Before and after pipe lining

The Best Practices for Condo Pipe Maintenance

We frequently encounter the same problem in condominiums across Ontario: Property Managers are experiencing ongoing backups and drainage issues in their pipes, despite regular flushing and costly, labour-intensive repairs.

This begs the questions: why aren’t Property Managers and Condominium Corporations exploring long-term methods to reduce capital costs when sanitary and storm plumbing systems need to be replaced?

The reality is, the majority of Property Managers don’t have a roadmap for replacing their plumbing systems. Although critical sanitary and storm systems are just as important as roofs, windows, or other building systems, they are not accurately budgeted for and are often run to fail.

If you are a Property Manager, you may be wondering:

  • “Where do I start?” 
  • “How can I proactively approach pipe repair and save costs?”
  • “Do I need to build a maintenance plan?”

These are all questions we commonly receive from clients. To help get you thinking long-term, we’ve answered these questions and more by outlining a few steps you should be taking to prepare for the future replacement of your building’s sanitary and storm systems.

1. Request a recording of the drain that backed up.

If you are experiencing regular plumbing failures or backups, ensure your contract plumber has the ability to record video footage of the problem before and after it has been cleared. Although plumbing contractors are often skilled at removing blockages or flushing a line, if they are not taking before and after video footage, it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of the backup. Be prepared to pay extra for this recording, but the footage can be shared with OPL to review on a complimentary basis.

This video footage will help to eliminate guesswork, identify drains that need increased maintenance, or to reveal larger problems that could otherwise lead to unbudgeted emergency repairs. If your stacks or horizontal mains aren’t undergoing frequent repair, video assessments are still a proactive, cost-effective measure that should be taken on an annual basis at the very least.

2. When stacks are flushed, request the exact scope of work.

The best way to stay on top of problematic stacks is by keeping track of old statements of work.  Ask your contract plumber to outline what stacks were flushed, how many feet were flushed, and where the stacks were accessed (unit numbers, floor, etc). Be sure to keep track of backup history, maintenance work, and flushing dates. It’s also useful to use drawings or blueprints to track cleanouts and repairs in specific buildings or suites and cross-reference back to stack numbers (ie 07, 02 stack etc.)

This documentation streamlines the condition assessment process and gives our technicians an understanding of the current state of your building, its history, and which stacks require scheduled maintenance. Similar to video assessments, it will allow us to spend less time investigating the issue and more time on the repair itself.

3. Look beyond kitchen stack maintenance.

Don’t neglect the other pipe systems in your building. We understand kitchen stacks have the most problems and require frequent maintenance, but it’s important to at least have video footage and documentation of your other pipe systems. Allocate a small amount of your yearly budget to maintaining and assessing each of the stacks in your building. This includes: vent stacks, laundry, toilet, and other wet stacks, storm stacks and lateral mains.

4. Start building a maintenance plan.

At OPL, we focus on being proactive rather than reactive. This means that we want to work with you to conduct regular condition assessments, build an ongoing, sustainable maintenance plan, and ensure reserve funds are spent as efficiently as possible. 

Our goal is to predict emergency repairs before they happen, and a condition assessment is the ideal place to start. For more information on condo pipe maintenance or to schedule your condition assessment, get in touch today.

1441 Lawrence St E

Case Study: 1441 Lawrence St E

At an aging apartment building in North York, Ontario Pipe Lining cleaned, repaired, and lined 10 thinning and clogged copper kitchen stacks to avoid a full building re-pipe.

Project: The third-party property manager had been dealing with costly kitchen stack back-ups and drain clogs on an ongoing basis, resulting in regular inconveniences for apartment residents. The job needed to be completed before Christmas, so the timing was tight. After reaching out to Ontario Pipe Lining, our technicians started with a video assessment of the building to pinpoint the source of the issue and devise a repair plan.

Site: 1441 Lawrence Avenue East, North York, Ontario.

System: 15-20-year-old copper stacks (10 stacks, 1200 linear feet of 2”, 3” and 4”) in an 18-story apartment building.

Problem: Our condition assessment revealed that the bottom of each stack was plugged as it connected to the horizontal main. The horizontal main was blocked at 38 feet with grease buildup, impacting the entire system of connecting stacks and creating frequent back-ups in the 250 unit apartment tower. Plumbers cut and provided a sample of the thinning copper stack during a section repair.  The copper stacks had broken down and thinned to the thickness comparable to an aluminum pop can, and could easily be bent or crushed.

