An Introduction to Epoxy Pipe Coating
Though flood damage is one of the most expensive repairs, leaky pipes, pipe bursting, water heater supply line issues, and appliance leaks cost are among the other costly repairs any home or business owner might encounter.
Insurance companies and homeowners can pay anywhere from $3,500 to $25,000 per pipe damage-related incident. In fact, insurance companies across the U.S. spent $13 billion for water damage claims in 2017—this averages out to about $10,000 per claim.
If your home or business needs pipe repairs but don’t want to pay anywhere near that much, it may be worth considering epoxy pipe coating (sometimes referred to as epoxy pipe lining) as a repair method.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the reasons why you may need it, how it works, as well as its pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about how to handle your plumbing issues.
You Might Need Epoxy Pipe Coating If…
If your home or business is an older building, chances are your water system and pipes have degraded over time. Without inspection or proper preventative measures, this may lead to leaks. These leaks not only make your water bill higher but can lead to more extensive damage—this means more money to repair or stop the problem.
How might you know if you need epoxy pipe coating? Here are some signs to look for:
- High water bills: If you notice a steady, unexplained increase in your water bills, there is likely a leak somewhere. Even a small pinhole leak can cause a lot of damage if left unattended for a long time.
- Odor/molding: Water damage because of leaking pipes eventually leads to mold and mildew, which carry a distinct odor. If your home is suddenly experiencing an odor that can’t be explained, it’s a possible plumbing system issue.
- Puddles in the lawn: Water puddling in your lawn may indicate a slab leak. This is an issue with the pipes under the foundation of your home and, if left untreated, can lead to costly, time-consuming repairs.
- Sound of water dripping: If you hear water dripping even when no water faucets are running, there’s a leak somewhere.
- Low water pressure: A sudden drop in pressure indicates a problem somewhere in the plumbing system. If you didn’t manually adjust your pressure and notice that your sinks or showers are suddenly much slower, it’s a good indication of a leak.
How Does Epoxy Pipe Coating Work?
Epoxy coating is an alternative to traditional methods of pipe replacement.
It works by coating the inside of the existing pipe to create a new, fully functional pipe inside. The pipe lining seals any pinholes or cracks in the old pipe from corrosion. (You may also hear it referred to as cured-in-place pipe lining or CIPP.)
Epoxy-coated pipes are incredibly durable (some experts claim they can last up to 100 years), making them an economical alternative to traditional pipe materials that will break down within a few decades.
The pipe lining/coating process has three stages.
The first step to implementing epoxy pipe coating is to evaluate the existing or damaged pipes. This determines whether this plumbing method is a feasible solution.
Depending on the condition of the pipe system, repiping with PVC may be necessary. The evaluation can be conducted by using camera inspection to determine exactly what needs to be done to fix the issues.
A proper evaluation will also gauge whether the current piping meets the necessary requirements to accept an epoxy coating.
Once it’s determined that epoxy coating is the appropriate method, the preparation process begins. Before any epoxy coating can be applied to your existing pipes, they need to be cleaned.
We often use a high-pressure water jet sprayer along with other specialized tools to remove sediment, dirt, grease, and other build-up and debris from the old pipes. Certain types of pipes may also be sandblasted in the preparation process.
After all of the preparation has been completed, the new epoxy coating can be placed. This happens by running lines soaked in resin through the damaged pipelines.
The two-part epoxy resin cures in place to build a structural bond between the old pipe and the new lining without needing to dig any of the soil around the piping. Everything is left in place and homeowners get a new flow through your existing pipe without disturbing the ground as required in a repipe.
After the epoxy cures, the “new” pipe (that provides stainless piping) aren’t as susceptible to be penetrated by tree roots the same way the previous pipe system might have been. Your new piping is jointless, so there’s nowhere for the roots to come through. Calcium deposits won’t be able to stick to the inner walls of the epoxy barrier, either.
Pros and Cons of Epoxy Pipe Coating
Now that we know a little more about how the pipe coating process works, let’s review some of the method’s pros and cons. Reviewing these can help every property owner decide whether or not epoxy is right for them.
Pros of Epoxy Coating
- Cost-effective: Compared to traditional pipe replacement, the epoxy pipe relining can cost up to 50% less and likely come with a warranty. Remediation costs are more affordable since landscaping doesn’t need to be re-done. And any pipes behind walls/under floors can be accessed by creating small access points rather than fully removing drywall.
- No displacement: This method can be done without needing to leave your home. You can remain inside your home with minimal to no disruptions. In almost all cases, your water supply is restored the very same day. With ePIPE, your water supply is actually restored in just a few hours.
- Eco-friendly and safe: No need to worry about chemicals leaching into your drinking water. While copper or other traditional repipe methods sometimes leave your potable water supply vulnerable to leaching or lead, ePIPE’s LeadSmart program focuses on ways to protect this from happening.
- Durable: The pipe within the pipe will last longer than other pipe materials. Its extremely durable solution or formula is proven to stand the test of time. It eliminates leaks and prevents new ones from forming.
- Potential increase in resale value: If you ever decide to sell your home, a new plumbing system might create a great return on your investment.
Cons of Epoxy Coating
- Susceptible to delamination: This means the epoxy material fractures into layers and can sometimes (though very rarely) fail.
- Permanent solution: Once the epoxy is applied, it’s considered permanent, so there’s not an easy or quick way to “undo” the epoxy lining.
- Reduction in pipe diameter: After the coating cures, you’ll have a new pipe, but it will be slightly smaller in diameter since it’s working within the structure of the old pipe. The smaller diameter of the pipes may impact your water pressure and velocity.
Is Epoxy Right for You?
If you’re frustrated by frequent leaks and dealing with clogs, it may be worth considering epoxy-based pipe repair.
At ePIPE, we have a wide network of qualified plumbers who specialize in epoxy coating. Contact us to learn more about our services and how our financing options make the repair process more affordable.