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Understanding Cast Iron Pipe Deterioration and Relining Necessities

Sewer lines made of cast iron were typical in homes built in the Inner West area of Sydney, dating from the late 1800s to the 1970s.

While very durable, the pipes in your home are expected to last around 80-100 years before corrosion and pinhole leaks become a problem. Pipe lining provides a practical solution without having to dig, to revamp the pipe under your home property, outlining how long the service life can be extended without the upheaval of total replacement.

In many Inner West homes over 50 years old, lasting solutions for deteriorating cast iron plumbing are often necessary. Minor drips within mature structures may initially go unnoticed in places like your basement, but can quickly escalate, causing foundation damage, sinking concrete, or precipitating raw sewage backflows and dangerous mold growth.

Our expert use of trenchless sewer technology through pipe relining offers a seamless long-term solution, circumventing the disorder associated with pipe bursting and digging trenches. Our experts inspect the inside of your host pipe with a camera, then use specialised equipment to install an epoxy lining right over the existing cast iron.

Discover how our no dig pipe repair technology can resolve your drainage issues, offering modern relining solutions without the need for excavation.

Signs Your Cast Iron Pipes Are Failing and Should Be Relined

There are several clear signs that the cast iron pipes in your Inner West home are failing and in need of relining:

  • Visible rust or corrosion - Flaking iron oxide inside pipes indicates deterioration over time.
  • Small leaks or pinhole drips - Water damage on walls, ceilings or under foundations signals holes in pipes.
  • Slow drainage - Sinks and iron drain pipes emptying slowly points to build up and corrosion.
  • Raw sewage odours - Bad smells inside especially after flushing signals a breach somewhere.
  • Crumbling pipes or joints - If you must decide whether to repair or replace original pipes upon inspection.

When even one or two of these issues arise, call us to schedule a video camera pipe inspection. Our specialised cameras are expertly guided into your pipes to reveal underlying issues, often resolving with just a video inspection. Catching problems early is key to preventing the need for major home renovations later.

How Pipe Relining Repairs Cast Iron Pipes

Discover how our expert approach to repair cast iron systems commences with a detailed video inspection, followed by applying a flexible epoxy resin liner to resolve plumbing issues. Here’s an overview to carry out your home’s pipe rehabilitation:

  1. First, we’ll inspect the inside of your pipes with a video camera to identify any damaged area or problematic obstructions.
  2. Next, we use specialised equipment to blow an inflatable liner into the pipes. The liner is covered in an epoxy resin that sticks to surfaces.
  3. Once the liner is in position, the relining procedure involves inflating it against the inner walls, effectively moulding a new pipe within the existing pipe.
  4. As the liner cools, the epoxy resin hardens to form a smooth, jointless 'pipe within a pipe’ right inside your old cast iron sewer pipe.
  5. We trim and reconnect the liner at access points, restoring your plumbing from the inside out with minimal digging or disturbance to your home.

This process yields a robust PVC or HDPE liner, shown to prolong the life of your existing pipes without need for traditional excavation, easily surmounting the half-century threshold. All our pipe repair tasks are guaranteed, free of charge, ensuring an impeccable finish and reduced costs in contrast to full pipe replacement.

Common Materials Used for Relining Cast Iron Pipes

The primary methods used in renewing old cast iron conduits involve epoxy and polyurethane resins. Both are used to create robust, adaptable liners that bond firmly to the base of your plumbing system, thereby reinvigorating and prolonging its service life.


Epoxy resins forge a sturdy material ideal for both storm water and sewer pipes when fused with a hardener and applied to their inner walls. Epoxies cure to a hard, smooth and jointless finish that stops leaks and prevents future corrosion.

Our epoxy-coated iron sewer pipes can endure up to 60°C, comply with gas fitting regulations, withstand drain substances, and last over 50 years.


Polyurethane resins can also create seamless pipe liners that are highly flexible and abrasion resistant. This allows them to navigate bends and elbows in old pipe systems.

Pipe liners made from polyurethane are tailored to complement existing networks, offering formidable chemical resistance, temperature stability, and a potential lifespan of fifty years.

For enthusiast guidance on the best relining material for your system, please call our expert technicians who will consider drain layout, pipe condition, and your financial plan. As a repair method, both epoxy and polyurethane resins surpass traditional techniques, offering more effective repairs for cast iron plumbing from the inside with sewer pipe relining methods.

