The Signs, Symptoms & Solutions for Damaged Drainage Pipes

Drainage pipes play a crucial role in the running of all properties, from homes to large business premises. They are constantly in use, and like all systems that are under constant strain, they are liable to develop faults from time to time. As your drain pipes are rarely in full view and are not something you usually think twice about, it may not always be immediately obvious when your pipes have developed a fault. You will, of course, find out at some point, but by then the damage may have worsened beyond repair. If you are able to identify symptoms of damaged pipes early, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, hassle and damage to your premises.

See Also our article “Signs and causes of blocked drains: A Room-by-Room Guide


Cracked drainage pipe

Cracks are mainly a problem for rigid piping, and these cracks take up one of three forms:

  • Longitudinal cracks
  • Lateral cracks
  • Cracks originating at a certain point

Identifying the type of crack that has occurred in the pipe makes it easier to ascertain what the cause of the crack is, which can make it easier to rectify. The causes of these cracks can be identified by inspecting certain characteristics of the crack, including:

  • Changes in the crack over time – this informs us as to whether the crack is liable to get worse or has reached its peak
  • The depth of the crack – is it simply surface damage or does it cover the whole component?
  • Course of the crack – this helps us determine where the force is acting on the crack
  • Mutual displacement of the edges of the crack – this informs us of the direction of the force impacting on the crack, as well as the risk of failure

There are a number of causes that are linked to all types of cracks. Pipes that are constructed without proper adherence to the relevant regulations, for example EN 1610, may be weaker or more susceptible to damage.

Pipes may also become damaged during any part of the process, from the transport of the drain to the laying and bedding of the drain itself.

Finally, general wear and tear will start to take effect over time, and significant wear can result in cracks in the pipe.

Cracks can be easily located using a CCTV drain survey, which allow us to identify structural issues and various problems by sending a remote camera down the drain itself, so we can get a clear, detailed view that we would otherwise not be able to achieve.


Corroded pipe

Corrosion of piping is a process that can cause huge amounts of damage to drains in homes and businesses alike. Corrosion is an ongoing process that culminates in what is commonly known as rust. Rust is what happens when the processed metal is reverted back to its natural form. Signs of corrosion issues include:

  • Piping failures – these can be minor or major, ranging from pinhole leaks to huge floods
  • Galvanic induced failure – this happens when pipes of different metals are joined together, commonly a carbon steel pipe joined to a brass valve
  • Internal rust – these are normally fatal for the piping
  • Weathering damage – this is common for exposed piping, particularly piping with a smaller diameter and thinner walls

Corrosion can cause a number of problems for drainage systems, including lost heat efficiency and pinhole leaks, which are considered relatively minor compared to some of the more significant issues that can occur if corrosion goes unchecked. The more major issues include serious leaks that can result in massive flooding, total operation failures, a loss of business productivity and also personal injury. For fire protection systems that rely on pipe-fed water, a blockage or leak in the system can render the fire protection system useless, which can be incredibly dangerous.

Corrosion issues are not ones that appear overnight, rather they often reach a pinnacle after a long period of the corrosion being ignored or unresolved. Other factors in the development of corrosion is the usage of poor corrosion control chemicals and lower quality materials used in the construction of pipes.

Root ingress

Root ingress in pipe

Root ingress is the problem of tree roots growing into drainage pipes over time. While this process can take quite a while to come into effect, the end result will be blockages in your drains, and as the roots grow further into your system, your pipes will begin to break.

Root ingress happens when water vapour escapes from your pipes from a loose joint or a crack in the pipe, into the soil surrounding it. Tree roots naturally grow towards signs of water and nutrients, so they will start growing towards the pipes themselves, infiltrating any gaps and continuing to grow once inside the pipework. Tree root ingress is a much more common occurrence in older properties.

Two of the most obvious signs that you may have root ingress in your pipes are:

  • Slowly flowing drains – if your drains are not flowing as they should, your toilet will emit a gurgling noise. This is a sign of a blockage, which could be caused by tree root ingress, so expert assistance is required.
  • Collapsed pipes – A serious blockage is often more severe than a clogged pipe that can be removed with some drain cleaner. Professional assistance should be sought if you notice a serious blockage, as this can lead to the pipe totally collapsing.

As you can see, there are a number of faults that can befall your drainage pipes if they are not regularly inspected and serviced. Spotting these faults can be difficult to the untrained eye, which is why Express Drainage Surveys are the ideal people to assist you. We use CCTV surveys to inspect drains carefully and thoroughly in areas that would otherwise remain unchecked, allowing us to identify the issue and decide the most effective course of action.

For more information about our CCTV drainage surveys, whether for domestic or commercial use, please get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.