When plumbers talk about pipes, there are two different types of plumbing pipes that can be used for all of your plumbing needs. Whether you are putting together sink, a water heater, a complete kitchen or bathroom or doing some remodeling yourself, it really comes down to what will be going through those pipes. Do we need a gas pipe, water pipe or waste (drainage) pipe? Answering those questions first help us determine the pipe's material.
The materials can be broken down into two categories. Metal pipe and plastic pipe.
Why so many different types of pipe? Each pipe is suited for different applications and the trick is knowing what pipe will work best for each.
Copper pipe is a luxury pipe. It's durable, corrosion-resistant and light-weight, which makes it one of the most expensive types of plumbing pipe on the market. But that doesn't mean that it's uncommon. In fact, it's probably the most common type of water pipes used for hot and cold water lines!
One way people try to cut back on copper pipe costs is by using CPVC to carry their hot water. It would be very impractical to plumb an entire house with copper pipe since there are other types of pipe that can be used efficiently.
Stainless Steel Pipe
It is not very common to find stainless steel plumbing in homes as it runs more expensive and is generally harder to find than the others. Stainless material is used in areas that come in direct contact with salt water such as marine environments, because it is better able to resist the corrosive nature of salt.
This type of water pipe is used most commonly as a means of taking water away from the home. It's thicker and heavier and often buried underground. It has a coating that makes it rust resistant.
In the end, metal pipes are the very best choice for certain applications (such as water pipes) and not so great a choice for others. Nowadays contractors and home owners are trying to move away from galvanized pipe by using plastic pipe simply because plastic pipe is easier to work with and it does not rust!
Plastic pipes include a good variety of pipes designed well for high pressure water (hot and cold). Let's have a look at the different types.
Polyvinyl Chloride Pipe (PVC)
PVC is most often used for plumbing high-pressure water, usually cold. Sprinkler systems are constructed using this handy type of pipe. It's inexpensive and capable of the most common plumbing needs such as cold water pipes and waste pipes.
Polyethylene Pipe (PEX)
PEX pipe is specially designed as a hot water pipe. It has a high resistance for heat which makes it suitable for showers, sinks and washing machines. This plastic pipe is also very flexible, which makes it easy to work with!
Acrylonitrite Butadiene Styrene Pipe (ABS)
This rigid plastic pipe is designed well to serve as a waste pipe, drain pipe and ventilation pipe. You see ABS pipe most commonly in bathrooms.
Chlorine Polyvinyl Chloride Pipe (CPVC)
As the name denotes, CPVC pipe is simply PVC pipe that has been made more chlorinated. It's one of the most common substitutes for copper pipe as it shares the same outer diameter as copper pipe.
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