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Common Drainage Issues in Older Homes

Published: October 25, 2018 Last Updated: February 20, 2023

Old homes feature lots of character and charm, however, they can also feature lots of drain problems too.

Older homes feature lots of character and charm, they can be amazing to own and live in. Traditional architecture and design tend to be more elaborate than modern homes. In Queensland, we are fortunate to have huge numbers of older-style homes, ranging from Federation style to Post-war and colonial cottages.

As beautiful as they are to admire heritage homes take some serious upkeep to maintain. This can be seen with features located both above and below the ground.

Common drainage issues in older homes

Old clay or terracotta drainage systems

Pipe manufacturing has changed a lot in 100 years, modern PVC drain pipes are easy to work with, light, and durable. Traditional clay or terracotta pipes can be heavy, unforgiving, and often crack under pressure or movement, which of course happens over time in most soil types. This can cause pipes to shift and joins to open letting dirt, garden debris and tree roots into the pipe causing ongoing blocked drains.

Bad drain design or elderly drain systems which clash with surrounding modern infrastructure can lead to all sorts of wastewater problems for your home. Faulty workmanship such as drain joins or bends not being in perfect alignment or pipes not angled to allow efficient runoff can all cause problems.

Not all of the issues you’ll encounter are from the original infrastructure, some may be caused by well-intentioned previous owners' DIY work. Over the years multiple repair projects can take a toll on even the most robust drainage systems.

Book a drain plumber

Unblocking clay drain pipes

Clay or terracotta drain pipes need a bit more care and attention when clearing blockages. Charging right in with an electric plumbers eel can cause more damage to the brittle ageing pipes than good.

Using a water jetter is a great alternative to the plumber's eel. The high-powered jetter can clear even the most stubborn blockage without damaging the pipe. The water jet also clears away any fat, grease or debris build-up on the pipe which could cause future drain clogs.

Drain Inspection

Our team recommend a thorough inspection of the problem with a drain camera so you can have a clear idea of what’s causing the clog before any work is carried out. This will also identify any other problems such as cracked or crushed pipes which may be contributing to the drainage issues.

Repairing terracotta clay pipes

Patch-up, short-term solutions often offer a cheap alternative to fixing the problem properly but in the long run, the costs are usually greater. Plus, there’s the extra time out of your day every time you have to wait around for the plumber.

Pipe relining is a long-lasting clay drain repair solution for ageing cracked, broken, or uneven pipes. The pipe relining process places a tough new lining inside the pipe, sealing over cracks and breaks and smoothing uneven areas so wastewater can flow along the pipe easily.

It’s a great answer for large lengths of damaged clay pipes in older plumbing systems as long sections can be lined at once.

If your ageing plumbing system is suffering from a host of issues contact our team today for long-lasting practical solutions.

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