What is Directional Drilling?

Directional drilling, also sometimes called boring, is a non-invasive technique for repairing old or installing new pipes. This method replaces the need to dig a trench, lay the line and then backfill the trench. It also reduces the amount of property damage where the new sewer line or water main is installed. As a result, trenchless repairs or replacement are more efficient than traditional methods.

How Does it Work?


  1. The Pilot Hole A sewer specialist drills a hole horizontally using a bore head with an electronic transmitter housed behind it. The transmitter relays information back to your plumber, ensuring that he or she can steer the path to avoid any obstacles.
  2. The Bore Hole, or Pre-Reaming Once the pilot hole is laid, it now needs to be expanded to accomodate the pipes. This is accomplished by attaching a reamer to the drill’s cord and pulling it back through. While the reamer is pulled through, the hole is filled with slurry to maintain the opening’s integrity.
  3. Installing the Pipes Now that the hole’s been expanded, your pipes are pulled through using a reamer head with a swivel. The swivel ensures that your pipes don’t rotate while they’re being pulled into the trench.

Advantages of Directional Drilling

There are many advantages to using directional boring for installing new sewer lines or water mains:

  • Less environmental damage
  • Less disruption
  • More flexible installation
  • Shorter completion times
  • Saves you money

Directional drilling machines allow plumbers to tunnel underneath existing sidewalks, driveways and roads. This allows us to have less of an impact on traffic, cause less damage to existing landscaping or concrete and lower your labor costs.

We can bury the lines deeper and run longer stretches of a single pipe. With fewer joints in the line, your material cost also goes down. It also allows us more control over the direction the pipe travels. So if you have an unusual or non-linear setup, or need a long stretch of pipe run, directonal drilling would be your best option.

After the job is done, their is no apparent damage to the surrounding area as we only need to backfill the small pits that were dug for the pilot hole.

About Directional Bore Machines

The efficiency of directional bore machines are rated mostly by its thrust, pullback force, and the rotary pressure. The sizes of the directional bore machines range from small machines that have a few thousands pounds of thrust and pullback, to the largest with about a million pounds of pullback and force. Rotation of the machine is measured by the pressure. Most directional boring machines are have tracks on them so they do not cause a lot of damage to existing landscaping. Prior to using a directional boring machine on an installation of a sewer, it is important to have accurate geo-technical data, sufficient space for the machine, and space to lay out the pipe that is being installed. Directional boring machines are capable of installing either PVC or steel pipes that are used to either deliver or remove water, or as conduits for running electric lines and telecommunication lines.