Different Pipe Material Used for Plumbing Applications

Several types of pipes can be employed for residential and commercial buildings. The selection of pipe and piping is a tough process, and can be made easy, if we know the pros and cons of each type of pipe that is commonly available in the market. 

Before we start investigating on the type of pipe to choose, some important questions one must answer are:

  1. Whether the pipe is supposed to deliver water?
  2. Whether the pipe undergoes draining?
  3. Whether the pipe is indoor or outdoor?
  4. Whether the pipe location is underground?
  5. Whether the pipe will be under low or high pressure?

Types of Pipes for Plumbing in Buildings

The major and common types of pipes used for building plumbing system are:
  1. Stainless steel pipes
  2. PEX piping
  3. PVC
  4. Copper
  5. Galvanized

1. Stainless Steel Pipes

  • Stainless steep pipe gives a neat look.
  • It is expensive.
  • It is used in areas subjected to large extend of corrosion like coastal areas.
  • Available in flexible and rigid type.
  • It demands couplers to join it with other types of pipes.
  • Stainless steel pipe is available in variety of length and size,

2. PEX Piping

  • Cross linked polyethylene pipes of PEX is one of the newest and popular type of pipe i plumbing market.
  • It is exclusively used for supplying water
  • It is highly rigid to sustain the water pressure.
  • It is as flexible to undergo weaving though the walls, basements and crawlspace.
  • 90 degree curves are possible.
  • Joining with other pipes are easy.
  • Inexpensive
  • Gives a leak free product compared to copper piping.
  • It can be cut easily
  • But cannot be recycled 
  • Not good for outdoor as UV rays can damage it.

3. Copper Piping

  • Traditional plumping pipes as highly durable and reliable.
  • Great corrosion resistance which can be used for hot and cold water pumping.
  • Soldering is performed together, which demands additional fittings.
  • Copper pipe is good for drinking water supply due to its health benefits.
  • It can resist high water pressure.
  • Copper pipe is recyclable and even has monetary value.
  • As connections are best when done through soldering, it requires skill.
  • Expensive plumbing system.

4. PVC

  • The main application of PVC pipes are in cold and hot potable water transport as well as for sewage applications.
  • They are available in different thickness and configuration depending on the application.
  • Plastic plumbing products are made out of either NSF-PW or NSF-61 in order to comply with the health effects requirements of NSF or ANSI Standards 6.

5. Cast Iron Pipes

  • Cast iron pipes are available in bell or spigot type. Threaded cast iron plumbing pipes are expensive than bell and spigot types.
  • They are heavy compared to other types of pipes and are best used for underground water distribution system.
  • The smallest size of cast iron pipe is 4 inches mainly for residential purpose. As its heavy, they must be supported by assembling a joint.

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