Exploring the pros of different plumbing pipe materials


Plumbing pipe material affects performance, lifespan, and cost in a big way. Making informed decisions when installing or repairing plumbing requires an understanding of pipe materials and their advantages.

Copper piping

Copper has been a tried and true plumbing pipe material for decades.

  • Durability – The copper metal is highly corrosion-resistant and has a 50-year lifespan. Plumbing systems with this material last longer.
  • Heat conductivity – Copper conducts heat better than other traditional pipe materials. This helps maintain more even water temperatures.
  • Water purity – Copper is antimicrobial, which means it inhibits the growth of mold and other microorganisms within the pipe. This helps keep water fresh and clean.
  • Recyclability – Scrap copper pipes are reused since copper is 100% recyclable. This makes it an eco-friendly option.

PEX tubing

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is a flexible plastic tubing that has gained significant popularity in recent years. 

  • Flexibility – The tubing’s flexibility makes PEX very easy for plumbers to install around corners and between framing.
  • Freeze resistance – PEX retains some flexibility even when frozen, meaning it is less prone to bursting in cold temperatures.
  • Cost – PEX is one of the more affordable plumbing pipe options in terms of upfront costs. 
  • Corrosion proof – The plastic material is corrosion resistant for long-lasting performance.

Galvanized steel

Galvanized steel pipes have been used for decades and provide a sturdy option for plumbing systems. 

  • Strength – Galvanized steel has excellent strength and durability for high-pressure plumbing systems.
  • Longevity – With proper installation, galvanized steel pipes have a lifespan of 40 years or longer.
  • Cost – Galvanized steel tends to be relatively affordable and economical.
  • However, galvanized steel has fallen out of favor in recent years due to a few drawbacks:
  • Corrosion – The zinc coating on galvanized pipes eventually corrodes, exposing the underlying steel. This leads to leaks.
  • Rust accumulation – Over time, galvanized pipes accumulate rust on the inside, leading to potential clogging and poor water flow.

While still a viable option in some cases, other modern pipe materials often provide better performance and longevity. plumber Sutherland Shire is available to assist you. 

Cast iron

Cast iron pipes were historically one of the most popular choices because of their durability, longevity, and noise-dampening properties. 

  • Long lifespan – With proper maintenance, cast iron pipes last 75-100 years. This makes them an incredibly durable choice. 
  • Noise reduction – Cast iron helps muffle noise from water flowing through the pipes. This creates quieter plumbing.
  • Rust resistance – Cast iron pipes are inherently resistant to rust and corrosion when installed correctly.

Cast iron pipes are one of the more expensive upfront investments for plumbing systems. Cast iron becomes brittle over time, making the pipes prone to cracking if shifted or rattled. 


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