Roots in Pipes: Detecting and Removing these Unwanted (Costly) Intruders!

An exposed pipe in Mississauga, ON jammed with dirt and other debris as a result of roots in the pipe.

As a homeowner who takes all the necessary precautions to protect your plumbing system, you might still worry about the odd, unexpected incident and ask yourself how else you can protect your home and your family. Besides cleaning your garburator properly and insulating your pipework in the winter, you schedule your annual drain cleaning service with a professional plumber who provides a plumbing diagnosis and inspection to ensure your pipework is in good condition. It’s a prudent decision for property owners to put aside a budget for annual maintenance and emergency repairs.

While nobody can predict the exact future, it is human nature to make presumptions. When you care about your family's well-being and your home's condition, you tend to worry and don't want anything to disrupt your equilibrium. After gaining some essential plumbing knowledge, you might suddenly look at that beautiful large oak tree in your backyard with different eyes. The thought of roots in pipes gives you shivers. Knowing that the tree is not far away from your sewer lateral, your instincts are probably sending urgent signals to take action! The need to be in control is natural, and while we can't control mother nature, there are some useful precautions your local Mississauga plumbers can help you with!

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga is a locally-owned and operated business that's proud to have a team of highly qualified plumbers who bring an average of ten years of experience providing local customers in Mississauga and surrounding areas with expert plumbing maintenance and repair. We fully understand that you love your red and sugar maples, and we are here to help you make the right decisions.

When To Worry About Tree Roots in Pipes

Without water, there is no life. If you are a passionate gardener who takes good care of your plants, you likely remove weeds wherever possible, so they won't rob your plants' nutrients and space to grow and germinate. Evidently, competition exists in the world of plants, just like in the animal kingdom. Plants fight for water and will always search for additional sources to stay alive and grow. If Mississauga's usual rain season was exceptionally dry, your risk of roots in pipes will increase.

A typical residential sewer line in Mississauga is buried between six and eight feet deep to protect from freezing temperatures. Trees’ tap roots don't usually grow deeper than three feet to gain stability and absorption, but this can change as soon as they detect a new water source. While smaller, younger trees may not be as "thirsty" and strong; on the other hand, older trees have tree root crowns at least three times larger than the actual crown itself and, therefore, require more water than the young ones. This also means they have the necessary strength to penetrate your underground pipes.

Many years ago, residential sewer laterals were made of clay and cast iron—AKA porous materials that served no protection against nature. Even nowadays, when using durable and flexible materials like PVC, you’ll have to be careful. All sewer pipes hold plenty of water, oxygen, and nutrients that greatly attract tree roots. The smallest crack or water leak is enough to catch the roots’ attention. It will immediately grow towards the source and even break through any obstructions. The next thing you know is that you need roots in pipe removal services.

The first step toward roots in sewer line prevention is to inspect the landscaping of your Mississauga property as well as your neighbor’s property. Rather than worrying about their leaves shedding onto your driveway, look beneath the surface and guess that tree’s age.

Also, what age is your sewer line? What is it made of? When was the last time you had sewer cleaning? In fact, it’s not too late to take early action. Follow your instincts and share your concerns with the team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga.

Residential Sewer Line Types and Their Weaknesses

Cast Iron

When cast iron pipes were first installed over one hundred years ago, they were deemed as high-performing plumbing materials, as they were durable and temperature-resistant. However, they were immensely labour-intensive and are rarer to come by these days during new constructions.

Some disadvantages of cast iron pipework include clogging and rustiness. They’re highly sensitive to chemical cleaners and are prone to early corrosion. Mineral deposits that stick to pipe walls can also wreak havoc on cast iron if not maintained professionally. If you live in an older home with questionable plumbing, contact your Mississauga plumber right away for a detailed inspection. We’ll provide you with the quickest ways to prevent tree roots in sewer lines.


When people discovered all the durable things they could build with clay thousands of years ago, they highly depended on it. Even the first plumbing pipes were made of clay materials and worked successfully—until many years later, technicians decided that plumbing should occur underground. Although clay pipes are highly robust, non-corrosive, and unaffected by acids, they were phased out in the 1970s when durable plastic materials hit the market.


There is a good reason why PVC pipes are so popular throughout the world of construction. The majority of residential and commercial buildings rely on PVC waste lines because they are cost-effective, flexible, and easy to control. Not only does PVC cost a lot less than cast iron and requires less labour to install, but it’s also easier to manage and repair. The interior of PVC is treated in such a way as to deliver a smooth waste removal process, whereas the outer design is equipped with a strong, reliable surface that can handle soil movement and pressure. Although PVC is highly resistant to tree root intrusion, the tiniest bit of wastewater leak due to deteriorated seals can change everything.


As long as you live with trees, you are not safe from potential roots in pipes. The main reason why PVC is widely used for drain lines and sewer lines is that it has low permeability, and its flexibility allows manufacturers to make it more rigid and robust, so it surpasses its background as a mere plasticized material.

Additionally, PVC sewer lines have fewer joint areas and, thus, they're less prone to leaks. The moment homeowners worry about roots in sewer lines is when they know their sewer lateral is old or they notice changes in their plumbing.

Keep in mind that it takes only tiny damage to your sewer lateral to expose yourself to the dangers of having roots in sewer lines.

