08 Dec

How to Identify Different Types of Plumbing Pipes?

The two main types of plumbing pipe are metal and plastic. Metal plumbing pipes include copper, galvanized and stainless steel pipes. PVC (polyvinyl chloride), Polypipe, PEX pipe, and CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) are the types of plastic plumbing pipes. Not every type of pipe is as useful as another, and every type is designed for a specific plumbing purpose. Let’s talk about all of them.

Metal Plumbing Pipes
Copper is common as this type of plumbing pipe is widely used in the residential plumbing; however, it is not as cost effective as plastic piping. It is beneficial because it is resistant to corrosion, which means it can easily withstand high temperature. The copper plumbing pipes come in 3 different sizes; starting from M to L to K. The M type of copper pipe has thin walls, L is a medium, and K is the thickest of all the three.
Galvanized pipes
Galvanized pipes have been used in homes for years, typically to carry water in and out of the house. The galvanized coating prevents rusting, and gives a dull gray appearance. Use of these heavy duty pipes is diminishing, as it is being replaced by PEX pipe, which is less expensive and just as durable. Galvanized pipes, typically come in sizes between ½ inch (1.3 centimeters) and 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) in diameter.

Stainless Steel Pipes
Stainless steel is not very common as compared with other metal plumbing pipes. Why stainless steel pipes are less common? Because they are rare and more expensive. Stainless steel pipe is mainly used in marine atmosphere due to its capability of withstanding salt water. Homeowners do not prefer these types of pipes due to its price.

Plastic Plumbing Pipes
PVC pipes
PVC is a type of plastic material and pipes made up of PVC material is often used to carry high pressured water. PVC pipes are available in many different sizes, ranging from 1.3 cm to 10.2 cm in diameter. Keep in mind that PVC pipes are not designed to handle hot water, they are only designed to handle cold water. Most of the PVC pipes come in white color.


The next type is Polypipe. It is designed to transport high pressure water and usually comes in black color. It is best suitable for outdoor installation. Most of the plumbing professionals recommend a homeowner to install them underground as it prevents them from freezing. These are only used for outdoor purposes.

PEX Pipe
PEX pipes are popular these days due to their flexibility to handle both hot and cold water. They usually incorporate same diameter as copper. The only drawback of these pipes is that they are heat resistant.

CPVC pipes are very similar to PVC plumbing pipes, as they just get an additional chlorination. These pipes are designed to handle both cold and hot water, they are thinner and more flexible than PVC pipe.

Bottom Line
It is really great that now we have a lot of different options for selecting plumbing pipes. Most of them are Eco-friendly and they do not leach any toxins. Please check LEED certification before buying any type of plumbing pipe.