What is Trenchless Plumbing?

The Inside of a Clean Sewer Pipe.

What is trenchless plumbing?

When underground pipes burst or break or are otherwise damaged, many people visualize their yards and property being dug up with yards of trenches, and imagine costly repairs. While digging trenches may be necessary in some instances, many plumbers today prefer trenchless plumbing solutions to repair underground water and sewer pipes.

One of the biggest appeals of trenchless plumbing for both consumers and plumbers is the fact that it requires minimal digging. Instead of tearing up yards and foundations, with trenchless repair, the only digging required are access points at either end of the pipe involved. Depending on the type of repair involved damaged water or sewer pipes are either relined or burst and replaced. 

The process leaves you with durable pipes that will last for years to come, and will cost you less than a traditional trenching repair. There is a smaller crew involved, so labor charges are lower, and less equipment involved. You also avoid additional expenses like repairing your landscape or foundation once the plumbing is repaired.

If you are experiencing problems with your underground water or sewer lines and need dependable and effective trenchless plumbing repair in St. Louis, MO, count on the professionals at Flow King Rooter. Find out how we can help you by calling 314-348-7503.

How does trenchless plumbing work

Depending on the repair needed, trenchless plumbing involves various processes. When repairing water or sewer lines without digging trenches, usually one of three methods is used.

Directional drilling involves inserting and connecting new pipes by boring down to a certain depth and drilling horizontally underground the length of the new pipe. The pipe is then inserted into the tunnel and connected.

With pipe bursting, a bursting head is inserted into the old pipe, and breaks apart the old pipe, while pulling a new pipe into its place. Pipe relining involves threading a resin-soaked flexible pipe through the damaged pipe, creating a pipe within a pipe. The resin hardens and seals the new pipe inside the old one. Although the new pipe is slightly narrower than the old, it doesn’t impede movement of material through it.

Trenchless sewer vs trenching

When it comes to weighing options between trenchless plumbing and trenching, most of the time trenchless is preferred. Here are some pros and cons of trenchless plumbing and sewer line repair.

Trenchless sewer repair pros and cons


  • Minimal digging is required.
  • Generally a quicker process than trenching. Even pipe relining, which can take more than a day, normally takes less time than trenching.
  • Most repairs are very cost-effective. Trenching has the added cost of repairing the areas that have been dug up. 
  • Repairs can normally be made on pipes of any size.


  • Some problems like bellying, when the sewer pipe has collapsed, can’t normally be repaired with trenchless plumbing
  • Some trenchless methods like pipe relining create smaller diameter pipes.
  • Occasionally damaged can be caused to the pipes if care is not taken.
  • Pipe liner may not be able to make multiple bends.

How long does trenchless sewer repair last?

When repairing a sewer line or water line with trenchless plumbing, you can expect to get a very durable pipe. Expect the repair to last close to a lifetime. Pipes repaired using trenchless plumbing can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years, and many companies will offer long-term warranties on the materials.

How much does trenchless pipe repair cost?

Typically, depending on the type of repair, trenchless plumbing averages around $4,000 to $13,000. Of the types of repair, pipe relining tends to be the most expensive. Pipe relining can climb to as much as $20,000. These prices may sound expensive, and you may wonder, “Is trenchless sewer repair cheaper?” When compared to traditional trenching, trenching repairs are much cheaper. Traditional repairs can run up to $25,000 or more. You’ll also have additional expenses for landscaping and hardscaping repair once the plumbing repair is done.

Is a broken sewer pipe covered by insurance?

More often than not, standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover sewer line repair, even in the case of natural disasters. Usually homeowners have to have special riders attached to the insurance policy specifying sewer line damage coverage as part of other structures coverage, which may cover up to 10% of your home’s insurance value. Some insurers offer specific policies to cover sewer lines, which may cover finding blocked or collapsed lines, replacing or repairing damaged portions of the line, replacing or repairing damaged seals and joints, welding, pipe cutting and fusing, and excavation and backfill.

While sewer lines aren’t normally protected by your homeowner’s insurance, your roof normally is, especially when severe storms strike and your roof is damaged by hail. Hail damage roof repair is normally covered by insurance, although how much is covered will depend on the policy. It’s always best to check with your insurer to see what is covered if you have questions.

Plumbers Remove a Sewer Pipe.

Trenchless plumbing near me

When you have problems with your underground plumbing and are searching for trenching plumbing in St Louis, MO, look no further than Flow King Rooter. We offer a full assortment of plumbing repairs. Schedule an appointment with us by calling 314-348-7503.