Before and after of thinning copper stack pipe

Copper stacks have a tendency to thin as time progresses due to erosion from high flow rates and corrosive forces from the chemicals and debris being put down the drain. Even the chemicals used to treat drinking water interact with the ferrous metal and eventually corrode its integrity.

Because the building’s pipes were so thin and fragile, stalling the repair process could have eliminated drain re-lining as a viable option. Once pipes become too thin, our epoxy liner is left with nothing to bond to. 

Solution: OPL prepared a sample to show the effectiveness of the liner in re-newing the copper drain stack. The building owner appreciated that the kitchen cabinets and finishes didn’t need to be removed or restored during the drain re-lining process, saving a considerable amount of time and money.

The thinning copper pipes were re-lined with an epoxy solution, which restored pipes to the thickness of the original copper stack. Our epoxy lining is inert to erosion and corrosion, resulting in a longer-lasting, back-up resistant stack. As grease is unlikely to adhere to the plastic lining, this permanent epoxy solution would also prevent the corrosive flows from continuing to break down and degrade the sanitary stacks.

The drain relining process allowed the system to be fully restored to operational standards without removing and re-installing the building residents’ kitchens, walls or surrounding finishes. The entire 10-kitchen stack system or 1200 linear feet of 2, 3 and 4” copper stacks were cleaned, repaired, and lined on schedule with minimal disruption to the tenants. 

Prior to repair, 1441 Lawrence was among many apartment buildings and condos in Toronto that didn’t maintain its stacks with an annual or bi-annual flushing program. Regular pipe maintenance is important, but once the stacks have been neglected for 5+ years, it may be time to allocate your maintenance budget to a re-lining project instead. Once the pipes have been re-lined, regular maintenance can occur every 8-10 years without risk of failure.

If you are an apartment or condo building manager dealing with regular pipe back-ups and clogs, contact us for more information on how you can start a re-lining or regular maintenance plan.

The FAQs of Pipe Lining: What You Need to Know

1. What types and sizes of pipes does OPL line?

We can camera, clean, and re-line any horizontal or vertical storm or sanitary drain from 1.5 to 12 inches in diameter including vertical sanitary stacks, horizontal sewer lines, mains, and roof drain systems and more. 

Our clients include residential buildings (condos, apartments, houses), commercial and industrial (shopping malls, high rise offices, airports), health care facilities (hospitals, nursing homes), schools and universities, historical buildings, and municipalities

2. How can I tell when my pipe should be re-lined?

A visual inspection of the exterior of the pipes can show cracks, leaks, rust, mold, clogged or slow drains and backups are all signs of a damaged pipe. Alternatively, you can check your maintenance records (if they exist) to understand how many times the drain needs to be unclogged. A video assessment by an OPL technician will indicate the condition of your pipes and inform the repair process

3. Why should I re-line my pipes as opposed to replacing them?

First, it is important to understand why the pipe is failing in the first place: corrosion and erosion of the drain. CIPP drain re-lining will separate the flow from interacting with the ferrous metal pipe and stop the pipe from corroding. Additionally, as CIPP is a plastic derivative, its inert surface wont allow the pipe wall to thin by way of erosion.

Lastly, traditional pipe repairs when finished need to be removed in order to reach the pipe are time consuming, expensive, and disruptive to tenants as the finishes need to be replaced. 

CIPP lining provides a cost-effective, non-disruptive alternative and extends the useful life of the original pipe. It also saves waste and prevents old, unusable pipes from going to a landfill. It is particularly valuable in high-impact spaces where sanitation and safety is a priority (hospitals, high-rise towers, schools, etc.). 

We also offer maintenance services and routine condition assessments, to ensure your pipes continue to run smoothly over the years.

4. What kind of access is required to repair a pipe line?

Most often, additional access points do not need to be created to re-line a pipe. Our non-invasive approach allows technicians to use pre-existing access points instead of removing drywall and finishes or damaging the surrounding area. 

5. What is the lifespan of OPL’s liner?

Once the pipes have been re-lined, our epoxy-felt liner extends their lifespan by another 30 to 50 years.

6. Does the water need to be turned off in my building when the pipes are being repaired?

Yes, as once the bladder is inflated the drain is inoperable until the curing process has finished and the bladder is removed. Typically, we will restore the operation of the drain at the end of each day.

