Repiping plumbing lines in your home is a big job – and it’s a job you want to get right. But the range of plumbing pipe materials to choose from can make it confusing. Here we look at some of the characteristics of the major pipe types to help you choose the right pipe for your plumbing.
Copper has long been the ‘gold’ standard for pipes because it’s a durable, long-lasting, and natural piping material. Approximately 95% of existing homes have copper piping; even with the availability of new materials, 80% of new homes today are using it, too.
- The only piping that carries a 50-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Used for over 70 years and is still trusted
- Leak resistant
- Won’t contaminate your drinking water
- Naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria
- Valuable material can be recycled and used again
- Tolerance to heat and pressure
- Requires less maintenance and fewer repairs
- Easy handling and reduced installation time and cost
- Higher cost
- Older copper pipes may contain lead-based solder
- Copper pipes can only handle water with a pH between 6.5 and 8.5
Cross-linked polyethylene or PEX pipes are a type of plastic pipe that is preferred for repiping plumbing lines, as they’re versatile, flexible, and can fit into any space.
- Resistant to lime scale buildup and chlorine
- Flexible and versatile – PEX can easily cover the entire width of the home with one length of pipe
- Easy and quick to install
- Heat resistant and suitable for both hot and cold water
- PEX pipes deteriorate with exposure to UV rays
- Installation requires a specialized tool that can be expensive to purchase
- Cannot be recycled or reused
Polyvinylchloride pipes or PVC pipes are often used for the main water supply to your home as well as the home sinks, toilet, and bathtub drain lines or vent stacks. Due to the strengths of PVC, it is one of the most widely used plastics in the world.
- Can be molded into different shapes, sizes, and fittings as needed.
- Resistant to rust and corrosion
- Strong, durable, and easy to install
- Can carry high water pressures
- Cannot be used for hot water as it warps when exposed to heat
- Concerns over effects on drinking water and the environment
- Pipe material is unable to be recycled or reused
CPVC pipe is similar to PVC pipe, with chlorine added to the plastic to make it more temperature resistant and safe for drinking water.
- Heat resistant
- A wider range of applications with different sizes of pipes available
- Flexible and easy to use, making it suitable for DIYers
- Will split if frozen, requiring complete replacement
- Plastic cannot be recycled or reused
Pipes made of galvanized steel are no longer used in new homes, but many homes built between the 1930s – 1980s still have them. Galvanized steel pipes need to be removed by a professional plumber when found and replaced with another pipe material.
- Heavy and difficult to work with
- Internal zinc coating causes corrosion and rust
- When pipes corrode, lead can be leached into the water supply
- Water may also become discolored
- Cause reduced water pressure and clogs with their deterioration over time.
A qualified plumber can quickly and accurately assess the current status of your home’s plumbing and provide recommendations to ensure your comfort, health, and safety. Contact Magnificent Plumbing and Rooter today about the best materials for repiping plumbing lines in your home.