The pipes we have installed in and around the home can last for a long time, but even they are not immune to damage. One way to effectively increase the longevity of your plumbing fixtures is to rely on pipe coating.
Not a lot of homeowners know about internal coatings for pipes, and that’s a shame. That addition provides benefits that are useful both now and in the long run.
If you’re interested in pipe coatings yourself, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will dive deeper into the topic and touch on several related ones. Please feel free to read on if you’re thinking about getting your home’s pipes lined with a new coating.
What Is an Internal Pipe Coating and Why Do You Need It?
Internal pipe coatings are additions that can significantly improve the performance of the pipes that you use at home. They make them out of different materials, and we’ll get more into that topic a bit later in this article.
For now, let’s first turn our attention to the benefits that homeowners can receive from their investment in new pipelining. Three major benefits spring to mind right away.
Internal Pipe Coatings Can Be Used for Repairs
Pipes can sustain different kinds of damage. Wear and tear can do a number on pipes, but it’s also possible that unfriendly conditions are the reasons why those fixtures inside your home no longer work as well as they used to.
Once the pipes are damaged, you will have a choice to make. You can either get them replaced or repaired.
Replacing the pipes makes a lot of sense long-term, but that will cost a lot of money. On top of that, replacing your plumbing can also be a time-consuming endeavor. You cannot use the bathroom or kitchen inside your home for a while if you’re getting the pipes replaced.
Repairing the pipes is probably the more convenient option. Adding an internal lining can help the pipes function like normal again, and it won’t be as inconvenient or expensive as the other option.
Internal Pipe Coatings Increase the Lifespan of Your Plumbing
Adding an internal coating to your pipes will significantly increase their lifespan. Get the lining installed right from the get-go, and you don’t need to worry about your pipes for a long time.
The coating works by decreasing the effects of corrosion on the pipes. If you’re still in the process of building your new home, installing pipes with internal coatings is a great way to prevent potential plumbing issues.
Internal Pipe Coatings Can Improve Flow Rate
The coating applied to a pipe can also be helpful by improving the flow rate of that fixture. The problem with using an internal coating to improve flow rate is that it sacrifices protection.
The internal lining must be on the thicker side if it’s going to provide protection against corrosion. Coatings that are supposed to improve flow rate are thin.
In most households, internal pipe linings do not improve the flow rate.
What Are the Different Types of Internal Pipe Coatings?
There are several options to choose from when it comes to internal pipe coatings. They have their own special qualities, so it’s important to look at them individually. Doing so will make it easier for you to determine if a certain type of coating makes sense for your home’s plumbing system.
Epoxy coatings are widely used for residential and industrial applications. It’s easy to understand why given the qualities of epoxy.
According to Corrosionpedia, they use epoxy coatings for their durability. They do a great job of holding up against abrasive materials, chemicals that have made their way into the pipes, and external impact. Basically, epoxy coatings work well against about everything that could compromise your home’s pipes.
Epoxy coatings can be classified further into subtypes.
You have fusion bonded epoxies that are among the most used for pipes that handle water. Fusion bonded epoxies are remarkably durable, and they are also usable on all kinds of pipes.
Next up, you have the epoxies that do not make use of solvent. The lack of solvent allows this epoxy coating to work better to repair a pipe.
Some plumbing companies may also offer liquid applied epoxies. The liquid applied epoxies are similar to the fusion bonded epoxies. The main difference is that liquid applied epoxies are more susceptible to corrosion, especially if you don’t use them the right way.
Earlier, we noted you could use internal linings to improve the movement of water through your plumbing. In many cases, the internal coatings are polyurethane.
You can apply Polyurethane coatings in thin layers. Because of that, the water can move more freely.
The polyurethane coatings do offer some form of protection as well. They specifically do well against external impact. Polyurethane coatings don’t excel as much in terms of how they protect against corrosion, but they do enough.
Another notable benefit of using polyurethane as an internal pipe coating is that it cures quickly. It works well for emergency repairs.
Coal Tar Enamel Coatings
They prize coal tar enamel coatings for their resistance to foreign substances that may be flowing through plumbing systems. They offer plenty of resistance against bacteria, and they remain stable against acidic and alkali substances.
The downside to coal tar enamel coatings is that they don’t work well in cold weather. It needs heat to do its job, so without that, you would not get the most out of your coating. Don’t forget to consider where you live if you’re thinking about using a coal tar enamel coating.
Cement Mortar Coatings
Repairing your home’s plumbing system can be expensive. You may need to cut down on expenses in one way or another. Cement mortar coatings give you that option.