While rust is cast iron’s weakness, soil shifting may be PVC’s weakness. As soon as the damage is done and tree roots gain access to your pipes, they will keep on growing until they clog your line and trigger a sewer backup.

Top Signs You Need Tree Roots in Pipe Removal Services

Signs of tree root infiltration aren't easy to detect until your tree has done the damage. But who would think of blaming a tree for a backed-up toilet or clogged sink? You can't see what's happening underground and have to experience the ramifications of these rude roots from the surface and from your own home. Slow drains, sink flies, and the list of issues keep going on until disaster strikes because warning signs will pick up the pace, depending on how deep those tree roots in pipes are moving.

Frequent Toilet Backups

Have you ever reached for the plunger or auger to unclog your toilet? It might have been one or two occasions, but you were always successful in clearing your drain line. What if those backups keep returning, and each time, it becomes worse? Since your toilet has the closest connection to your sewer, the toilet is more likely to give you the ultimate sign that something is wrong. Is it gurgling and bubbling? Has the backup moved over to your bathroom sink and bathtub drains?

Clogged drains may or may not always involve your main sewer line or roots in pipes, for that matter. However, the best way to determine this issue is by hiring your local Mississauga plumber for drain cleaning services, during which they will thoroughly inspect your drains and tell you if the issue goes as far down as your sewer.

Soggy Spots in Yard

Is there an inexplicable sinkhole on your lawn or random wet spots on a nice sunny day? Or perhaps it hasn’t rained, and you neglected to water your yard, but it seems exceptionally green in specific areas? Besides a potential water main break, you likely have hungry roots in pipes that are leaking wastewater into your soil. Check for unusual plumbing habits in your home and whether your water meter may show signs of a leak. We recommend shutting off your water supply and calling your Mississauga plumber for emergency services.

Foul Oduors and Slow Drains

When your sink opening reeks of rotten food, you might have a clogged p-trap that needs clearing. But if your p-trap is not to blame, and you recently cleaned and scrubbed your sink drain with white vinegar and baking soda, the problem might be lurking in your main line.

If sink draining takes too long or begins to gurgle in the process, it’s a clear indication of a blockage deeper down the line. It could be a mere sewer backup, but you won’t know if you have roots in pipes until you hire a plumbing professional who has the tools and expertise to deliver you a fast diagnosis and solution.

Increased Energy Bill

Sometimes, plumbing issues go unnoticed for a long time until you see an increased charge on your water. You can test for a leak by shutting off your water and checking if the meter is still running. That’s one way of checking for an invisible pipe burst. But you’ll need an experienced plumber in Mississauga to see if you have tree roots in pipes, causing the leak of gallons of water.

Plumbing Inspection Methods

Root invasion occurs underground, and before you think we need to dig up your property to assess the damage, we have good news! We would like to introduce to you our video camera inspection service, which is a non-invasive method of inspecting drain lines and sewer lines that are hidden beneath walls or concrete. Every property has a sewer cleanout that connects directly to the sewer lateral. The advanced video pipe inspection device is lowered into the cleanout to access the sewer line. By the time it reaches the affected area, your Mississauga plumber will be able to tell you whether you have a standard clog or—in a more difficult situation—roots in pipes.

Roots in Pipe Removal Service

Mississauga homeowners who have fallen victim to tree roots in pipes can rely on our dependable plumbing methods of removing roots from drain pipes and sewer lines. However, the method we choose will depend on the severity of the damage the roots have caused and how large they are. A sewer cleaning in this situation will require either chemical or mechanical roots in pipe removal services.

Hydro Jetting

Mr. Rooter’s Hydro Scrub® Jetting device is an advanced technology for drain cleaning services but also available for cleaning clogged water lines and household drain lines. Our hydro jet consists of a high-pressure hose that your Mississauga plumber lowers into the pipe. Depending on your pipe's age and material, we will choose the psi level accordingly. In some instances, using hydro jetting to break through tree roots in pipes is possible, but not all pipes are suited for such high pressure. Pipes unable to handle that pressure need alternative methods.

Mechanical Auger

Mechanical drilling for roots in pipe removal is one of the other alternative options. The auger will cut up the roots into small pieces, which will then enable your Mississauga plumber to finally use the hydro jet to clear the passage.

With that in mind, both hydro jetting and mechanical drilling will clear your sewer line temporarily. The next step involves preventing roots in sewer lines.

Chemical Treatment

Some homeowners may not be fond of this method, and we understand that this can be a complicated decision. For this method, copper sulfate—a slow-release chemical—is poured down your drain lines. From there, this solution will effectively destroy the roots in pipes. A foaming root killer is another well-known chemical solution.

We understand that removing the entire tree can be a heart-wrenching decision, but our Mississauga plumbers are listening and ready to discuss your situation and offer you the plumbing solutions that best suit your needs.

Need Roots in Pipe Removal Service? Trust Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga.

Plumbing problems are not always what we expect them to be. Rather than hoping for it to go away on its own, act fast and call your expert Mississauga plumbers to rule out the worst-case scenarios. This way, you'll get the peace of mind that you're safe and well looked after.

If we detect roots in pipes in time, we’ll be able to take immediate action and prevent any damage from growing worse with guaranteed drain repair services. For trusted roots in pipe removal services, call our local professionals for a job done right, whether you’re in Mississauga or a nearby community, such as Erin Mills, Fairview, or Erindale.