Working with Different types of pipe Part 1:
*Cast Iron*: Mostly used before 1960 for the Vent stack, but also can be
found in both vertical and horizontal drains. It’s a strong pipe, but rusts
over time and is not the easiest to work with by far!
- *Plastic*: Plastic pipes are separated into two categories, ABS
(acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) or PVC (polyvinyl-chloride).
*A.)** PVC*: Is the most commonly used pipe for drain lines. It’s a white
colored pipe and will outlast any other type of pipe due to its resistance
to chemicals, any type of rust and its durability.
*B.) ** ABS*: Is a black colored plastic pipe and was the first plastic
pipe used in homes and residences. Today it’s not used very often due to
city and county codes, and PVC has replaced it almost entirely due to its
ease of use, and strong, durable, nature.
*C.)* (*Schedule 40 PVC* is a third type of plastic pipe, but due to its
nature in overheating, isn’t used all that much except occasionally in cold
*If you’re going to do a job yourself, call a professional if you’re
dealing with cast Iron pipes, you should be able to easily work with the
plastic pipes however.*
One of my favorites; copper pipes are light, easy to cut, and tend to be
the more resistant to corrosion than other metal pipes, which make them
perfect for running water lines. There are essentially two main types of
a.) a.) *Flexible copper pipe*: They’re easy to bend and are perfect for
appliances that need a water supply, i.e., dishwashers, refrigerators,
washers, etc.. You can join this type of pipe by compression or solder, and
they last longer than your plastic pipes although they’re a little more
*b.) *b.) *Rigid copper pipe**: *These types of copper pipe are joined
through sweating (solder) the fittings or compression. There are 3 types of
thicknesses: Types L, M, and K, each with their own unique “preferred”
uses. For instance, type M is the thinnest of the three and is used mostly
in residential areas and homes, while K and M-Types are more suited for
commercial and industrial uses due to their thicker, heavier nature.
PEX is a “cross-linked polyethylene” and is the newest type of pipe to be
used in homes and residential areas. It’s becoming quite popular due to its
flexibility, and it’s very easy to cut to fit, unlike some that we’ve
discussed so far; it’s much more expensive than copper and PVC, however.
It’s joined using compression, and by a crimping tool for more long
lasting, permanent jobs.
(Galvanized steel pipe) is an older pipe not used much today due to its
corrosive nature, lasting only about 40-50 years before needing to be
replaced or repaired. If you plan on doing it yourself and know you’re
dealing with this type of pipe, it’s best to call in a professional as it’s
very hard to work with and many accidents can be prevented by doing so.