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What Is the Sewer Line Replacement Cost?

sewer line that was clogged & craacked
If you experience problems with your sewer line, sewage could back up in your basement or yard and wreak havoc on your plumbing system. Hence, sewer line replacement is of paramount importance. But like any other project, you need to familiarize yourself with the price of the sewer replacement to plan your budget.
In this article, we’ll provide an average sewer line replacement cost and list all the factors influencing it.

What Is the Average Sewer Line Replacement Cost and What Determines It?

Sewer replacement costs vary from $114 to $295 per foot. The total cost ranges between $5,000 and $31,000.
Many different issues can affect the price:

The Cause of the Sewer Backup

Sewer line replacement helps resolve various plumbing problems. However, some of them are harder to fix than others, meaning the technician will need to work longer. As a result, the cause of your sewer backup can impact the replacement cost. Here are the most common culprits:

Clogged Pipes

Clogged pipes may not require a complete sewer line replacement. The problem can often be resolved with a drill. This repair method costs a fraction of standard sewer replacement.

Tree Roots

You’ll likely need to cover the total sewer line replacement costs if tree roots penetrate your sewer lines. They can pinch pipes that may result in wastewater contaminating the ground.
Removing tree roots from your water line can set you back between $124 and $743.


Another problem that usually requires total sewer replacement is ageing pipes. Worn lines tend to burst and release waste into the water. Consequently, the clean-up is expensive and needs to be addressed immediately.
The average cost of repairing a section of cracked sewer pipes is approximately $1,240, depending on the type of your line and the necessary repairs.

The Length of Pipes

The longer your damaged pipes, the more expensive the replacement. Naturally, the labour time and material costs necessary to install a new line will increase.
On occasion, sewer line leaks might be widespread, and the plumber will recommend taking the entire line out. This move significantly raises the sewer line replacement cost. However, it can also save you a lot of money in the long run since you won’t need to cover additional repairs.

The Replacement Material

Some line materials cost more per foot, raising the total cost of your sewer replacement. The most popular pipe materials include:
  • ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – These are the most common sewer line replacement materials and the most affordable ones. Plumbers prefer these solutions, as they’re compatible with non-invasive methods and are easy to mount.
  • HDPE (high-density polyethylene) – HDPE pipes cost more than ABS or PVC lines, but they’re also more flexible. For this reason, they’re a perfect option for regions prone to seismic activity. They’re generally used with trenchless replacement methods.
  • Cast iron – Although cast iron lines are typically found in older houses, they’re still used in sewer replacements. That said, most plumbers consider them inferior to previous materials. They may be able to withstand outside forces, but they’re highly susceptible to rust. Hence, they’re only recommended in specific situations.
  • Clay – Clay is prevalent in older houses, but it might not work well for new homes. Nevertheless, they’re fragile and often cause problems.
  • Orangeburg – Made of compact wood pulp, this type of piping was used in homes built in the 1900s. Like clay, it’s not designed to meet the requirements of modern households.
After plumbers assess the current material, they’ll help you select the best replacement for your budget. In most cases, they’ll recommend installing ABS or PVC pipes.
Switching to modern materials works best for older houses with Orangeburg or clay piping, even if just one section needs repairing. The same goes for cast iron. Smaller repairs may be possible, but opt for total replacement if the pipes are rusty and there’s water discoloration.
yard with trench

The Replacement Method

The replacement method also plays a pivotal role in determining the cost of your project. Plumbers choose from several widely-used approaches:
  • Excavation – Also known as trenching or traditional digging, excavation is the most expensive method because it involves substantial digging and restoration costs. In some cases, the price of restoring your carport or lawn often exceeds the excavation itself. It usually adds an extra $6,200 to the cost of your project.
  • Lining – Lining is more affordable than excavation, as it warrants minimal digging. It involves your plumber digging down to your current sewer line, removing the broken section, and installing a flexible line through the interior. The pipe should then expand to take the place of your old line.
  • Bursting – This is another fairly inexpensive sewer replacement method. The plumber installs a cone-shaped head on a pipe through the broken sewer line. The cone-shaped pipe breaks up the old one and takes its place.
The layout of your house and the location of the faulty pipe determines the method used to replace the sewer line. Sometimes, excavation is the only option available.
In addition, the plumber may need to perform a video inspection to locate the broken section and assess the damage. They insert a camera down the sewer line, looking for clogs or cracks. This service typically costs between $124 and $620.
house with landscaping done sloping water away from foundation

Clean-Up and Landscaping

Plumbers may not include clean-up and landscaping costs in your quote, but they can be high. Typically, they range from a couple hundred to more than a thousand dollars.
This is certainly the case if the plumber uses a traditional trench method, which leaves piles of dust, dirt, gravel, grass, and flowers in your yard. If you’re an avid gardener, you’ll want to hire a seasoned landscaper as soon as possible to return the area to its former condition. Consequently, you’ll incur additional costs.

Tend to Your Sewer Replacement Promptly

You might consider postponing your sewer replacement if the problem is still in its early stages. However, it may seem insignificant at first, but it can quickly cause considerable damage to your household.
To avoid this issue, contact MT Drains & Plumbing. Once we assess your pipes, we’ll lay down the total sewer line replacement cost so that you know what to expect. Then, our trained technicians will choose the appropriate method and install a new pipe to return your Toronto sewer line to its previous condition.

Paul S

Paul has more then 20 years in basement waterproofing and plumbing projects experience. Looking for an advice from an expert plumber? Make sure to read Paul's articles about residential waterproofing and plumbing projects in Toronto.

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