Anyone try pipe-relining vs. repiping their house or condo?

My 20 year old condo keeps developing pinholes in the copper plumping. Just a matter of time before they occur in the slab and/or I get fed up with the drywall damage and go for a repipe job. My neighbor had a repipe and it was horrible, and he only got a one year warranty (seems typical in Tampa, Florida) I've been reading of a new process called pipe relining, where they clean out your existing copper pipes and line them with epoxy (similar to some of the food cans that have a layer of epoxy over the tin). They give a 10 year warranty and claim to do NO damage to your walls, and claim to get the job done fast. Anyone have experience (or an educated opinion) on this new process?
Thanks, Jon in Tampa
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The relining is for potable water as well, my son's neighbor had it done.
In either htis newsgroup or res.constr someone mentioned a cost of ~9k for a reline.
If I ever get my ass in gear I'm going to do a PEX repipe (attic & crawlspace) on my 1 story ranch.
Bought the hand expander on eBAY.
cheers Bob
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Thanks for the tip on PEX - something else to read up about. I've got a two story condo, so even flexible pipe would get messy.
Two companies advertise the relining for residential use. I think they remove the valves at every fixture and attach their "process hardware" to heat, then scrub clean, then line with epoxy. It looks like a huge octopus that they run throughout your place to hookup to all the fixtures. I also wonder how they can ensure they coat all of the existing pipe, but it sure is an enticing process after you seen the result of a re-pipe on a two story place. My neighbor's repipe cost 4k (not including the drywall repair, and leaving out the outside faucet on the back of his unit that he's willing to leave dry). I found out that 1.7k was sales commission. I think the reline cost is directly related to the number of fixtures involved - at least that's the look from one website that asks for all that info for a price estimate.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

No exp with the reline, but if were mine, I'd repipe with PEX. Abandon ALL the runs in the slab and pull the PEX down from attic. PEX is so flexible that little damage need be done to install it.
Jim
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Don't see how they can get throughout the piping, around the tight ells and tees and do a good and completely coated job. Also what happens to the valves and other fittings? I think I would agree with total abandoning and replacing with PEX and have it done properly throughout.

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I am not 100% sure but I think that process is for Drainage pipe with a much larger diameter. It is not intended for residential copper tubing. I think it is intended for decaying cast actually.
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Bob Pietrangelo
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Relining is a new concept to me but I'm not so sure I'd trust the water coming thru freshly epoxy-walled pipes. Then again, I'm not sure I trust Pex either...

I have to ask...I bought my pex crimpers on Ebay but what is a "hand expander"?

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No personal experience with it, but I spoke with a contractor's rep for half an hour or so at a condo association trade fair last year, got a reasonably good idea how it works. It looks like it should be quite reliable.
They basically sandblast the interior of all your pipes down to bare metal for good ahesion, and use compressed air to blow the coating through the pipes.
They said it wasn't usually cost-effective on single-family residences, unless there was a lot of pipe in slab that would have to be replaced. Makes a lot more sense on multi-family because of the speed and minimal disruption.
It works on copper or galvanized, down to 1/2" nominal.
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Thanks for the detailed reply. In "googling around" I ran across a duraflo reseller that seems to be going after the single family market:
"I don't think you should repipe at all. My company does pipe restoration. We will take your existing system, dry it clean all the encrustation out then clean it.We then coat the pipe with NSF, IAPMO,AND UPC approved EPOXY. There is no demo of walls and or ceilings. THat means your home will not be torn apart for the repipe. We can generally complete a typical 2-3 bath house in two days. To get more information go to our web site www.aceduraflo.com"
I wouldn't think there would be a big cost of scale problem with the re-lining process, unless the epoxy is expensive to mix for just a single unit.
My reading of PEX is mixed; positive article at
http://tinyurl.com/5xvwb
Horror story at:
http://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/viewtopic.php?t 06
The latter points to the need of plumber experience with the product in your area, and plumber competence.
But another concern I have with the pipe-reline is that Tampa is a major lightening area. Houses get hit, and it's rumored to be one accelerator of copper failure. Wonder if the epoxy would separate from the copper with a lightening strike. Don't laugh, I've taken a direct hit once, and who knows how many voltage raising nearby strikes.
Although I'm a confirmed DIY'er, this is one area I'd rather pay for a professional job and get a long term warranty (if I could find that in Tampa).
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here is their website, I haven't looked at it yet but saw it in a trade rag this morning
www.fixmypipes.com
Company name is Ace DuraFlo
They are in placentia, ca 1-877-775-0220
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Bob Pietrangelo
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John-
According to the PEX stuff I've read there are two permanent ways to make the connections.
1) Metal frings & a crimper 2) PEX doubler rings and a tube expander tool.
To make the connections using the expander method
1) slide a "doubler ring" over the end of the tube 2) inset the expander tool into the end of the tube 3) expnad the tube 4) qucikly insert the fitting 5) the tube & doubler ring shrinks down ove thre fitting
the expander method takes advantage of the shape memory fo the PEX material.
one comment that I have is,: the expander method fittings muct have a different od thatn the fitting for use with the crimper & rings.
By hand expanderf I mean one that is done by hand. Wirsbo make a pneumatic & a battery powered expander. Unfortunately all three systems use different expander hads!!! These both are really pretty spendy
I just bought a hand actuated expander. on eBay. I have les than 50 connections to make.
Why the concern about PEX/ perfomance (leaks?) or chemical safety?
I'm pretty old school on a lot of stuff. I use EMT or flex w/ THHN/THWN wire. I usually use copper tube. Two contractor friends swear by PEX, we'll see. :)
cheers Bob
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Interesting, I'll have to look that up to get the exact picture. Is there any advantage to this method over the crimp method?

Is this hard on the arm? I have tendonitis from gripping tools for so many years...

Chemical safety. Truth is, the water probably has far worse stuff in it than it might get from the pipes.

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John-
I'm not sure of the advantge. It just seemed to me to simpler but who knows
I also am concerned about the arm / hand strength needed, haven't used it yet. It has fairly long handles & I only have to do about 30 connections per repipe.
I was also looking at the battery powered unit but it was just too spendy to justify for 2 repipes
On chem safety, its not like PVC or CPVC, no solvent Bob
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