7. How can OPL help me create a preventative plan to avoid emergency pipe repairs?

We encourage our clients to take a proactive approach to pipe maintenance, to decrease the likelihood of emergency repairs, large-scale problems, and future piping issues. Contact us and tell us the issues you are facing or what drain is causing a major headache on an ongoing basis and we can walk the site and provide you a proposal for a condition assessment and consultation.

Hand holding clogged pipe before cleaning

Predict Emergency Repairs Before They Happen With Video Assessments

Are you running your building’s sanitary and storm piping systems to fail because there are no viable solutions on the market? Traditionally, individual pipe sections would be replaced as they become clogged, corroded or unusable. What if there was a way to change that mindset and take a proactive approach to pipe repair? What if a cost-effective solution could be provided that would save 30-50% of these traditional replacement costs?

At Ontario Pipe Lining (OPL), we know that the longer you go between maintaining sanitary drains only increases the chance of major problems occurring in the future. These backups, floods are often unbudgeted, costly to repair and utilize scarce operational resources at the site.

Next time a section of drain pipe needs to be replaced, hire a plumber who can record a CCTV video of the pipe and share it OPL for a complimentary assessment to review and provide you an alternative method to clean and re-line the drain.

The camera will help to identify drains that need increased maintenance (flushing) or to identify larger problems that can be solved with trenchless CIPP repair methods. Not only does this streamline the repair process, but it will help prevent follow-up maintenance costs and emergency repairs from occurring in the future.

OPL technicians use CCTV video inspections to eliminate guesswork and to pinpoint the source of the piping issue. The visual inspection can help to evaluate the location, condition, and diameter of the damaged pipe. 

Depending on the size and scale of a job site, video inspections of multiple drains within a building can typically be completed within a day or two. We can share our findings and partner with operational staff and their building engineers to coordinate a repair plan. Based on our observations, we can offer insight that the majority of traditional plumbers cannot provide as they are less familiar with CIPP trenchless repairs methods.  

Once the pipes have been repaired using our minimal-disruption CIPP (cured-in-place-pipe) method, preventative video inspection can occur on a regular or annual basis to ensure everything is in working order and traditional maintenance programs can be deferred 3, 5 or even 10 years.

We offer video inspections for residential, commercial, industrial, and high-risk spaces (hospitals, other health care facilities, multi-story condos, hotels, and office towers) in Toronto, the GTA, and Southern Ontario. Read more about how we use video assessments to identify complex piping issues in our case study on the E.C Drury School.

Don’t wait until the last minute to get your deteriorated pipes assessed. We recognize that emergency pipe repairs can take a toll on condos, hospitals, schools and other high-traffic buildings with multi-story stacks. Calling the right professionals at the right time can be the difference between an easy repair and a long-term problem. For more information on how we can help, please visit our page How Drain Re-Lining Works or contact us today to book a video inspection.

Case Study: Ernest C. Drury School

For the E.C. Drury School in Milton, Ontario, Ontario Pipe Lining mechanically cleaned, lined, and restored a 150 ft-long corroded pipe system using Nu Flow technology. 

Project: E.C. Drury’s pipes were heavily backed up with calcite, causing water to flood onto the building’s new roof. The school’s roofing engineer believed Nu Flow’s Nu Drain product could help prevent further damage after the new roof was installed. Ontario Pipe Lining was brought on the project to mechanically remove the calcite build-up and restore the piping system before over 200 students returned from summer vacation.

Site: The E.C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton, Ontario, built in 1980. 

System: 150 ft of 6 and 8-inch in diameter storm drain.

Problem: E.C. Drury had recently completed a $5 million dollar roof installation, however, a section of the new roof was flooded with water during a rainstorm. As this problem continued, the roofing contractor, the engineer, and the school tried to determine a solution. The engineer thought the problem could be related to the storm drain and contacted Ontario Pipe Lining for a condition assessment. 

Ontario Pipe Lining was awarded a small contract to line 75 ft of 6” underground storm drain. When Ontario Pipe Lining began assessing the downstream access, the condition of the pipe was reviewed and the problem was bigger than expected. The condition assessment confirmed the location and revealed that the main drain changed sized to 8”. An access pit was created outside on the grass and once the pipe had been opened OPL could fully inspect its condition.

