The plumbing system in a house consists of a lot of intricately installed pipes that lead water to the places it needs to be. The pipes in a home aren’t always all made of the same material. In fact, there are many different materials used to make plumbing pipes for different purposes. Here is a list of the most common materials that are used for plumbing installation and plumbing repair services San Diego CA, as well as pros and cons to each one.
- PVC (Poly-vinyl Chloride) is a thick, strong, white plastic-like material that is very affordable and easy to work with. Pipes made of PVC usually has markings on them to indicate the type of PVC used to make them. These are the most common types of pipes found in a home but are not suitable for very hot water because the hot water will cause them to warp. PVC can’t be used to deliver drinking water because it can degrade. So, they are commonly used in toilets and drains. This material also does not insulate noise very well, so it isn’t recommended for places such as hotels where guests expect peace and quiet. CPVC (Chlorinated Poly-Vinyl Chloride) can be used for hot water delivery instead of PVC because it is stronger, doesn’t warp, and doesn’t degrade.
- Copper is one of the best materials on the market for plumbing pipes. It is extremely durable, doesn’t degrade, and is great for hot water delivery and drinking water delivery. The drawback to copper is that it is extremely expensive. In fact, copper is so valuable that it is often stolen from construction sites. Copper can turn to a greenish color due to oxidation. At joints that have been soldered there could be lead contamination.
- Cast Iron is a material that isn’t used as often as it used to be. This thick-diameter pipe is extremely durable, probably the most durable material that pipes can be made from. Cast iron pipes hide the sound of running water well. They are also fire-resistant and are good to use for gas lines. The drawback of using cast iron for pipes is the fact that cast iron is hard to work with. Cutting cast iron requires special equipment, equipment that most home owners don’t have access to.
- PEX, also known as Cross-linked Polyethylene is a material that is similar to PVC but is usually multi-colored and rarely used for drain lines. It has become widely used in newer home constructions and has many advantages over PVC. One big advantage is that PEX is flexible. It can be bent around corners making it easy to install throughout the home. It is also resistant to damage from freezing–most pipes crack due to the expansion and contraction caused from freezing but since PEX is flexible, it can expand and contract easily.
All of these materials have great benefits to use in home plumbing applications. Some materials may be better used in certain areas than others. By weighing the pros and cons of each material, it will become clear which material is best for your particular plumbing project.