What are the Different Types of Plumbing Pipes

Plumbing Pipes Guide

There are various types of plumbing pipes for residential or commercial buildings. Plumbing pipes such as Copper, PEX, and PVC are typically used depending on their application and the location of the installation. Also, there are some other types of plumbing pipes such as black, galvanized, and brass. With these many varieties and types of metal and plastic pipes, make sure you know what options work best for your plumbing project. 

Each type of pipe has their pros and cons and specific usages in your home. Understanding your options is the first step when considering a major re-piping project.

Copper Pipes (Metal)

Pros of Copper Pipes

  • Proven standard for durability and reliability since the 1960’s
  • Superior corrosion resistance
  • Great to use for both hot and cold water
  • Not prone to leaks
  • It won’t pollute your drinking water
  • Old pipes are recyclable
  • Heat Tolerant
  • Long lifespan

Cons of Copper Pipes

  • The initial price is higher than other piping materials
  • May contain lead-based solder in older homes
  • Needed to be soldered together, so expert skill is required
  • Requires additional fittings

Additional Information

  • Comes in three sizes:
    M for thinnest grade of copper
    L for medium thickness
    K for thickest grade of copper

Galvanized Steel Pipes (Metal)

Galvanized piping was widely used several years ago as the standard for residential plans. However, it is hardly used nowadays due to the harmful effects caused by rust build up inside its small diameter pipes. Most homes that are still using galvanized pipes need to be re-piped to secure removal of all the lead in their home’s piping. Copper, HDPE, and PEX pipes are often used to replace galvanized pipes.

Cons of Galvanized Steel Pipes

  • Very heavy pipes, making it tough to work with
  • Zinc coating causes internal rusting
  • Having visible pieces of rust in contents of water over time
  • Discoloration of water
  • Prone to clogged water lines that can create reduced water pressure

Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes or PVC Pipes (Plastic)

Pros of PVC pipes

  • Does not rust, deteriorate, or degrade over time
  • Great for your home’s sink, toilet, and bathtub drain lines or vent stacks
  • Often used for the main water supply lines into your home
  • Excellent at carrying high water pressure
  • Inexpensive
  • Very easy to work with

Cons of PVC pipes

  • Cannot manage hot water, it can warp when exposed to hot water

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes or CPVC Pipes (Plastic)

Pros of CPVC pipes

Includes additional chlorine, which makes it safe for drinking water

  • Can handle hot and cold water
  • Durable and Reliable
  • Easy to work with especially for DIYers
  • More flexible than PVC pipes

Cons of CPVC pipes

  • Will split if it freezes
  • Old pipes are not recyclable

Cross-Linked Polyethylene or PEX Pipes (Plastic)

Pros of PEX Pipes

  • Best used for retrofits
  • Extremely flexible and leak-free – can snake through walls easily and can extend across house with one piece of PEX pipe
  • Very resistant to hot and cold temperatures
  • Best piping for indoor water distribution
  • Widely used in small business and residential homes
  • Can be installed faster than any other plumbing pipe

Cons PEX Pipes

  • The initial price is higher than other piping materials.
  • Cannot be used outside, as UV rays can ruin the plastic

Other Metal Pipes:

  • Stainless Steel: Extremely durable and corrosion-resistant, but are more expensive than copper piping
  • Cast Iron: Durable, but very heavy. A PVC pipe can also replace a part of cast iron.
  • Black Iron: NEVER use for plumbing. Use this only for carrying gas.

Other Plastic Pipes:

  • Gray Plastic Polybutylene or PB Pipes: Affordable replacement for copper, easy to install and work with, though, it’s prone to leaks.
  • High-density Polybutylene or HDPE Pipes: Versatile, highly resistant to corrosion and possesses long lifespan. Useful for a wide variety of plumbing applications.

If you want to speak with a plumbing professional about the type of plumbing pipe that works best in your home, contact Einstein Pros today at (888) 671-7767 or email support@einsteinpros.com. We offer expert plumbing, heating & cooling, water heater, and sewer & mainline services even plumbing pipes guide to residential and commercial properties in Oregon, Washington and Nevada.