Pipe Bursting Vs. Slip Relining

Once upon a time, if you had a sewer line leak, a contractor would dig up your yard to reveal the pipe. The damaged section, or in some cases the entire pipe, would then be removed and a new pipe installed. The process could take days to weeks, your landscape would be destroyed, and the cost would be very high. Nowadays pipe lining is a less invasive, quicker, and more cost-effective option. You have two choices with relining — the bursting method or the slip lining method.

Pipe Bursting

To burst a pipe, a length of the new pipe is attached to a device called a bullet head. This bullet head is slightly larger than the existing line. It is then fed through the old line while dragging the new pipe behind it. The bullet head burst apart the old pipe so that the new pipe can replace it, with no need to dig out and remove the old pipe.


The most obvious benefit is that there is no need to dig a deep trench or tear apart the landscaping. Further, it costs much less to reline via pipe bursting than to complete a traditional pipe repair. Pipe bursting is also considered environmentally friendly since there are no chemicals involved in the process that could leach into the environment. Instead, you end up with a new pipe that no longer leaches raw sewage into the ground.

When to Choose

Pipe bursting is recommended when you need a quick fix, as the sewer line can be fully operational in less than a day. This method can even be used on pipes that have major damage since a new pipe is installed. As soon as the bursting is done, your line is ready to use. This method also provides a long-lasting sewer pipe. If you know that you will be in this home for decades, then choosing the bursting method so you won't have to replace the line again in your lifetime.

Slip Lining

Another form of relining is the slip lining, sometimes called CIPP lining. Instead of bursting the old pipe and relining with a new one, an epoxy or resin-coated sleeve is fed through the old pipe. It is then deployed so that it lines the entire damaged pipeline with a waterproof sleeve.


Slip lining can sometimes be less expensive than bursting methods, which is its main benefit. It takes a bit longer to be ready for use, as much as two days for the lining to cure, but it is still quicker and less invasive than laying new pipe the traditional way.

When to Choose

Choose slip lining only if your sewer line is in relatively good condition with just a few leaks, since slip lining can't fix major gaps or damage. Slip lining is also not as long-lasting as bursting, so keep this in mind when making a decision.

Contact a sewer pipe lining contractor in your area to learn more about your options.