The Problem With Epoxy | SageWater

The Problem With Epoxy

The Problem With Epoxy

Bad Epoxy Southern CA (fresno) Install 1
Failed epoxy lining requiring a full repipe of the epoxy lined system within a multifamily property.

Epoxy pipe lining is often viewed as an alternative to replacing the old piping with a completely new system.  In theory, the lining process involves coating the inside of the pipes with an epoxy resin to seal off pinholes and corrosion, creating a lasting solution to solving your pipe problems.  That’s the theory. In practice, the challenges with epoxy are numerous:

  • For one, there is no way to know how well the epoxy adhered to the inside of the pipe, and if an even coat was achieved, without cutting into the pipe.
  • Second, if a leak occurs at a future date, repairing an epoxy-lined pipe is very difficult. The resin cannot take heat, and application of a torch to try and solder in a new piece of pipe or a fitting ruins the integrity of the lining at that location.
  • Likewise, use of a “press-fit” connection (the solution by many epoxy companies for epoxy-lined pipe repairs) may crack the epoxy lining at the point of the repair, allowing water to get between the pipe and the lining, further corroding the pipe.
  • The initial epoxy lining process itself creates a certain amount of pressure on the pipe walls, and may blow out at weak spots or threaded areas.
  • And lastly, critical elements of the piping system are often excluded in an epoxy lining job.

Because of these challenges, SageWater encounters failed epoxy lining jobs, or partially completed epoxy lining jobs, that now require a full pipe replacement.  These, as well as other epoxy problems have resulted in numerous ongoing lawsuits across the epoxy lining industry.

Given that a full pipe replacement is typically the same cost, and sometimes even less expensive than an epoxy lining solution, SageWater highly recommends requesting a repipe bid at the same time that you receive an epoxy bid.  Likewise, because epoxy lining frequently does not include a warranty, you will find that the piece of mind that comes with a brand new, fully warranted piping system is well worth the investment. For further information regarding the issues with epoxy pipe lining, please visit our information site on epoxy applications.

The below examples were taken from a property that was unsuccessfully lined with epoxy just two years ago. As you can see, the lining did not adhere evenly to the inside of the pipe, resulting in settling of the resin at the bottom of the pipe. Likewise, you can see the de-lamination that is occurring on the pipe walls, which may be the result of improper cleaning prior to the installation or an improper installation of the resin itself.  Regardless of the cause, the epoxy did not adhere as intended, and corrosion is coming through the lining, causing the installation to fail.

This epoxy lining was installed using a blown-in process and was clearly not evenly distributed.
This epoxy lining was installed using a blown-in process and was clearly not evenly distributed.
Improper installation has led to corrosion coming through the epoxy lining.
Improper installation led to de-lamitation and corrosion coming through the epoxy lining on the walls of the pipe.
The corrosion resulted in leaks, requiring a repipe within two-years of the epoxy being installed.
Can you see the green corrosion coming through?  The corrosion resulted in leaks, requiring replacement within two-years of the epoxy being installed.