A Homeowner’s Guide to Trenchless Sewer Line Replacement Cost 

Have you heard about trenchless sewer line repair and replacement but have no idea what it is or how much it might cost? You’re not alone. Trenchless sewer line repair has become more and more popular in recent years, so we wanted to break down what trenchless sewers are, why they are so expensive, and the two most common operations for repairing a sewer line. 

Graphic of how a trenchless sewer line is installed.

What Is a Trenchless Sewer Line? 

Trenchless sewer lines are relatively new technologies that allow you to replace your existing sewage lines without digging up your lawn or driveway. The two most common methods of trenchless pipe repair are pipe bursting and pipe relining. Both of these methods are less invasive than traditional “open-cut” methods, meaning they don’t require any digging or heavy machinery. 

Pipe bursting involves using a machine to pull a new HDPE pipe through your existing pipes, breaking them apart as it goes. This method is often used when the old pipes have collapsed or cracked due to age or root damage from nearby trees. Pipe relining involves inserting an epoxy-lined sleeve into the existing pipes and then inflating it with air pressure. This method is often used when there is minimal damage to the existing pipes but they need to be reinforced in order to prevent future damage. 

Price to Replace

The average cost of a sewer line replacement is about $3,500, but it can range from $1,000 to $20,000, depending on your situation. Cost factors may include a sewer line camera inspection as well as the length and quality of pipe installed.

Why Is Sewer Line Replacement So Expensive? 

Trenchless sewer line replacement can be incredibly expensive because of the complexity of the process itself as well as the equipment required for the job. In addition, there is also labor involved in properly setting up all of the necessary equipment before beginning work on the repairs themselves. The materials used in these repairs can also add up quickly because of their specialized nature – things like polyurethane grout, epoxy resins, and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) piping can all add up quickly depending on how extensive your repairs will be. 

Broken sewer line filled with overgrown roots.

The 8 Signs of a Broken Sewer Line

  1. An Odor of Sewer Gas: You should never get an odor from your drains when your household plumbing is in proper working order. If you do, you need to inspect further to find the cause of why toxic sewer gas is making its way into your home.
  2. Slow Drains: When you have more than one plumbing fixture that drains slowly, it could be due to a broken sewer line that has separated due to the ground settling around your home. On the other hand, it could be because tree roots have infiltrated the sewer line and are obstructing the flow of the pipe.
  3. Clogs and Backups:  If more than one drain is clogging and spilling sewage onto your floors, however, you could be experiencing clear broken sewer line symptoms.
  4. Lush, Green Lawn Area: Lush spots in your yard that are green, vibrant, and thriving while everything around them turns brown are hard-to-miss signs of a collapsed sewer line. The water and nutrients from your sewer line act as excellent fertilizers, but this method of irrigation is not recommended long-term.
  5. Soggy Lawn: A broken sewer line can make your lawn soggy and foul-smelling. This can cause a sinkhole to form around the break and make this area of your yard unusable until the cracked sewer pipe repair can be completed. 
  6. Insect and Rodent Infestation: Rodents make their homes in sewers and can squeeze through the smallest cracks to find their way into your home. The same can be said for insects that can wriggle through a cracked drain pipe and breed in the stagnant water, allowing them to multiply rapidly.
  7. Mold & Mildew: If left unchecked, water infiltration from a sewer or water line can cause mold and mildew to spread rapidly. The spores from these fungi can cause severe allergic reactions, 
  8. Broken Slabs and Wall Cracks: If your home is developing new cracks it may be because you have a broken sewer line that is washing away the soil supporting the foundation. If the crack is caused by a leak, the situation is unlikely to improve over time.

Is Pipe Lining Worth It? 

Yes! Repairing your sewage lines with a trenchless method like pipe bursting or relining can save you money in both labor costs and materials costs over time. It eliminates the need for excavation and reduces disruption to your home since there’s no need to tear up your yard or driveway during installation. Furthermore, these methods can help extend the life of your sewage lines since they reinforce any weak points while still allowing water flow without interruption.  

How Much Can You Save?

Lining sewer pipes save residential and commercial properties up to 75% in costs as compared to replacing the old pipe with a new one. The cost of labor goes down as less hours are needed to complete the trenchless operation. It’s simply the best value out of all the repair methods just about anywhere else.

What Are The Disadvantages of Pipe Relining

The only notable disadvantage to no dig pipe relining is that it can’t always be performed. In the case of significant pipe damage, larger gaps in the pipes can make the moulding to the structure process all too difficult.


If you’re considering replacing or repairing your sewer lines, it’s important to understand both traditional open-cut methods as well as newer trenchless options like pipe bursting and relining before making a decision on which route you should take. While these methods may seem expensive at first glance, they can end up saving you money in both labor costs and material costs over time because they eliminate excavation and reduce disruption around your home during installation.


How Long Does Pipe Relining Last?

To date, we’ve determined that most epoxy pipe lining projects will last between 30 and 50 years, or about the same amount of longevity you could expect from having all the pipes in your structure replaced with new ones, at a fraction of the cost, disruption and time

How Often Should You Clear Your Sewer Line?

A good general rule is to have your home’s sewer lines cleaned out every 18 to 22 months. That may be difficult to remember, but think of it as a year and a half to slightly less than two years.

Can You Flush Sediment Out of Your Sewer Lines?

By running the cold water for 40 minutes, you ensure that it flows through the hot waters pipes and flushes the sediment out through the water heater drain hose. Repeat these steps with all other water connection, such as the laundry connection.

How Much Does It Cost to Snake a Main Sewer Line?

Snaking a main line—also known as rodding or augering—costs between $100 to $250, but can leave residue or smaller debris. Hydro jetting uses a high-pressure hose for major clogs and more extensively clears out the pipe. This service runs a bit higher at $350 to $600.

Adrienne Carrie Hubbard
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