Pipe Repair: Pipe Bursting


If you have a sewer line that is broken or needs to be replaced, you know that it can be an overwhelming task. How many feet need to be replaced, if it’s a crack vs. hole, trench vs. trench-less - the list goes on. With so many choices out there, how do you know which one is the right one for your home?

At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, we have a dedicated drain department that is trained and certified on all types of drain repairs. This means our team can help you figure out which option is best for your home and your situation. We also want to give you our knowledge on different pipe repair options so you know with confidence that you’re making the right decision for your home.


If you’ve read our other pipe repair articles, you’ll know that there are 3 main methods to repairing pipes: 


By the end of this article, you’ll learn what pipe bursting is, what you can expect during the process, and if this option is right for you and your home. 


What is Pipe Bursting?

Pipe bursting is a method of replacing an old sewer pipe by bursting open or pushing the old pipe out of the ground with a new pipe.

This process is considered a trench-less pipe repair or replacement. That’s because only two holes are dug to access the pipe connections, resulting in minimal disturbance to your home and yard.


When Would You Use a Pipe Burst?

Pipe bursting may be the best option for you if:

  • Your old pipe has big holes and cracks
  • You want minimal disturbances your lawn
  • You want a quick fix to your sewer line problems


Pipe bursting may not be the best option for you if:

  • Your repair is under 10 feet
  • Your pipe has small cracks or holes


With pipe bursting, this allows you to break open your old pipe and put your new pipe inside of it in just a few hours with very little clean-up after your service. 


What to Expect During the Pipe Bursting Process

What does the whole pipe-bursting process look like? 

  1. Your plumbers will locate your home’s cleanout. This is the access point to your main sewer line. They’ll run a camera through here to find the end of your pipe and the beginning of the city’s sewer system.

  2. Once your plumbers know where the end of your line is, they will dig one hole at that connection and the other hole at the cleanout to access your old pipe. 

  3. Then your plumbers will run a cable through your old pipe. This chain will eventually pull the burster head and new pipe through the old pipe.

  4. Next, your plumbers will attach a burster head to your new pipe, which is a bendable polyethylene pipe.

  5. They will then power on the burster machinery that uses hydraulics and air pressure to slowly bust open the old pipe while also pulling the new pipe through the old one.

  6. One of two things will happen depending on how deep your old pipe is: 

  7. If the pipe is a foot or two in the ground, it may slide out when the drill head goes through it. If this is the case, your plumbers will break the old pipe as it gets pushed out of the ground.

  8. If the pipe is deep in the ground, the old pipe will not come out due to the weight of the earth on top of it. The old line will split and stay in the ground surrounding the new pipe.

  9. Your plumbers will then make all the necessary connections for your new pipe, run a camera through the pipe to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be, then refill the original holes that were dug.


Next Steps

Now that you know what pipe bursting is and what the process looks like, where do you go from here? If you need to replace a major portion of your pipes but want minimal invasion, then pipe bursting might just be your best option. At Monkey Wrench, we take pride in our planning for each home to make sure the job is done right and you are completely satisfied.

Still not sure if pipe bursting is the best option for your home? Check out our other blogs on pipe repairs to see which option is best for your situation:

If pipe bursting sounds like the best option for you or you’d like to get a second opinion, give us a call at (310) 853-8690 or schedule your appointment with our Online Scheduler.