by Rick Delgado
on Friday, January 7th, 2022 at 1:54pm.
Pros and Cons of Different Piping Materials
Fortunately, the world has come a long way from using lead and clay piping. Science and technology have provided the industry with best practices to abide by, and this information has advanced the engineering of pipe materials that are now safer, more durable, and able to keep our drinking water clean. Now, stronger and safer piping such as stainless steel pipes has been widely used since World War II. What hasn’t changed is the labor-intensive process of updating piping in buildings, but choosing the right piping materials will save you the headache of future repairs or the expense of having to do it frequently.
Types of Piping Materials On the Market
These different types of piping are what you will commonly encounter in the market.
Pro: Lower price point and high durability.
Con: Short lifespan and can be susceptible to rust.
Pro: Lasts about 50 years, can be recycled and combats contamination.
Con: The manufacturing process is not environmentally friendly.
Pro: Highly durable, repels bacteria and is unreactive to chemicals.
Con: Price point is often high.
Pro: Highly durable.
Con: Easily susceptible to rust.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVP)
Pro: Does not rust or corrode.
Con: Extensive heat can cause the pipes to warp.
Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC)
Pro: Can withstand a significant amount of water pressure.
Con: Is susceptible to corrosion when in the sun.
Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX)
Pro: New to the plumbing scene and is used in many new homes.
Con: There have been some safety concerns around water contamination introduced about this product.
High-Density Polybutylene (HDPE)
Pro: Highly durable and the best leak-proof plastic option.
Con: Not as durable as stainless steel piping.
Grey Plastic Polybutylene (PB)
Pro: In-expensive and easy to work with.
Con: Extremely prone to leakage and not durable.
Metal Versus Plastic Piping
The debate between metal and plastic piping continues to this day. Plastic piping will likely always be cheaper than metal materials, and materials such as HDPE piping have quite a long lifespan while being flexible and corrosion-resistant. The problem with plastic piping is that it will never fully match the longevity, durability, and heat resistance qualities that steel piping contains. Some plastic piping is also only safe for indoor usage and cannot be buried or used outdoors because of its susceptibility to cracking, leaking, and corrosion.
Most metal pipes are made from steel, which means they have high durability and can go a long time without needing repair or replacement. Stainless steel pipes, in particular, resist corrosion and are often available in both flexible and rigid versions. In addition, steel piping is often a leading choice because of its safety features, such as a lack of reactivity to chemicals and bacteria combative surfaces.