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The Pros and Cons of Clay Sewer Pipe

September 20, 2019 Contractor2020

The history of clay pipes is long and rather impressive. The first known urban plumbing system was in Babylonia around 4000 BC and utilized clay pipes. Even at recent as the 1990s, clays was a popular material for municipal plumbing systems.

However, in the past few decades more modern materials such as PVC plastic have mostly replaced clay as the main material of sewer pipe material. But many clay sewer pipes are still in use, including for sewer drain lines for many homes.

Pros and Cons of Clay Sewer Pipe

What does this all mean for your home? Should you be worried if your home has a clay sewer line? This article will shed some light on the issue.

The advantages and disadvantages of clay pipes

Before we cover the cons of clay pipes, let’s cover some reasons why they’ve been used for centuries. First, they’re made of organic material, which made them possible to make in ancient times and are still considered environmentally friendly. Clay is also unaffected by acids that are present in wastewater. So in this way, clay can be very durable and last for a very long time.

Now for the downsides of clay. If you’ve ever tried making pottery and have held a clay item, you know that it can be very brittle. So if too much pressure is applied to a clay sewer pipe or if the ground shifts, it can break can cause a major plumbing issue.

That’s just one major disadvantage of clay pipes. Here are a few more.

  • Clay pipes are prone to roots growing into them, which can lead to a blockage or underground leak of wastewater
  • Clay is expensive and a challenge to transport because it’s very heavy and fragile
  • It is also more difficult to work with than PVC, which makes installation and repairs more expensive

The verdict – are clay pipes good or bad?

History has shown that clay pipes can be a very effective material for pipes. So if your sewer line is older but still working well, you don’t necessarily have to rip it out just yet. However, you should be aware that clay pipes are susceptible to breaking, especially if you have large trees on your property near the sewer line. When it comes time to replacing the sewer line, you’ll likely want to go with a more modern material that will be more durable. 

Repairing or replacing a sewer line can be one of the biggest plumbing issues you encounter in your home. If you live in South Cook County or Northwest Indiana, Reichelt Plumbing is the team to trust. Call us at (219) 209-3316 to request an appointment.

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