Factors That Contribute to Sewer Line Replacement Costs

Closeup of worker's hand pointing to area of sewer line that has been invaded by tree roots. He is in the process of digging out tree roots and replacing the sold clay ceramic sewer line with a cleanout.

Soil conditions, material, and design determine how long your sewer line lasts. You must replace your sewer line at the end of its lifespan to prevent environmental pollution. You may also need to replace a sewer line due to catastrophic damage. Below are some factors that determine the amount you need for the replacement project.

Camera Inspection

The contractor has to determine the extent of the damage before replacing the pipe. Contractors use different techniques for inspection. For example, your contractor may insert a tiny camera into the pipe around the area with the suspected damage. The camera footage shows the contractor how much pipe they must replace. The inspection is part of the replacement costing.


Sewer pipe replacement is relatively extensive work, and extensive plumbing repairs require approval from the relevant authorities. You get the approval in the form of a permit. The authorities use the permits to ensure property owners adhere to relevant codes for the public’s safety. Your contractor will help you get the relevant permits, but you pay for them.


Traditional sewer line replacements require excavation. The excavation’s need and extent affect the price. Plumbers usually charge excavation per foot, which means the longer the excavated area, the higher the price. The necessary digging is usually minimal for a trenchless pipe repair, so you don’t have to worry about excavation costs if you take that route.

Flooring or Sidewall Repair

The damaged pipe’s location determines the structures that the replacement affects. For example, the contractor might have to demolish part of your flooring or siding if part of the damaged pipe is under the house. In such a case, you also have to repair the damaged structures after the pipe replacement. The material and size of the damaged structures affect their repair costs.

Cleanup, Landscaping, and Hardscaping

Sewer pipe replacement produces considerable waste and debris. Moreover, the waste is dangerous to animals, people, and the environment since it contains disease-causing microorganisms. The contractor’s cleanup of the worksite contributes to the overall pipe replacement cost.

Secondly, the replacement project can also affect your landscaping and hardscaping. For example, the replacement process might damage your lawn, flowerbed, driveway, or fence, depending on your home. You need to budget for the restorations of such features after the pipe replacement.

Damage Extent

Sewer line damage can be minimal or extensive, depending on the cause of the damage. For example, tree root damage will likely affect a small section of the pipe. However, age-related wear and tear can affect even your whole sewer pipe.

The damage’s extent affects almost every aspect of the replacement. For example, the damage’s extent determines excavation, post-replacement cleanup, and affected structures. Extensive damages also require more time to fix, increasing labor costs. Lastly, the damage’s extent also determines the replacement pipe’s length and cost.

Contractor and Local Labor Costs

Sewer line replacement requires significant labor, especially if it involves excavation. The contractor also has to haul away the damaged pipes and replace them with new ones. Thus, local labor costs also affect the replacement budget.

Note that contractors have different rates depending on their:

  • Education and experience
  • Operating expenses
  • Location
  • Demand

Thus, different contractors may have different rates for the same job. The variations cause clients to shop for quotes before choosing a service provider.

Maintain your drainage system to prolong its lifespan. For example, you should keep tree roots away from the sewer or drainage systems. Contact Spartan Plumbing Inc for sewer line replacement or maintenance. We have been active in the industry for over 60 years and promise you professional plumbing service.

Spartan Plumbing Inc.

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