Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 8/7/2014

Sewer line repair: reroute or trench and replace?

We have several breaks in our sewer line for our home. The home is on a slab and piping is PVC. We've had 5 quotes. 3 Companies want to tunnel and replace the pipes. 1 wants to spot repair (looking at repairing 5 breaks), the 5th company has suggested rerouting the plumbing. This would require tunneling to a bath located in the center of the home, and rerouting the plumbing from the master bath to the back yard, along the side of the home, and wrapping around to tie into the city line.

Rerouting is significantly cheaper, however the idea sounds a bit rediculous. What should be my concerns going with this method?

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

2 Answers


With 5 breaks, I certainly would not trust any of it - you either got some bad pipe, or you have some real movement going on there.

IF - and that is a big IF - you can reroute around the house and still have acceptable slope on the pipe, AND put cleanouts at each corner of the house to facilitate future cleaning, I would go with the reroute to get it out from under the slab - running just one stub branch to the central bath with the best slope possible to the reroute, and making sure a cleanout is installed in the house for that branch too.

If your run to the street (and consider both streets for possible connection with shortest run if on the corner) would be too flat with the reroute, then sounds like you are stuck with installing new lines under the slab. I am not at all keen on the "tunnelling" idea if more than a half dozen or so feet under the slab because there is no way they are going to get the tunnel compacted right, possibly leading to cracking o the slab and foundation. I would consider pipe bursting to put the new line in instead, or cutting the slab, trenching the lines in, and putting in replacement rebar and reconcreting instead of tunneling. However- if they mean horizontal drilling when they say tunneling, OK - but usually more expensive than bursting or cutting through the slab.

My recommendation - depending on what your city allows - if you are going with PVC require heavy-wall, and if you can use smooth-bore (not the corrugated) HDPE I would do that if allowed - or go with cast iron, because my experience with PVC over the years is dismal - MANY PVC failures, mostly apparently due to embrittlement over time or defective plastic in the first place. I have seen PVC sewer pipe "flow" with time and load to a totally flat pancake, and also seen it get so brittle that you can rap it with a screwdriver handle and it shatters, so my recommendation is go with something tougher if you can, at least for the under-slab portion at a minimum.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


You can use a company that installs a linner to fix existing pipes. I am getting quotes from This is a non invensive process, it may be expensive but worth the hassle of trenching your entire house.

Answered 2 years ago by killera

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy