t come with the resin applied to it, but is done prior to installation.
      • Pump – a pump allows air to enter the epoxy pipe lining and inflate it like a balloon. 

      You can find CIPP equipment and pipe lining supply through companies like MaxLinerUSA and NuFlow, but your plumber will be equipped with everything they need to do this job.

      Final Thoughts on CIPP Pipe Sewer Pipe Relining

      CIPP pipe lining is the best trenchless pipe lining option when you need sewer repair, as long as the pipe system accommodates the pipe lining process. Pipe coating can also work for water supply lines, as the epoxy does emit small levels of toxins. Compare to other trenchless repair options and pick the right method for your project. 

      CIPP Pipe Lining Repair FAQs 

      What is CIPP lining made of?

      CIPP pipe lining liner is made from felt that may also have a polyurethane coating.

      How long does CIPP liner last?

      CIPP liner turns into HDPE pipe, which lasts more than 50 years thanks to its strength and resistance to corrosion. 

      What is CIPP sewer lining?

      CIPP sewer lining refers to a lining that enters a damaged pipe and hardens to create a new pipe inside the old pipe. 

      Is CIPP safe?

      Yes. CIPP lining is safe. However, it may emit chemicals into the air that can also get in your skin or eyes.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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