Pipe Relining vs. Full Cast Iron Pipe Replacement

As the damaged cast iron pipes woven through your property start failing, you’re faced with the decision between pipe relining and complete replacement. For clarity, here’s a comparison of the two solutions:

Pipe Relining

  • Less invasive trenchless method where pipe restoration can take place without upheaving your outdoor spaces
  • Restores your cast iron pipes from the inside out with minimal disruption to daily life
  • Creates an epoxy or polyurethane pipe within a pipe, preserving your lawn and preventing green patches without having to dig extensively
  • Typically 30-50% cheaper than replacing pipes cast in iron
  • Significantly reduces the need for excavation, preserving your home’s tranquillity and environment.
  • Ideal for instances where your home was built before the 1970s with galvanised or cast iron plumbing
  • Extends lifespan 50+ years
  • Faster with less impact on your home

Full Pipe Replacement

  • Digging required to access and replace pipes
  • Jackhammering through floors and your concrete slab for sewer line repair or replacement
  • Excavating your yard is required to replace the main drain.
  • New pipe, such as PVC, copper or ABS plastic, is installed
  • Disruption to your home for days or weeks
  • Greater expense in parts and labour

In most scenarios, pipe relining presents as the best option for a sewer repair solution to refurbish deteriorating cast iron plumbing. A decision to repair or replace may be necessary if pipes have collapsed completely or if the relining can seal a diameter up to less than 50%.

The safety our customers enjoy is a primary concern; our experienced plumbers will meticulously evaluate your sewage system and suggest the most suitable approach for relining sewer pipes. Call us for trenchless pipe relining in Inner West homes.

Limitations and Considerations for Relining Cast Iron Pipes

While pipe relining is highly effective at restoring deteriorating cast iron pipes, there are some limitations and considerations to keep in mind:

Severe Damage

There’s little to worry about unless your cast iron pipes exhibit extensive corrosion over more than 50% of the pipe’s diameter, or have completely collapsed, in which case replacement may be the only option. Our detailed video inspections discern whether relining is a feasible approach or if your pipe needs this method to be salvaged.

Network Access

Certain aged Inner West dwellings possess challenging-to-access drainage networks, where damaged cast iron pipes under infrastructures or flora preclude the insertion of relining apparatus. We pinpoint the precise locations, finding out where they are compromised and discuss innovative solutions to navigate access issues.

Tree Root Invasion

Intrusive tree roots within damaged pipes can hinder liners from sealing aptly or might cause issues to reemerge post-relining. We can repair broken pipe areas with root removal tools in combination with chemical root inhibitors to manage root infestation.

Heritage Listed Homes

We carefully consider your options to fix your heritage home’s cast iron sewer pipes, aiming to preserve structural integrity. Relining iron pipes from the inside is often the least invasive and most preserving solution.

For the best advice regarding pipe relining limitations in your unique home, call Inner West Plumbing. Our trenchless repair specialists will inspect your old pipes and recommend the optimal solution.

Estimating Costs: Pipe Relining vs. Replacement

Making an informed decision on whether to reline or completely replace your deteriorating cast iron pipes is critical when considering the investment in your plumbing. Here’s where they stand with typical costs:

When undertaking iron pipes cast iron drain pipe relining, costs typically range between $80 - $250 per linear metre, depending on factors like pipe size, material and accessibility. So The cost for pipe relining might range from $2,000 to $5,000 for a 20-metre section of 100mm diameter pipes typically found in kitchens and bathrooms.

Thus, weighing the cost-benefit ratio of relining versus replacement is essential for your pipe systems.

There are also additional expenses to consider with full replacement like jackhammering, temporary plumbing, excavation, yard reinstatement and more waste. Disruption to your home or business also drags out 4-6 weeks.

Contact Inner West Plumbing for a free quote on restoring your pipes, including an on-site inspection customised to your specific needs.

Ensuring Durability of Relined Cast Iron Piping

To get the maximum lifespan from relined pipes, it’s important to properly maintain plumbing systems and be aware of factors that could impact longevity.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

To safeguard your plumbing system, avoid pouring corrosive chemicals like paint thinners or strong cleaners down drains, as these can damage the liners over time.

Prevent Blockages

Ensure to regularly clear out hair blockages and avoid disposing of fats and oils in your drains to prevent clogs.

Inspect Annually

We recommend you include an inspection of your relined pipes as part of your annual plumbing maintenance routine. This step allows us to check your pipes’ structural integrity and identify potential problems without excavation.

Our Inner West plumbing service offers a 50-year written guarantee on materials and workmanship for every pipe relining job. We make certain that your pipes still operate smoothly for years to come by providing proactive maintenance, thus ensuring a durable solution for your cast iron plumbing issues.

Choosing a Professional Cast Iron Pipe Relining Company

Choosing an experienced and trustworthy company is crucial when selecting a professional to reline your old cast iron pipes. Key factors to consider include:

  • Industry Experience - Look for a well-established plumbing company with extensive expertise specifically in pipe relining applications.
  • Qualified Technicians - Ensure they have a team of licenced, professional plumbers trained in the latest trenchless relining methods and technology.
  • Proven Track Record - Request to view their past relining projects and customer feedback.
  • Quality Materials They should use top-grade epoxy or polyurethane resins to create durable, leak-proof pipe liners.
  • Warranties - Partner with a company that provides extended guarantees for relining work.

With 50+ years serving Inner West Sydney, Inner West Plumbing boasts a wealth of expertise in pipe relining for ageing cast iron systems. For professional trenchless pipe repairs with the assurance of our 50-year warranty, give us a call on 1300 349 338.

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