When plumbing, you may find it confusing to choose the kind of pipes to install. Most of these pipes blend together.
Thus, you may be spoilt for choice. Right now, the answer is not clear like in the earlier years when galvanized pipes were the only choice. Here are the major types of pipes you can find today:
PVC is an abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride.
Ideal usage: PVC pipes are best suited for vent and drain lines.
PVC pipes are widely used in plumbing. Their popularity is due to their lighter nature. They’re also easier to use in plumbing work than galvanized pipes. PVC pipes are mainly used for waste or drain pipes.
They can also be used for stacks. Stacks are the pipes that stick out of rooflines but don’t work as water supply pipes. It’s very easy and effortless to install PVC pipes. They merely require a miter box, hacksaw, and solvents for gluing the pipes together.
Diameters of PVC pipes are written on the whitish pipe surface. The diameter markings are often clear. If you’re unable to read the diameters, you can determine them using an appropriate sizing tool like a Pi-Piper.
Ideal usage: Water supply pipes and for homeowners who love DIY plumbing.
PEX is a color-coded and flexible plastic pipe. It’s appreciated by many DIY enthusiasts because it is easier to cut and join than steel. For most people, using PEX as water supply pipes is quite effortless.
Ideal usage: For vent and drain lines.
ABS pipes resemble PVC pipes. However, ABS pipes are black. They’re more of an older type of PVC. However, they’re disallowed for use in some plumbing codes.
Just like PVC, these pipes are used as vent or drain pipes. If you previously worked with ABS, you may want to replace them with PVC.
Ideal usage: Flexible copper is ideal for water running into refrigerators and heaters.
This type of tubing is generally used for shorter runs. This is the kind of tubing you see connected to water heaters and cold water supplies in tight areas.
These tubes are easy to cut using a hacksaw. It is also easy to bend them around corners. However, flexible copper doesn’t hold up well under extreme temperatures. Thus, it’s not ideal for outdoor use.
Ideal usage: Great for water supply and ideal for installation by experienced DIY homeowners and plumbing professionals.
It is easy to cut rigid copper pipe using a Skilsaw or hacksaw. You can also cut it using a copper-based tube cutter. However, connecting rigid copper pipes is relatively challenging.
It requires someone with experience in soldering copper pipes together. You can buy an extra rigid copper pipe for practice on how to solder the pipe.
Rigid copper pipes are ideal for supplying water since it doesn’t come with the health dangers associated with PVC.
Ideal usage: Sewer lines.
Most homes still have cast iron pipes. Although it’s exterior appearance may look aged, this pipe can be used until it rusts in its entirety.
Ideal usage: Attaching to existing galvanized steel pipes.
This is the type of pipe that everyone thinks of whenever plumbing pipes are mentioned. The pipe is threaded at both ends. Galvanized pipes are connected to each other using connecting joints.
Although galvanized steel pipes are strong, they are not popularly used today in new homes. Also, they’re not recommended for new DIY installations.