5 Types of Plumbing Pipes for Plumbing and Water Supply

Types of Plumbing Pipes – In this article we will learn about Main Types of Plumbing Pipes Used in Homes, Plumbing and Water Supply.

We will also Discuss, what is the best type of pipe for plumbing ? what type of pipe to use for plumbing drainage? what type of plumbing pipe is cheapest or what is the cheapest type of plumbing pipe?

Below are the most commonly used types of plumbing pipes, their purposes and advantages:

  1. PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride Pipe
  2. Rigid Copper Pipe
  3. PEX or Cross-linked Polyethylene Piping
  4. Stainless Steel Pipes
  5. Cast Iron Plumbing Pipes

PVC Pipe Or Poly Vinyl Chloride Pipe

PVC plumbing pipes are used for drain, vent, and waste lines, cold and hot potable waterlines, and for sewage applications. Their thickness and configurations vary depending on the application where it will be used. PVC pipes are light and easy to work with and install.

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, pipe is a drain or vent line type of plumbing pipe. PVC initially gained popularity because it was lighter and easier to work with than traditional galvanized steel pipe.

PVC pipe is moderately easy to install and requires little more than a hacksaw and a miter box to cut. PVC glues together with solvents.

PVC pipe is lighter to work with than galvanized steel. It’s used for hot and cold potable water, and also for sewage. PVC pipe varies in the configuration and thickness depending on where it’s going to be used. PVC pipes that are used for sewer pipes are not the same ones that are used for pressure water pipes. PVC pipes designated for potable water applications are marked with either an “NSF-61” or an “NSF-PW” to show that they comply with health requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 6.

PVC plastic plumbing pipes don’t corrode, degrade or rust over time. This type of pipe is excellent for toilets, bathtub drain lines, sinks and vent stacks. It also stands up to high water pressure.

The downside of PVC piping is that it can’t handle hot water. Pipes will warp when the water is too hot.

Rigid Copper Pipe

Copper pipes are the most traditional and popularly used plumbing pipes since they are durable, long-lasting, and corrosion-resistant. They are also the best water supply pipe option since they do not carry certain health risks that PVC pipes have. They work well with both hot and cold water.

Copper plumbing pipes, however, have to be soldered together and may require some additional fittings. As such, you or your contractor have to be good at soldering if you want to use this type of material.

Rigid copper is often used for water supply lines within the home. Rigid copper is easily cut with a hacksaw or with a special copper tube cutter.

The connection is a different matter, as it requires a practiced hand to solder copper pipe together.

Rigid copper pipe is great for water supply because it does not come with any health risks.

PEX Or Cross-Linked Polyethylene Piping

PEX pipes are flexible, color-coded plastic pipes that are easy to cut and simple to connect. They are now one of the most popular plumbing pipe options used for residences and small business establishments or buildings since they require little maintenance. They are one of the strongest and most durable materials today and can thus remain leak-free for a long period of time.

PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene, pipe is one of the newest and most popular pipes to hit the plumbing market. PEX is used only to supply water.

PEX is a pipe that is rigid enough to withstand the pressures of water supply but flexible enough to weave throughout walls, ceilings, basements, and crawlspaces.

PEX has truly delivered water-supply plumbing into the hands of do-it-yourselfers and professional plumbers.

Stainless Steel Pipes

Stainless steel pipes are typically used in areas subject to corrosion and near coastal areas. It is one of the most durable types of plumbing pipe materials. This type of pipe is available in both flexible and rigid varieties. If they will be attached to other types of pipes, special couplings will be needed.

Cast Iron Plumbing Pipes

Cast iron plumbing pipes are generally manufactured as bell and spigot types. Most cast iron plumbing pipes come with threaded joints but they are more expensive than the bell and spigot ones.

Cast iron pipes are heavier than any other pipes and as such, are best used for underground water distribution system. You will often see them as the main pipe on drainage or sewer systems.

You can read our Report on the use of variety type of pipes in domestic house utility by clicking here.

Types of Plumbing Pipes as Supply Pipes or Service Pipes

  1. Copper Pipes
  2. Galvanized Iron Pipes
  3. Polythene Pipes
  4. Lead Pipes

Types of Plumbing Pipes as Drain Pipes or Waste Disposal Pipes

  1. Soil Pipe
  2. Wastewater Pipe
  3. Rainwater Pipe
  4. Vent Pipe
  5. Anti-Siphonage Pipe

Types of Plumbing Pipes as Drainage Pipes Based on Material of Manufacturing

  1. Concrete Pipes
  2. Cast Iron Pipes
  3. Stoneware Pipes
  4. PVC Pipes

What Type Of Plumbing Pipe Is Best?

When considering which type of plumbing pipe is best, it comes down to the type that’s best for the job at hand. Here are the best choices for homeowners.

  • PEX or Cross-Linked Polyethylene Plumbing Pipes: PEX can be passed through walls, around corners and other obstructions without any seams. There’s no soldering where joints are needed. It easily used by DIYers, leak-free and installs quickly. Cost is around $30 for 100 feet.
  • CPVC: Another great plumbing pipe for DIYers. It doesn’t require any special skills or tools. It can be cut easily with a handsaw and put it together with adhesives and matching fittings. Cost is around $50 for 100 feet.
  • PVC: It can be used for both hot and cold water and for sewage. Different size and grades of pipe can be used according to what the job needs.

Best Type of Plumbing Pipe for Cold Weather

Polythene pipes or plastic pipes are used for cold water services. Nowadays, plastic pipes dominate the others by some advantages as follow –

  1. Do not corrode
  2. Cheap in cost
  3. Less weight
  4. Ease of installation
  5. Do not require threading
  6. Resistant to bacterial scale

So, these are mostly used in the world but they are limited to cold water supplies. They do not sustain high temperature.

When buying types of pipes for plumbing, be sure to choose the right one for the job. New piping for plumbing should always be used where it’s supposed to be used.

About the Author
Er. Mukesh Kumar
Er. Mukesh Kumar is Editor in Chief and Co-Fonder at ProCivilEngineer.com Civil Engineering Website. Mukesh Kumar is a Bachelor in Civil Engineering From MIT. He has work experience in Highway Construction, Bridge Construction, Railway Steel Girder work, Under box culvert construction, Retaining wall construction. He was a lecturer in a Engineering college for more than 6 years.