The problem was much larger than simply relining a section of the deteriorated cast iron pipe inside the building. When the pipe expanded from 6” to 8”, the calcite (caused by the hard water) has restricted the flow of the pipe to 1” from the top of the pipe. Without a video inspection, it would’ve been challenging to assess the condition of the pipes and the degree to which they needed to be cleaned to ensure working order.

E.C Drury School

Solution: The video inspection revealed that the school’s hard water had created a heavy build-up of calcite within the pipe, restricting the flow from 6” and 8” to less than an inch over the 150 ft of the line. In order for the Nu Flow lining to attach itself onto the inside wall of the pipe, the calcite build-up needed to be thoroughly cleaned. Mechanical cleaning would also allow the pipe to open back up to its original diameter. As a result, the amount of lining required to renew the pipe doubled to 150 ft of 6” and 8” drain re-lining.

The pipe was mechanically cleaned by inserting a ½” cable with a variety of cutting heads designed to pulverize and re-open the pipe’s original diameter.

After the pipe had been cleaned, it was lined using one of Ontario Pipe Lining’s key manufacturer’s CIPP technology. With over 12 years of experience lining small diameter pipes, Ontario Pipe Lining can be trusted to install code-compliant CIPP drain re-lining technology. 

This CIPP technique allowed the pipe to be fully restored and lined, while avoiding large scale trenching and destruction of the surrounding area. Once the line had been strung, the pipe was repaired by pulling in the liner, verifying it was in place with a drain camera, and finally inflating a bladder up against the inside wall until the liner had cured. Once the pipe had cured, the bladder was removed, and final CCTV inspections were made to ensure the pipe was ready for immediate use.

Ontario Pipe Lining worked to get the job site cleaned before E.C. Drury’s students returned from summer vacation. Using the CIPP method, the newly-lined pipe is now stronger and more resilient to the water’s high calcite content, extending its lifetime to another 30 to 50 years. Routine video inspections will ensure the pipe is being properly cleaned and maintained over the years.

Before and After CIPP - Ontario Pipe Lining

Trenchless Piping Technology and CIPP: A Proactive Solution to Pipe Repair

Pipe repair has traditionally been a reactive, costly, time consuming, and destructive procedure. What many don’t know is that there is a viable, economical, and proactive alternative.

Trenchless or CIPP (cured-in-place-pipe) technology is more resilient, safe, versatile, and cost effective than traditional plumbing methods. It is nearly disruption and destruction-free, allowing damaged pipes or end-of-life pipes to be fully restored and renewed while minimizing hazardous mess and environmental impact. 

To help you better understand how CIPP technology can be used within a variety of industrial, commercial, and residential settings, Ontario Pipe Lining (OPL) has outlined its top benefits. 

Advanced, preventative plumbing technology:

CIPP and other “trenchless” pipe restoration methods do not require the old, damaged, or corroded pipes to be dug up, removed, and replaced. 

Instead, CIPP uses a “pipe within a pipe” solution, where felt liners are wet out and an epoxy saturates the felt and the “sock” is inserted within the damaged pipe and cured in place, resulting in a stronger, longer-lasting solution. Once the lining has been cured, the lifetime of the pipe is extended for another 30 to 50 years, and flushing maintenance can occur less frequently.

Highly versatile and applicable in nearly every type of building and environment:

Ontario Pipe Lining offers horizontal and vertical sanitary and storm drains inspection, cleaning and lining for diameters ranging from 1.5″ up to 12″ inside and outside condominiums, commercial and industrial buildings, universities, hospitals and health care facilities, hotels, and more. 

In hospitals, CIPP technology is used to provide a non-invasive solution that doesn’t compromise the safety and health of building inhabitants and patients. In shopping malls, it has been used to ensure plumbing issues do not interfere with high-traffic public spaces. CIPP technology is also crucial in office towers to prevent construction from disturbing quiet workspaces and day-to-day tasks. 

Minimal destruction and disruption:

Without a doubt, CIPP technology is the ideal solution for those looking to minimize the destruction of pipe surroundings, reduce health and safety hazards, and ensure building inhabitants can go about their day without facing disruptive construction. 

Not to mention, consider the cost savings incurred by reducing labour costs. Traditional plumbing is highly destructive, meaning it requires costly “put back” to fix walls and ceilings, repave floors, paint and clean up the construction site after plumbing rehabilitation has occurred. 

