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Most Common Causes of Cracked Drainpipes

13th February 2023

Cracked drainpipes can lead to foul odours, polluted soil and groundwater, serious property damage and even disease. As such, it’s important to keep checking your drains on a regular basis to keep potential issues at bay. You can either do this yourself or through a specialist company like Cotswold Drainage, with the help of our dedicated CCTV drain monitoring service.

This blog explains the most common causes of broken drainpipes, teaching you how to identify the signs so you know when to call in the experts.

If you’ve already started to notice unpleasant smells, wet patches or sinkholes in your garden, however, don’t delay. Call Cotswold Drainage to take advantage of our expert cracked drainpipe repair services. Alternatively, you might like to read our guide on fixing a broken drainpipe.

The Most Common Causes of Cracked Drainpipes

Exposure to The Elements

British weather is notoriously fickle and unfortunately, these frequent changes in temperature can wreak havoc on our drainpipes – particularly in older homes with weaker metal pipes. The winter months prove particularly harsh, as plummeting temperatures cause water to freeze, block your pipes and produce fissures and cracks as a result of the additional pressure. Running water through your drains on a daily basis can help to prevent this, as can pouring boiling water with salt down your drain at the first sign of freezing. If DIY solutions don’t cut it, however, you should always call in the experts, as there may be a deeper underlying issue that needs to be fixed.

Contrary to popular belief, other types of weather can be equally as damaging. For instance, excess rain can cause your pipes to shift underground, which can lead to cracks. Similarly, in hot weather, the soil around your home expands, causing the ground to move. Once again, this can result in cracked or burst pipes, particularly if the soil is also dry. You might like to keep an eye on your hosepipe use, too. Using too much water can cause your water pressure to drop – another culprit when it comes to cracked pipes.


Nowadays, most modern homes are built with PVC drainpipes. However, older properties continue to have metal drainage systems that are vulnerable to rust and corrosion. The worst part about this is that it tends to affect the galvanised coating on the inside of your pipes, so you’re often unaware of the issue until it’s too late. This is where CCTV monitoring could make all the difference.

General Wear and Tear

Unfortunately, wear and tear is part of life. Even the most well-made PCV pipes are vulnerable to wearing out after years of use, developing small fissures as a result. Regular health checks are therefore recommended, no matter the age of your property.

Unstable Foundations

If your foundations aren’t stable, your drainage system won’t be either. The more the soil around your property moves, the greater the risk that your drainpipes will become cracked or broken.

Underground Movement

Any kind of movement in or around the foundations of your property can cause your drainpipes to crack. This ranges from man-made causes like digging to natural causes like the growth of tree roots. In fact, plants can make an existing problem even worse. Once cracks have developed, they are likely to grow in and around any gaps, since the pipes provide a good source of moisture. The more they grow, the more these cracks will widen.

How Can I Tell If My Drainpipes Are Cracked?

Worried you may already be a victim of cracked drainpipes? Don’t panic. Here’s a list of the main symptoms you may start to notice if things have gone awry:

  • Foul smells
  • Damp walls and floors 
  • Cracked walls and floors
  • Wet patches inside and outside your house
  • Sinkholes and subsidence in the driveway or garden

What to Do If You Think There’s a Problem

As soon as you suspect that you have a cracked drainpipe, it’s time to call in the experts. They’ll be able to identify the source of the issue and confirm if there’s a problem. At Cotswold Drainage, we’re experts in cracked drain repair. We use CCTV to assess the state of your drainage systems before suggesting the best possible course of action. We also conduct a free CCTV survey of your home with every callout, so it’s worth getting us in for peace of mind even if you’re unsure about the signs above.

Wondering how to repair a cracked drainpipe? You might like to read our blog on the different methods for fixing broken pipes here.

Looking to repair your cracked drainpipe? Speak to the experts today either by calling 01386 882324 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..