Root Removal

Drain and Pipe Repair by Root Removal

We’ve all experienced the frustration of a slow drain or the dread of a sudden blockage. While many issues can cause drainage problems, one of the most insidious culprits is root intrusion. Tree roots naturally seek out water sources, and your drains can become their target, leading to significant damage if left unchecked. This article delves into the causes, detection, and solutions for root intrusion in drains, helping you keep your plumbing system in top shape.

Understanding Root Intrusion

How Roots Enter Drains

Tree roots are drawn to the moisture and nutrients found in your drains. They can infiltrate your plumbing system through small cracks or joints in the pipes. Over time, these roots expand, making drain blocked and even breaking the pipes.

Why Roots Seek Out Drains

Roots grow towards water and nutrient sources to sustain the tree. Your drainage system, with its constant flow of water and organic material, presents an ideal environment for roots to thrive.

Signs of Root Intrusion

Slow Drainage

One of the earliest signs of root intrusion is slow drainage. If water takes longer than usual to flow down your sinks, baths, or toilets, roots may be obstructing your pipes.

Gurgling Noises

Gurgling noises from your drains can indicate that roots are partially blocking the pipes, causing water to navigate around the obstructions.

Unpleasant Odours

Foul smells emanating from your drains often signify a blockage, which could be due to root intrusion. As organic material gets trapped, it decomposes, releasing unpleasant odours.

The Importance of Early Detection

Preventing Severe Damage

Early detection of root intrusion is crucial in preventing severe damage to your plumbing system. Catching the problem early can save you from extensive repairs and high costs.

Cost Implications of Delayed Repairs

Delaying root removal and drain repair can lead to more significant issues, including pipe bursts and complete system failures, resulting in expensive repairs or replacements.

Methods of Detecting Root Intrusion

Visual Inspections

A simple visual inspection of your drains can sometimes reveal signs of root intrusion. However, this method is often limited to visible areas and may not detect deeper issues.

CCTV Drain Surveys

CCTV drain surveys involve sending a small camera into your drainage system to provide a detailed view of the inside of the pipes. This method is highly effective in identifying root intrusion and other blockages.

Dye Testing

Dye testing involves introducing a coloured dye into your drainage system to help trace leaks and blockages. While not as precise as CCTV surveys, it can still provide valuable information about the condition of your drains.

Techniques for Root Removal

Mechanical Removal

Mechanical removal uses specialised tools to cut and remove roots from the inside of the pipes. This method is effective but may not prevent roots from regrowing.

Chemical Treatments

Chemical treatments involve using root-killing chemicals to eliminate roots and prevent them from growing back. This method can be effective but should be used with caution to avoid damaging the pipes or surrounding environment.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting uses high-pressure water to blast away roots and other blockages. It is a powerful and environmentally friendly method that also cleans the pipes thoroughly.

Pros and Cons of Each Root Removal Method


  • Mechanical Removal: Highly effective but may not prevent regrowth.
  • Chemical Treatments: Effective in killing roots but may require multiple applications.
  • Hydro Jetting: Extremely effective and also cleans pipes, preventing future blockages.

Environmental Impact

  • Mechanical Removal: Minimal environmental impact.
  • Chemical Treatments: Potentially harmful if chemicals seep into the soil or water supply.
  • Hydro Jetting: Environmentally friendly as it uses only water.

Cost Considerations

  • Mechanical Removal: Moderately priced.
  • Chemical Treatments: Generally low-cost but may need repeated treatments.
  • Hydro Jetting: Higher initial cost but offers comprehensive cleaning and long-term benefits.

Repairing Damage Caused by Roots

Pipe Relining

Pipe relining involves inserting a new lining inside the damaged pipe, creating a durable, seamless pipe within a pipe. This method is less invasive and extends the life of your plumbing system.

Pipe Bursting

Pipe bursting replaces the old pipe by pulling a new pipe through the existing one, fracturing the old pipe and creating a new, robust pipeline.

Traditional Excavation

Traditional excavation involves digging up the damaged pipe and replacing it. This method is highly effective but can be disruptive and costly.

Preventing Future Root Intrusions

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance, including inspections and cleanings, can help prevent roots from taking hold in your drainage system.

Root Barriers

Installing root barriers around your pipes can prevent roots from reaching them. These barriers redirect root growth away from your plumbing system.

Choosing the Right Plants

Selecting plants with less aggressive root systems and planting trees away from your drainage lines can minimise the risk of root intrusion.

DIY vs Professional Root Removal

Risks of DIY Root Removal

DIY root removal can be risky, potentially causing further damage to your pipes. It often lacks the thoroughness of professional methods and might not provide a long-term solution.

Benefits of Professional Services

Professionals have the experience, tools, and expertise to effectively remove roots and repair any damage, ensuring the longevity of your plumbing system.

Case Studies: Successful Root Removal

Residential Case Study

A homeowner experienced frequent blockages due to tree roots. A CCTV survey identified the intrusion, and hydro jetting was used to clear the roots, followed by pipe relining to prevent future issues.

Commercial Case Study

A restaurant faced slow drainage and unpleasant odours. A professional service conducted a CCTV survey, removed the roots using mechanical tools, and applied a chemical treatment to prevent regrowth.

Industrial Case Study

An industrial facility dealt with severe root intrusion, causing significant downtime. Hydro jetting and pipe bursting were employed, resulting in a robust, root-free drainage system.

Innovations in Root Removal Technology

  • New Tools and Techniques: Advancements in technology have introduced more effective tools and techniques for root removal, such as enhanced CCTV cameras and more powerful hydro jetting equipment.
  • Advances in Detection Methods: Modern detection methods, like advanced imaging and real-time data analysis, provide more accurate and efficient identification of root intrusions.

Choosing the Right Service Provider

Credentials to Look For

Look for drainage services with certifications, positive reviews, and a proven track record in root removal and drain repair.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring

  • What methods do you use for root removal?
  • How do you ensure minimal environmental impact?
  • Can you provide references from previous clients?
  • What is your experience with similar cases?

Environmental Impact of Root Removal

Eco-Friendly Methods

Eco-friendly methods, such as hydro jetting, minimise harm to the environment by avoiding chemicals and reducing waste.

Minimising Harm to Trees

Professional services can remove roots without causing significant harm to the trees, preserving the landscape and promoting healthy growth.


Root intrusion in drains is a common but manageable problem. Early detection, effective removal methods, and preventative measures are key to maintaining a healthy plumbing system. Whether you choose mechanical removal, chemical treatments, or hydro jetting, addressing root intrusion promptly can save you from costly repairs and extensive damage.

Scroll to top