Cement mortar coatings are good for protecting the pipes against foreign substances such as bacteria. These coatings are also among the easiest to apply.
Durability is not a selling point for the cement mortar coatings, however. Chlorinated water can wear down a cement mortar coating quickly. Fast-moving water does the same thing.
Cement mortar coatings are good budget options, but you should strongly consider the alternatives if you can afford them.
How Long Can You Expect an Internal Pipe Coating Last?
We’ve already established that internal pipe coatings have different strengths and weaknesses. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that they also have varying lifespans.
If you’re going to use an epoxy coating, you can expect that to last for about fifty years or so. That assumes that they installed the pipe lining correctly and the conditions are compatible with that coating.
Unfortunately, some internal pipe coatings are not going to last that long. You’ll be lucky if they remain in working condition for around thirty years. On the flipside, pipe coatings that are used in very favorable conditions can offer protection for well over fifty years.
How Are Internal Pipe Coatings Installed?
Installing an internal pipe coating is not thought of as a DIY project. Attempting to install the coating on your own can be risky.
You could end up contaminating the water supply if you failed to apply the internal lining correctly. Furthermore, installation errors can lead to the coating not providing the protection it’s supposed to. The coating itself may wear down quickly if installed incorrectly.
We understand that you want to save money whenever you can but installing internal pipe coating is a job that professional plumbers must handle.
If you’re interested in learning more about how they install internal pipe coatings, go ahead, and check out this section.
Step 1: The Pipes to Be Coated Are Isolated
The first step of the pipe lining process involves isolating the pipes that will undergo treatment. If it’s a new installation, they can isolate the pipes before they set them in place.
Now, if it’s a repair job, keeping the pipes isolated from the rest of the system will be a bit harder.
The plumbers can create openings near the pipes to make them accessible. Alternatively, they can also remove the pipes from the system first before working on them.
Step 2: The Pipes Are Drained
With the pipes now removed, the plumbers can start draining them. Draining is an important part of the coating process.
Failing to drain the pipes can lead to the coating not adhering. The draining is also necessary because it is easier to remove any debris currently stuck to the pipes.
Step 3: The Pipes Are Heated
Simply draining the pipes is not enough if you want to remove all foreign materials inside of them. Some of those materials have likely been there for a while, and you cannot remove them easily.
Applying heat loosens up anything stuck to the pipes. It is a necessary preparatory step which ensures that the pipes will work as intended once they are in position.
They may also use a heating powder at this point. The powder allows the heat to permeate the pipes better, allowing for the easier removal of unwanted particles.
Step 4: The Pipes Are Thoroughly Cleaned
The next step in the process of applying an internal coating to your home’s pipes is to clean them up. Cleaning is essential because the coating will not adhere to the pipe’s walls if they have clumps of dirt and debris. Professional plumbers will use a special type of grit to grab hold of the debris inside the pipes.
The cleaning process could take a while because of how thorough the plumbers need to be. The wait will all be worth it once you see how well the pipes function, though.
Step 5: The Internal Coating Is Applied to the Pipes
With the pipes drained, heated, and cleaned, the professional plumbers can move forward to applying the internal coating. How the coating is applied will depend on what type they use.
They usually blow the epoxy coats into the pipes with pressurized air. The epoxy is evenly distributed throughout to ensure complete coverage.
The application of the coating also must be done quickly. If they do not spread it through the inside of the pipe fast enough, it may set in the wrong spot. They may need to remove it and repeat the process in that scenario.
Step 6: Wait for the Internal Coating to Cure
Curing is the next step, and this involves waiting for the coating to set. Curing times will vary depending on which type of lining they used.
Polyurethane coatings are the ones that cure the fastest, although epoxy does not lag far behind. You can go with either option if you don’t want to wait too long to use your plumbing again.
Step 7: The Pipes Are Examined
After the coating has cured, the plumbers will inspect it to see how well it adhered to the walls of the pipes. This task will be easier for them if the pipes are new and haven’t been installed yet.
Inspecting pipes that are already in the plumbing will require the use of specialized equipment. Plumbers often use specially designed cameras to get a closer look at the newly coated pipes.
Hopefully, the plumbers will inform you that the coating is applied correctly and that you can start using water inside your home.
Adding an internal coating to your pipes is a smart move if you want to repair them or increase their longevity. Contact us at San Diego Plumbing & Pipelining if you need someone to handle that job. We have all the tools and skills for that job, so please go ahead and reach out to us if you want it done.