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Dealing with aging, deteriorating pipes is an inevitable reality for many homeowners and businesses. Over time, issues like corrosion, cracks, root intrusion and more can develop in old piping, causing leaks, clogs, water damage or even sewer backups. Traditionally, the only trenchless pipe repair method was full traditional pipe replacement – a messy, disruptive and costly endeavour.

Nowadays, trenchless pipe relining offers a better solution. This innovative process involves coating old existing pipes with epoxy resin to create a smooth, watertight barrier. Pipe relining eliminates all the digging while restoring your pipes from the inside out with minimal demolition required. It can extend the life of your pipes for decades while avoiding excavation.

The key question many have is - what pipe lining materials can actually be relined? Not all pipes are suitable candidates for this trenchless method. In this article, we provide a full compatibility guide detailing which pipe types can be successfully relined and which cannot. We’ll overview the most common materials in residential and commercial plumbing systems and if they are ideal for pipe relining. Read on to discover if pipe relining is the right solution for your damaged pipe!

What Pipe Materials Compatible With Pipe Relining

When it comes to pipe relining, not all materials are created equal. Only certain pipe types can be effectively restored with epoxy resin. Below, we detail the most common pipe materials compatible with the pipe relining process.

Cast iron pipes

Cast iron pipes were originally extensively installed underground for sewers and drainage lines. But over decades of use, they have become vulnerable to corrosion and build-up that causes cracking. Pipe relining applies a protective epoxy barrier that seals cracks and fully adheres to the cast iron walls, preventing further deterioration.

Galvanised steel pipes

Galvanised steel was frequently used in older plumbing systems. It is susceptible to internal rust and corrosion over time. Pipe relining counteracts this issue by smoothing the inside walls and creating a lasting epoxy layer. This eliminates flow restrictions and capacity loss.

Copper pipes

While durable, copper pipes ultimately harden and develop pinhole leaks and erosion. Relining a copper pipe involves clearing debris and applying a thin epoxy coating. This seals any cracks and pitting, restoring normal water flow. The epoxy bonds firmly to copper surfaces.

Copper Pipes Closeup

Concrete pipes

Concrete pipes are vulnerable to cracks from earth shifts, tree roots, groundwater damage and general aging. Relining applies a seamless epoxy barrier that bonds to concrete and structurally mends any cracks or gaps. It prevents further root and water intrusion into the damaged sewer pipes.

Incompatible Materials

While pipe relining works well for certain materials, it is incompatible with some pipe types. Plastic pipes and lead pipes present some limitations for epoxy resin application and effectiveness.


PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a rigid plastic commonly used for plumbing and drainage pipes. While durable, PVC can become brittle and crack over time. However, applying epoxy relining to PVC is generally not recommended. PVC has a slick surface that the epoxy has difficulty properly adhering to.

Grey Pvc Pipes

ABS plastic

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is another type of rigid plastic pipe. It is also prone to cracks and breaks as it ages. Like PVC, the smooth surface of ABS makes it a poor candidate for pipe relining. Proper epoxy adhesion would be difficult to achieve.

Lead pipes

Lead pipes pose a contamination risk and should be replaced. While technically possible to line lead pipes with epoxy, it is not advisable. Disturbing lead pipes could increase lead exposure. Any leaks in the epoxy barrier would also create a lead contamination issue.

Assessing Your Pipes

Determining if your existing pipe is a suitable candidate for relining starts with a thorough inspection. Homeowners may be able to check visible pipes and sections like in the basement. However, it’s best to have a professional plumbing contractor conduct an inspection for a full assessment.

Closeup Burst Copper Pipe

They have the tools and expertise to properly evaluate pipe materials, condition, existing damage, location, size, accessibility and other factors. A detailed inspection involves scoping interior pipes with a sewer camera to visualise the material and extent of deterioration. This allows for a reliable analysis of whether relining is advisable and will successfully restore and prolong your pipes.

Determine if Relining is Right for You

Once you’ve had your pipes thoroughly inspected, you can make an informed decision about relining. Consider factors like the extent of damage, number of affected pipes, and locations that require repair.

Compare the cost of trenchless relining to full replacement. For less severe spot pipe repairs, relining may be the more affordable option that still restores functionality.

For extensive deterioration, replacement may be needed. Weigh the benefits of avoiding excavation and restoring flow capacity with epoxy barriers versus installing a brand-new pipe. Relining adds decades of life to an old, damaged pipe when selected appropriately.

Water Flowing Pipe

Get the Full Compatibility Rundown

Pipe relining offers a minimally invasive, cost-effective solution for restoring old, damaged pipes without full replacement. However, it is crucial to consider pipe material compatibility when determining if relining is right for your plumbing system.

Cast iron, galvanised steel, copper, and concrete pipes are often good candidates for epoxy barriers as long as deterioration is not too severe. On the other hand, materials like PVC, ABS, and lead pipes present limitations for proper relining.

The experts at WP Plumbing can assess the specifics of your old pipes and provide honest guidance on relining versus replacement. Contact us today to schedule a thorough inspection.

We have years of experience determining when pipe relining services are the best option and when new pipes are needed. Trust WP Plumbing to analyse your system and explain the most cost-effective, long-lasting pipe relining solutions. Investing in professional pipe relining or replacement from our team guarantees your plumbing system will function smoothly for years to come.

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