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Pitch Fibre Drain Repair Cost & Considerations: Need to Replace Your Pipes

Pitch fibre drains were once a popular choice for wastewater disposal due to their affordability and ease of installation. However, as time has passed, property owners have encountered challenges with these drains, leading to questions about their maintenance and replacement costs. In this article, we will explore the cost of repairing pitch fibre drain repair cost, discuss the factors that influence these costs, and answer the critical question: Do you need to replace your pitch fibre pipes?

Understanding Pitch Fibre Drains

Pitch fibre drains were commonly used in the mid-20th century as a cost-effective alternative to traditional clay or concrete pipes. These drains are made from layers of wood cellulose fibres impregnated with coal tar pitch and sealed with a bitumen coating. While they offered initial benefits such as affordability and lightweight installation, pitch fibre drains have become notorious for their susceptibility to deformation and damage over time.

Pitch Fibre Drain Repair Cost

The cost of repairing pitch fibre drains can vary significantly based on several factors:

  1. Extent of Damage: The more extensive the damage, the higher the repair cost. Minor issues like cracks or minor deformations may be less expensive to address than complete collapses or severe root intrusions.
  2. Location of Damage: The location of the damaged section within the drainage system can impact costs. Repairs closer to the surface or accessible areas are generally less expensive than those deep underground.
  3. Repair Method: The chosen repair method plays a significant role in cost determination. Options include relining, patching, or excavation and replacement. Relining and patching tend to be more cost-effective than full excavation.
  4. Professional Services: Hiring a professional drainage contractor will incur labour costs. The level of expertise and experience of the contractor can also affect pricing.
  5. Additional Repairs: Sometimes, repairs may reveal additional issues or damage, which can increase the overall cost.

Do You Need to Replace Your Pitch Fibre Pipes?

Determining whether you need to replace your pitch fibre pipes depends on the extent of damage and your long-term goals:

  1. Minor Damage: If your pitch fibre pipes exhibit minor issues that can be effectively repaired at a reasonable cost, repair may be a suitable option.
  2. Major Damage: In cases of severe damage or if your pitch fibre drains have undergone multiple repairs, replacement may be the more practical and cost-effective choice in the long run.
  3. Future Planning: Consider your long-term plans for the property. If you intend to stay for an extended period, investing in new, durable drainage solutions may be wise.
  4. Professional Assessment: Engage a professional drainage specialist to assess the condition of your pitch fibre drains. They can provide expert guidance on repair or replacement based on the specific circumstances.

Replacement Cost of Pitch Fibre Drains

The cost of replacing pitch fibre drains can vary based on several factors:

  1. Extent of Replacement: The total cost depends on whether you’re replacing a single section or the entire drainage system. A complete replacement will naturally be more expensive.
  2. Pipe Material: When opting for a replacement, you’ll need to select a new pipe material. Options include PVC, cast iron, or modern plastic alternatives. The cost of the chosen material will influence the overall expense.
  3. Labour Costs: Professional installation is crucial for an effective replacement. Labour costs can vary depending on the complexity of the project, accessibility, and the chosen contractor’s rates.
  4. Site Preparation: Any necessary excavation, removal of old pipes, and site preparation can add to the total cost.
  5. Additional Services: Depending on the specifics of your project, you may require additional services such as landscaping or driveway repair after the replacement.

Flexibility of Pitch Fibre Drain Pipes

Pitch fibre drain pipes are often described as relatively flexible compared to some other pipe materials. This flexibility can be advantageous in certain situations:

  1. Ease of Installation: The flexibility of pitch fibre pipes can make them easier to install in challenging or curved pathways compared to rigid materials like cast iron.
  2. Resistance to Ground Movement: Pitch fibre pipes can withstand ground movement and minor shifts without easily cracking or breaking.

However, it’s essential to note that while pitch fibre pipes are somewhat flexible, they are not as robust as modern plastic pipes designed specifically for flexibility and durability.

Should I Replace My Pitch Fibre Soil Stack?

Pitch fibre soil stacks, like other pitch fibre drain pipes, were once popular due to their cost-effectiveness. However, as these pipes have aged, property owners often face a critical decision: whether to replace the pitch fibre soil stack or continue maintaining it. In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when deciding whether a replacement is necessary and what lies inside a pitch fibre pipe.

Understanding Pitch Fibre Soil Stacks

Pitch fibre soil stacks are an integral part of a property’s drainage system, responsible for carrying wastewater and sewage from toilets, sinks, and baths to the sewer system or septic tank. They are constructed using layers of wood cellulose fibres impregnated with coal tar pitch and sealed with a bitumen coating, making them lightweight and cost-effective.

When to Consider Replacement:

  1. Age and Wear: Pitch fibre soil stacks installed in mid-20th-century properties may have reached or exceeded their expected lifespan. As they age, these pipes become more susceptible to deformation, corrosion, and damage. If your soil stack shows signs of these issues, it’s worth considering a replacement.
  2. Frequent Repairs: Frequent repairs and maintenance can be a sign that your pitch fibre soil stack is no longer reliable. Repeated issues often indicate a deteriorating pipe system that may benefit from replacement.
  3. Blockages and Backups: If your soil stack experiences recurring blockages, leading to backups or slow drainage, it may be due to a compromised pipe system. Replacement can offer a more permanent solution.
  4. Health and Safety: Leaking or damaged pitch fibre soil stacks can pose health hazards due to sewage leaks or water damage. The safety and hygiene of your property should be a primary concern.


The cost of repairing pitch fibre drains varies based on several factors, including the extent of damage, location, repair method, and professional services. While repair may be a viable option for minor issues, major damage may warrant replacement, especially if it aligns with your long-term property plans. Consulting with a professional is crucial for making an informed decision regarding the maintenance or replacement of pitch fibre pipes, ensuring the efficient and reliable operation of your drainage system.

Date: 19/09/2023

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