8 Pipe Types To Choose From For Construction Work

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Plumbing is an essential factor in the overall quality of construction because they manage water distribution and drainage. Whether you are building a residential house or commercial building, considering what pipe types to buy from your pipe supplier is important to prevent misuse of material. 

There are different types of pipes to choose from in the market but why and how do you choose the right pipe?

The selection of the right pipe is important to achieve the proper functionality and lifespan of your construction project. There can be a big difference in maintenance work and lifespan of your plumbing system when using the appropriate type of pipe in your plumbing. 

Also, take into consideration the factors such as the type of fluid, internal temperature, internal pressure, and other factors that may compromise the structural integrity of the pipe. Knowing these factors beforehand can help you in choosing the right pipe for your construction work. 

Here’s a guide on how to choose the right pipe type and its corresponding usage. There are two main categories of pipes: Service supply and Drain/Disposal pipes. 

Service supply

These pipes are used for distributing water from the main water supply line. The pipe types below are mainly used in potable and non-potable water distribution because of their durability and anti-corrosive properties. 

  • Copper pipes

Copper pipes are durable and reliable in plumbing systems. They have excellent anti-corrosive properties that make them an ideal candidate for hot and cold water applications. Aside from being strong, copper pipes are crack-resistant and recyclable with a shiny finish that is perfect for aesthetic design purposes. However, this makes copper pipes expensive and not suitable for potable water distribution because copper may leach into the water, making it toxic for drinking. 

  • Galvanized Iron pipes

Galvanized plumbing pipes are only used for non-potable water because it has the tendency to build rust along their pipeline as it ages. They come with low-cost components while being able to withstand high water pressure but they can also be easily corroded if supplied with brackish water or when buried underground. If damaged, galvanized pipes are also costly to repair.

  • PVC pipes

Polyvinyl chloride or plastic pipes are mainly used for cold water distribution. Because of plastic’s nature, they do not degrade easily and can last for many years. PVC pipes are cheap, light, and relatively easy to install. However, PVC pipes have poor flexibility and are in need of right-angle joints to be properly installed in complex areas. Also, these pipes shouldn’t be used in hot water distribution because of the tendency of the plastic to melt. 

  • CPVC pipes

Chlorinated polyvinyl (CPVC) pipes look the same as PVC pipes but they shouldn’t be used interchangeably. CPVC pipes are designed to handle very high temperature (~up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit) liquids and are used for hot water lines like solar water lines or geyser lines. They have long-lasting durability and thermal conductivity while being easy to install. 

Because of their nature to handle high temperature, CPVC pipes have a high thermal expansion coefficient which also means that it is not suitable for climates that have wide variations in temperature. 

  • PEX pipes

PEX or Cross-linked polyethylene popes are relatively new to the market. These pipes are made to handle water with hot or cold temperatures and high water pressure, which makes them an ideal candidate for commercial buildings. PEX pipes are made to be flexible so they are perfect for installation in hard-to-reach areas. 

Many people started to use PEX pipes because these pipes require low maintenance and are one of the most durable options in the market. However, PEX pipes are not compatible with most fittings and can cause water leakage because they are still new in the market. PEX pipes are also still not approved in building codes in several jurisdictions because of their recent development. 

  • Cast Iron pipes

These strong and durable pipes are commonly used as sewer lines of buildings because they are able to withhold heavyweights of organic waste. However, cast iron pipes are prone to corrosion and clogging which costs expensive repairs. Aside from the expensive repairs, they are hard to repair because of their tendency to sink into the ground due to their heavy weight. 

Drainage/Waste Disposal

Drainage and sewer pipes are used for the delivery of used or wastewater from your construction to the sewer systems. The materials of these pipes don’t necessarily put cleanliness as its top priority but rather address durability and safe disposal of wastewater out of your building. 

  • Concrete pipes

These economical pipes differ in many sizes and in general, they are categorized into two main sizes. Small-diameter concrete pipes are used for drainage of rainwater and irrigation works while the large-diameter pipes are used for water supply works. These pipes are known for their durability against external weather factors such as fire, direct sunlight, and tensile stresses (internal and external pressure). However, factors such as the decomposition of organic matter can damage its structural integrity, leading to damage by corrosion. 

  • HDPE pipes

High-Density Polyethylene pipes or HDPE are readily available pipes used for fluid and gas transfer in water mains and gas mains, respectively. These high-quality pipes are able to withstand high pressure, are extremely flexibly (~ 90 degrees), resistant to biological sustaining like root emergency, and lightweight. 

Because they are lightweight, these pipes are quick and easy to install and transport. HDPE pipes are likely uncommon and not recommended to be used in housework construction because it is costly and unnecessary for average plumbing purposes. They are recommended for pressurized wastewater and sewage disposal networks. 

Key Takeaway

Different types of pipes come with different purposes and depending on what your construction is, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of using each pipe can help you avoid unnecessary usage and cost. 

In order to further assess what type to use in building construction, consider first if you need supply or drain pipes and choose among the different types above. Asking advice from your pipe supplier can also be helpful in choosing what type of pipe to use in your construction work. 

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