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How to Fix a Cracked Sewer Pipe? – 4 Key Differences

How to Fix a Cracked Sewer Pipe
Written by Kai Michel
Last Update: August 10, 2023

Having unscathed water and sewer lines is imperative to living in a comfortable, clean house. It can be extremely aggravating when dealing with a cracked sewer pipe. Not only are you experiencing a horrid smell, but you also have to do a significant cleanup, especially if you don’t know the origin of your sewage issue.

Here the ToiletsGuide team will show you the signs, causes, and how you can fix or repair them.

How to Fix a Cracked Sewer Pipe

Method 1: Conventional sewer repair

Way 1: Excavation

This is a traditional way to solve your problem when you can’t use trenchless repair. Digging can start immediately after the proper diagnosis has been made.

Excavating is extremely expensive if the main line of the sewer needs to be repaired. Not to mention it’s messy and time-consuming.

You must often tear up the sidewalk, road, driveway, or yard to access the problem sewer pipe. It’s then replaced with a new pipe, and then a refilling of the trenches is done. This method will require professional help.

Way 2: Pipelining

This method fixes the sewer pipe from leaks, cracks, and corrosion from things like tree roots. It is like placing a pipe inside a pipe. This is less expensive and not as disruptive as replacing the whole pipe.

Method 2: Trenchless repair

Way 1: Pipe lining (CIPP)

Cured in Place Pipe Lining (CIPP) is the technical way to call slip lining. You place a resin-soaked liner inside the existing pipe. It enlarges and cures when the heat gets used.

Way 2: Pipe bursting (HDPE)

This is the simplest method in trenchless repair, but it takes someone with practical experience and training to tackle it. You must burst and expand the existing pipe while at the same time replacing it with an (HDPE) High-Density Polyethylene pipe.

This happens when you use a “bullet” or “bursting head” in the eldest pipe. It will break the current pipe while dragging and placing the new pipe directly behind it.

Way 3: Robotics

Using robotics is a wonderful way to identify and repair even the most minor cracks inside your sewer pipes. It uses air coupling to link to spot repair packers and UV patching. This trenchless repair method can restore lines between 150 mm to 500 mm in diameter.

What are the signs of a broken sewer pipe?

1. Bad smell

There’s a massive problem if you smell sewage or a foul odor. It’s best if you find a professional to help with the diagnosis and repair.

2. Green and lush patches of grass

A busted sewer line is essentially disposing fertilizer into your grass. In any patch of the lawn, the nourishment from the fertilizer will be vibrant and lush compared to the other parts of your grass.

3. Wet lawn/septic waste gathering

You will notice a wet mess gathering around your yard. This indicates that you have issues with your septic tank or a broken sewer pipe. Usually, the problem will be located under the soggy collection.

4. Mold and mildew

A broken sewer pipe lets out moisture, creating mold and mildew growth. If this appears on your floors, walls, and ceilings, it could indicate a cracked sewer pipe, especially if there is a bad smell.

5. Cracks in your foundation

A ruptured sewer pipe will lead to complications with your house’s foundation resulting in cracks, settlement, and sinkholes.

6. Sinking concrete slabs

Sinking concrete slabs occur when soppy, wet ground caused by sewage will make them unlevel and descend. Any concrete walkway, driveway, sidewalk, or patio can get damaged.

7. Lawn indentations

Like with sinking concrete slabs, a defective sewer line will cause sunken or indented areas on your lawn.

8. Slow drain

If you have a slow drain, you might have an obstruction that could rapidly become a backup issue. You can try clearing the clog, but if the problem comes back, that might mean you have a tree root problem. It’s advised that you avoid using drain cleaners (chemical) because they can corrode the pipes.

9. Drainpipe clogged

Your drainpipe being clogged is a frequent sign of a busted sewer pipe; even if you keep cleaning them, the lines still clog up. It’s time to call in a professional.

10.  Gurgling sound on toilet

A toilet shouldn’t make any strange, gurgling noises. It could be a bad sign for things to come.

11. Drains are backing up

If only one drain is backing up, then it’s just an issue with that specific drain. If every drain in your house backs up, it might be a damaged sewer pipe.

12. Insect and rodent infestation

Rodents and insects are adept at sneaking into your house through cracks (even small ones) in your sewer pipes. If you notice an infestation of dead vermin all over your floor after an exterminator comes out, you might have a broken sewer pipe.

Causes of sewer line damage

1. Tree roots

This is a common problem. Tree roots crave water, and if there is a leak in your pipe already, it will further damage the sewer line.

2. Corroded pipes

Corroded pipes are left untreated, which can lead to cracks and leaks.

3. Clogged pipes due to debris and foreign objects

Your house’s sewer lines only handle toilet paper and human waste. Don’t flush things like paper towels or wrappers because they don’t break down properly and will cause a blockage that drains cleaning products can’t repair. As for the kitchen, don’t pour grease down the sink because it will also clog it.

4. Extreme temperatures

Frozen pipes can rupture because of the ice that expands. However, scorching weather can destroy lines as well.

5. Natural disaster

This is an obvious one. Natural disasters like earthquakes might shift a break the sewer lines.

6. Soil-shifting

If you have had excavation or construction done on your home, it might cause the soil to shift, which can lead to cracked pipes.

7. Poor pipe maintenance habits

To ensure that your pipes keep working properly, clean the drain regularly, be careful of what you put down, and yearly inspections are critical.

8. High water pressure

High water pressure can put a lot of stress on your sewer pipes and crack and break them.


1. How much does it cost to repair a sewer pipe?

Ans. The main sewer line will cost just under $4000. Most homeowners will spend about $2250 to almost $6000. If a complete sewer line needs to be replaced, it will cost anywhere from $8000 to $30,000. It will be dependent on the width and length of the pipe required.

2. How long does trenchless sewer line repair last?

Ans. Trenchless repairs are known to last a long time. This will depend on the method and materials used, but most of them can survive upward of 50 years or so.

3. Does Homeowners Insurance cover sewer line damage?

Ans. If another person or party didn’t break your sewer line, it’s not typical for Homeowners Insurance to cover it. Some home warranty places offer septic system coverage, though.

About the author

Kai Michel

Hello, this is Kai, addressing homeowners in need of some help with their home renovation projects. I’ve worked on numerous toilet repair projects over the years that incorporated a wide variety of tasks, from repair to renovation and maintenance. Besides acquiring a degree on the legal codes and procedures, I gathered vast insights into bathroom settings, toilets, showers, fittings, and other household appliances, fixtures, and components. This helps me guide my clients through their home improvement and interior development plans. Since maintenance is my area of expertise, I can assist people in all phases of the actual ‘improvement’ process. To get my messages even further, I contribute to this site through my blog posts. Check my content here for expert suggestions!

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