How Do Pipe Bursting and Spiral Wound Lining Compare?

pipe bursting cost

Damaged or collapsed pipelines require immediate repair to avoid environmental damage. However, these repairs can sometimes be costly. You’ll want to make sure that you choose the method that best fits your application. To better budget for pipeline repairs, we’ve created a guide to pipe bursting and how it compares to SEKISUI Spiral Wound lining. 

What is Pipe Bursting?

Pipe bursting is a trenchless sewer repair method for gravity and pressure pipe applications. Using a bursting head, the old pipe is broken apart, leaving space for a new pipe to be inserted. The new pipe is either pushed or pulled in the space left after the old pipe is burst.

This method is a top choice for deteriorating sewer, water, and natural gas pipelines. Pipe bursting is unique in that upsizing of diameters is allowed. 

Pipe Bursting Vs. Spiral Wound Lining

So what are some key differences/similarities between SEKISUI Spiral Wound lining and pipe bursting?

We boiled down 5 key areas to compare these trenchless lining methods –

  • Diameter & Run Length. Pipe bursting is typically capped at around 50”, and can renew pipes as small as 4”. Spiral Wound is capable of renewing pipelines between 6” to over 200” in diameter. Additionally, pipe bursting is capable of renewing a pipeline up to 1,000 LF in one shot length. Run length capability varies for SEKISUI Spiral Wound liners by the winding method used. For small diameter applications, the run length will be limited. However, for larger diameter applications (+40”) the PVC liner ends can be connected. Once a spool has run out of material, another is brought in and the run length is continued. This means larger diameter Spiral Wound projects are not limited by long run lengths. 
  • Liner Material & Installation. SEKISUI Spiral Wound liners are pipe-grade PVC material. Pipe bursting typically uses PE/HDPE as the new pipe inserted in the void. While both materials have similar hydraulic characteristics, the means by which they are installed are very different. As mentioned before, pipe bursting uses a bursting head to eliminate the existing pipe and a new pipe is pulled in the space left. A Spiral Wound liner is constructed using a winding machine directly inside the host pipe. A continuous strip of PVC is fed from an above-ground spool where it is then constructed into a uniform liner via the machine underground.
  • Bypass Requirements. With the existing pipeline being eliminated for a duration of time, temporary bypass pumping is a necessity for pipe bursting projects. This is to pump the existing flow around the area of repair until the repaired line is back in service. On the other hand, Spiral Wound is capable of lining within existing flow up to 30% low-velocity flow. 
  • Excavation.  There is a small amount of digging when it comes to pipe bursting; a sending pit and receiving pit need to be created for the new pipe to be installed. The pits allow for the new pipe to be staged and inserted once the old pipe is destroyed. As for Spiral Wound, there is typically no digging involved since all equipment and material can pass through all standard manhole sizes. 
  • Upsizing & Post-Rehab Diameter.  As mentioned previously, one of the unique features of pipe bursting is the ability to increase the size of the line’s diameter. This feature is different from methods such as Spiral Wound that line the inside of the existing structure. A pipe lined with a PVC Spiral Wound liner will have a reduced internal diameter when compared to the original host pipe. 

When choosing a repair method, it can be beneficial to take a look at the different types. If pipe bursting does not fit your budget or application, you may want to consider another trenchless repair method. The Spiral Wound Lining method is an affordable and unique alternative. Discuss the differences between these repair options with your specialist and determine which option is most cost-effective to rehabilitate your pipelines. 

How Much Does Pipe Bursting Cost? 

So, how much does pipe bursting cost? On average, the cost of a pipe bursting repair may range from $60-$200 per foot. You’ll need to speak with your pipeline specialist once the pipeline has been inspected to determine how much pipeline will be repaired and finalize costs. 

Keep in mind that there are a few factors that may influence the pipe bursting cost. These include:

  • Type of equipment needed. In addition to the bursting head that this repair method uses, there may be other equipment needed. This will depend on the level of access to your pipeline. If your pipeline is easily accessible, there will be less equipment needed to insert the bursting head and slide the new pipeline into place. 
  • Pipeline size. The diameter and length of your existing pipeline will factor into the cost. The larger your pipe, the more expensive the repair may be. Additionally, if you plan to replace your existing pipeline with a larger pipeline, this may up the total cost of your repair. 
  • Damage level. A more damaged pipeline will require a more intensive repair. Instead of removing a small portion of your pipeline, you may need to replace the entire line to avoid further damage. Extensive damage may also take more time, leading to an increase in labor costs. 

Spiral Wound Lining, on the other hand, starts at roughly $30 per LF for smaller diameters. With a range of capabilities that include non-round applications and diameters over 200”, the price per LF can sometimes exceed $1,000. The main factors influencing price are diameter, length and shape of the pipeline. 

Pipe Bursting Limitations

Though pipe bursting can be an effective repair method, it also has its limitations. In the situation that pipe bursting limitations occur, you’ll need to work with your pipeline specialist to determine a better course of action. 

Pipe bursting limitations include: 

  • Ground conditions. Pipe bursting works best in solid ground, such as within compacted soil. When repairing a pipe in ground that is likely to shift, whether from excessive groundwater or loose soil, pipe bursting may not be the best solution. 
  • Location. Pipe bursting itself can cause the ground around it to shift and settle from impact. This may cause disturbances to largely populated areas. With a large enough impact, it may shift the ground that buildings or homes sit on. Rural areas are best for pipe bursting. 
  • Obstructions. Underground pipelines may sometimes have obstructions that block the bursting head. For example, a partially collapsed pipeline is not ideal for pipe bursting. The collapsed area of the pipeline can block part of the area that is in need of repair and cause further issues in the process. 
  • Proximity to other pipes. Lastly, you’ll want to avoid using pipe bursting in situations where the damaged pipeline sits too close to other pipelines. When the pipe is burst, pieces may hit the surrounding pipes, causing damage or breakage. 

Receive Affordable Repairs With SEKISUI SPR

As a leader in pipeline repair innovation, SEKISUI SPR offers high-quality, affordable, and sustainable solutions for damaged pipelines. Our Spiral Wound Lining method offers fully structural renewal that will last you for years to come. With no need for digging or harsh chemicals, our team can repair your pipelines without impacting the environment. 

Contact our specialists today to learn more about our eco-friendly repair methods!

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