Do you have frequent, recurring drain issues that suck up all of your time and money? Stop throwing money down the drain. Find out if you have terracotta pipes!
What is terracotta?
The word terracotta, from the Latin “Terra Cotta” which means “baked earth,” is a clay-based ceramic material. This material is easily sculpted, but also hardens when heated due to a high iron content. Through the vitrification process, salts are heated to coat the clay, making it smooth and water-resistent. Terracotta has been used throughout history in buildings and sculptures, and takes its place in American history as a metal substitute during World War II. As metal was harvested for war materials, baked clay were used in main drains throughout this area.
No one expected terracotta to last.
Fast forward to 70 years later, in a time where homeowners are having more drainage problems than ever. Terracotta pipes are only stable when an even amount of pressure is applied at all sides, so the flucuation in earth movement causes the drain over time to bend, sag, and eventually break into smaller pieces. Clay is most vulnerable at joints, so root intrusion is common. The damage is irreversible; once the clay begins to bend, its days are numbered.
How do you know if you have terracotta and what can you do about it?
If you’re having frequent problems with your drains that cannot be fixed with a snake or water-jetting, you need to inspect your drains. Check personal and public records first. If you don’t have any information about the material of your pipes, a simple video inspection will give you all of the information you need right away. That same video inspection will also tell you the condition of your pipe: any present bends, breaks, or intrusions, buildup, and temporary blockages will also be seen on the recording.
If the video inspection uncovers terracotta, you have a few options. Yes, you can dig up the yard and completely replace the line, but don’t jump off the ledge just yet! Read “A Less Invasive Alternative to Open-Lawn Surgery,” one of our earlier blog entries, to learn more about Trenchless Pipe Replacement and how it can save you time, money, and heartache.
Terracotta was not intended to last a century, and in many cases, it hasn’t. As the years wear on, the earth [and our usage] will continue to take its toll on the clay drains. Whether you have had frequent drain issues, or you’re simply concerned for the wellbeing of your home and family, you need to know if you have terracotta pipes. One video inspection goes a long way in preventing costly one-time services that will only temporarily relieve the problem.
If you want to know more about terracotta pipes, your options, or about video inspection services, give us a call at 1-800-Snake-It! We’re always available and happy to help you find the most effective solution to your drain issue.