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2 Main Types of Pipes Used in Plumbing


For a do-it-yourselfer, you need to acquaint yourself with the different type of pipes, their composition and when best to use them. Each type has its own setbacks and benefits and some kinds are even more used than others. Here is a quick run-through the different types of pipes:

  • Plastic Pipes
    • These are the most commonly used pipes for residential buildings and constructions. They are inexpensive and easy to use since you only need minimal cutting tools and plastic fittings to join them.
      1. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

        The first ever plastic pipe used in residential plumbing. It comes in black colour and is not allowed to be installed in some areas as its pipes and fittings easily come loose.

      2. PVC (Polyvinyl-chloride)

        A white or cream-coloured pipe used for residential plumbing. This quickly became the default choice in pipe because it is strong, practically untouchable by chemicals in durable.

      3. PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene)

        The newest type of residential pipe. Easy to install because of its ease in cutting, flexibility and use of compression fittings for connectivity. However, it is 3-4 times more expensive than copper and plastic.

      4. PB (Grey Plastic Polyethylene)

        The grey or beige-coloured flexible and inexpensive alternative for copper. However, this kind of plastic pipe is no longer being used because it is prone to leaks and cracks.

      5. HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)

        Made out of the same unyielding materials as the Lego blocks, these pipes are highly resistant to corrosion, flexible and seems to last forever. These are used to carry almost anything your home plumbing system needs – from drinking water to compressed gas to hazardous wastes. This pipe is used for any plumbing application.

  • Metal Pipes
    • These pipes are the expensive choice. These are very reliable, resistant to leaks, tolerant of heat and not prone to breakage.
      1. Copper

        A pipe that is resistant to corrosion, often use to handle hot or cold tap water yet are more expensive than their plastic counterparts.
        • Rigid Copper Pipe
          Type M is the thinnest one but is still strong enough for residential use. Type L and Type K are thicker. They are often used outdoors and in drain applications.
        • Flexible Copper Pipe
          Used for dishwashers, refrigerators and other appliances that need water supply because they bend easy and are soldered or uses compression fittings for joining.

      2. Cast Iron

        Just like other metal piping, this durable but it can still rust over time. Used mainly for vertical drain, vent stacks and sometimes in horizontal drain lines.

      3. Steel

        Are strong, durable pipes made of carbon and alloy of an iron used in harsh environments as they are exceptionally sturdy and are resistant to corrosion.
        • Stainless Steel
          Because of its strength and high resistance to corrosion, this is a good choice for marine environment plumbing or other plumbing needs where the pipe will be exposed to salt water and other harsh sites where other metals would erode. Its setback is its price. It is more expensive than Copper Pipes.
        • Galvanised Steel
          A grey coloured metal pipe used outdoors. Its slight resistance to corrosion and rust makes it ideal for supply lines which are mostly buried.

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