To Line Or To Coat – Which Is Better?

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” I’ve been lining pipe for years now, but a new supplier says I should move to coating and dump the CIPP process I’ve been doing. Is this a good idea?” 

I’ve spent the better part of the past year developing a coating process and have well over 20 years of CIPP lining experience. In developing the coating process I’ve observed a few things regarding the process of coating and having the CIPP lining experience under my belt have compared each coating application by determining which would be easier to perform. As the runs get longer and the tie-ins get less, CIPP lining goes faster. When the tie-ins start adding up and the run is relatively short – 50′ or less – then coating comes into play. Does my history of experience in lining push me toward CIPP lining? Maybe, since it’s a proven technology that’s been around for almost 50 years with few problems. Coating is relatively new and developing but does offer a viable solution to fix leaking drain, waste and vent piping without tearing out sheetrock and flooring to fix a problem.

We do carry 2″ and 3″ material for lining, but the smaller sizes are harder to install. The coating process offers a solution. When in apartment buildings, lining materials may prove a challenge to get materials and equipment into place to perform the work particularly if moving out people from the quarters is not an option. Trying to open covered tie-ins inside apartment walls with 2 baths, and a kitchen tied into a typical plumbing stack is next to impossible. We don’t make lining materials that will line 1 1/2″ pipe that goes to 2″ that then goes to 3″ and finally ties into a 4″ drain, so here we are. Coating or tearing out piping are the only two options.

I’ve noted several companies claiming to coat several hundred feet of pipe, but logistics may not let you do that in every instance. First of all, I don’t know of cleaning device that’s going to properly clean hundreds of feet of pipe to the level of clean needed for coating. Assuming you got the pipe clean, the logistics of pushing a camera, hose(s) and cable to drive the coating process several hundred feet down the line is tough. It’s even tougher when all of that cable, hose(s) and camera cable comes back out and is laying in a pile at your feet.

If you are in the business of plumbing and/or drain cleaning and your business plan includes servicing a clientele that has drain, waste, vent and sewer problems, you may need both systems. That’s a question you have to answer and determine which markets segments you are going to cover and which ones you’ll leave to others. Dropping one technology for another may not prove the best option. Do you only carry a pair of pliers in your tool box to fix every problem you encounter? Same applies here. My conclusion is that if you are fixing drain, waste and vent inside a building coating becomes more viable. For mains extending out to the sewer main in the street, CIPP lateral lining makes more sense.


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