Plumbing Pipe Types

Describes different types and materials of pipes used in the plumbing industry.

In plumbing there are many types of pipes– some are more appropriate than others for specific jobs.

Here is an overview to help you decide which pipe is best for your application.

  • Plastic Pipe
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is white in color and can only be used for cold water. PVC is most often used to carry water from the main supply to a home. If you use PVC make sure it is approved for drinking water.
  • ABS (acrylonitrite-butadiene-styrene) is black in color and used for waste removal, venting, and drains primarily in bathrooms or mobile homes. It is a rigid plastic pipe that can be connected to metal pipe.
  • PEX can be used to carry both hot and cold water. It is used for interior plumbing in residential settings.
  • CPVC (chlorine-polyvinyl-chloride) is yellowish in color and can be used for hot and cold water and is often used as a substitute for copper pipe. CPVC cannot be buried so it is not used as a pipe to carry the main supply to a home.
  • Metal Pipe
  • CAST IRON is/was used in many parts of the country for drainage. It is a very durable pipe– challenging to use because of its weight. If you need to replace cast iron pipe it is suggested to use PVC because the two can be joined.
  • COPPER is a good choice for both hot and cold water supply lines. It is corrosion resistant, durable and lightweight. It is harder to work with — it must be soldered together and cuts must be precise.
  • GALVANIZED STEEL is very seldom used today . In the past it was used as for water supply lines. It will corrode over time and is very hard to work with.

This information should help you make an informed choice about the type of pipe best suited for your specific project.

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