Significant cost savings:

With CIPP methods, the outcome of the pipe restoration is a stronger, more damage-resilient pipe. CIPP technology also uses a higher standard of cleaning, as drain relining requires the pipe to be opened to 98% of its original diameter throughout the process. As a result, yearly maintenance is eliminated and pipe replacements costs are reduced by 30-50%.

To monitor the condition of the pipes, Ontario Pipe Lining provides camera inspections of the pipe stacks pre and post cleaning. This will provide insight to when the pipes need to be cleaned or restored in the future and ensure only necessary maintenance is occuring. 

Ontario Pipe Lining is a leading small diameter trenchless pipe restoration and cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) company serving Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. Contact us today for more information on CIPP technology or to receive a complimentary budget assessment for your next plumbing project.

Case Study: Woodbine Grandstand- Roof Drains

“The support, planning in advance and execution in the field and the follow up was unparalleled.” – Chris Edge – Senior PM StratEdge Management


  • A very challenging project that involved inaccessible pipes, working at heights and engineering challenges.
  • 50-year-old storm drains continually leaked onto the grandstand seating.
  • Traditional repair methods were not affordable.

Benefits of Nu Flow Solution

  • Nu Flow’s Nu Drain product was used to line 9 roof drain sections 130LF long.
  • The pipe sizes ranged from 4” to 8” in diameter.
  • In all just under 1400 linear feet was lined using only 18 points of access including the roof.
Ontario Pipe Lining- automotive manufacturing

Case Study: Automotive Manufacturer


  • An automotive manufacturer in Alliston was challenged with aging sanitary drains that often leaked.
  • The gang-trapped floor drains body were separating from the slab and continually leaking
  • Each leak would effect the production line below and the shut down would cost thousands of dollars per occurrence.
  • We stopped the leaks between slab and drain savings thousands of dollars

Benefits of NuDrain Technology:

  • OPL lined 20 four foot sections over three days and sealed the drain and the slab eliminating the leak
  • The customer is happy with the result that they continue to use OPL to line multiple drain during routine plant shutdowns.

Case Study: Old City Hall


  • A vertical storm drain began to leak and many offices had to be relocated as the water damage was repaired.
  • 20 linear feet lined in 3 nights using only three access holes

Benefits of Nu Flow Solution:

  • Ontario Pipe Lining was engaged by a mechanical contractor who held the maintenance contract with the city of Toronto.
  • OPL cleaned and lined 120 linear feet of 4” vertical cast iron storm drain.
  • The only access that was needed was on the 13th floor, the 7th and 3rd floor so the debris could be removed.
  • The work was completed after hours in 3 days

Case Study: Coca-Cola

Using Nu Flow technology, Ontario Pipe Lining repaired the severely corroded drain lines located within Coca-Cola’s bottling facilities.

Project: Use the patented Nu Drain system to line these eroded underground pipes in-place without disrupting business operations.

Customer and Site: A bottling facility for Coca-Cola, one of the world’s largest beverage and bottling companies.

System: Almost 200 feet of underground cast iron pipes to a sanitary waste system. These 4″-wide lines are located beneath 14″ of concrete, rebar and 6″ of soil. The beverage production line is directly above where these pipes lay.

Problem: The sanitary pipes experienced constant backups, prompting the facility manager to investigate the cause. A drain line camera inspection revealed that the bottoms of the pipes were completely missing due to severe corrosion. These failing underground pipes are located beneath millions of dollars’ worth of machinery for the beverage production line, which could not be moved or damaged.

Circumvention: If this facility did not choose Nu Flow’s in-place pipe lining solution, then the only feasible option left would be a reroute of the pipe system. This reroute would have taken several weeks to complete, the process to dig and lay down new pipes would have caused destruction, and the sanitary pipe system would not have been functional during the work.

Solution: Coca-Cola’s facility manager bypassed an inconvenient reroute and chose Ontario Pipe Lining for the rehabilitation project. When other pipe lining competitors and other contractors said that the pipes could not be lined, our technicians successfully did “the impossible.”

The biggest challenge of the job was dealing with the frail and damaged pipes. Our technicians carefully cleaned them and inserted Nu Flow’s Pull-in-Place liner, which cured to form a strong, seamless pipe-within-a-pipe that covers all holes and will protect against future failures. The customer was so pleased with our innovative pipe rehabilitation solution that we have been invited back to complete another pipe lining project at the same location.