CIPP has revolutionized pipe replacement. Its trenchless technology allows quick, clean work that often yields superior results. Unfortunately, CIPP only works in specific cases with the right circumstances. The condition of the pipe needing replacement may rule out CIPP as a repair option due to the particular demands of the CIPP process. In order to be a viable option for CIPP, pipes need to be reasonably intact. Collapsed pipes are never candidates for CIPP, and CIPP isn’t a good fix for extensive corrosion, either.
CIPP needs space. In order to reline a pipe through CIPP, plumbers need access to the interior of the pipe. If the pipe has collapsed, then there is simply no way to push through. What’s more, CIPP depends, to an extent, on the shape of the pipe. Remember, CIPP is often considered relining, and while it can effectively replace a failing pipe from within, for it work, it still needs a hollow pipe.
Collapsed pipes cannot be relined. There simply isn’t anything left to reline. While CIPP can solve leaks and minor corrosion, it cannot lift the soil that has fallen on or into the pipe. The first step of CIPP involves soft materials using the existing, empty pipe as a shelter and mold. While the process does involve the inflation of soft materials, they cannot lift or repair collapsed sections. You can’t drive a car through a collapsed tunnel, and you cannot force CIPP materials through a collapsed pipe.
Corrosion makes pipes fragile. That’s the first problem for the CIPP process. Although CIPP doesn’t put extreme pressure on the inside of a pipe, it does exert mild force as the tube inflates and the resin is pressed into the right shape to cure. Even the process of getting the CIPP materials in place is a problem if the pipe is heavily corroded. It can even create greater damage. Extensive corrosion often leads to complete collapse, and we’ve already established that collapsed pipes cannot be fixed through CIPP.
If a pipe has corroded to the point where outside elements, particularly dirt and roots, have made a home inside the pipe, then CIPP cannot work. In addition to concerns about fragility, plumbers have to ensure there is enough space in the pipe for a new pipe to take shape and cure. Extensive corrosion often leads to debris, which blocks CIPP materials from getting into place and compromises the shape and integrity of the final, cured pipe.
CIPP relies on existing pipes to shelter soft materials as the resin of the new pipe cures. Without that solid, hollow space, CIPP is entirely ineffective. The trenchless process solves many problems, but it does have its limits. Collapsed pipes can only be replaced by traditional, trench processes. Extensive corrosion is also beyond CIPP’s aid. CIPP is a solution for leaky, yet overall, sound pipes. Once the structure of a pipe fails, it cannot be fixed from the inside out. Someday, there may be a trenchless solution for collapsed pipes, but it will not be CIPP.