The durability and longevity of plumbing pipes are crucial factors to consider when selecting suitable materials for your construction or renovation project. Choosing the right type of pipe material can save time, money, and inconvenience in the long run. While there are various types of plumbing pipes available on the market today, each comes with its respective pros and cons. Let’s determine which material will likely stand the test of time by considering factors such as lifespan, resistance to corrosion, maintenance requirements, and overall performance.
1. PVC pipes
LIFESPAN: 50 to 70 years
PVC pipes, also called CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) are plastic pipes commonly used for drainage and wastewater systems. PVC pipes are excellent at withstanding high temperatures of up to 140OF (60OC) and they are highly resistant to corrosion. They are cost-effective, as well as non-toxic and resistant to chemicals, meaning they will keep your water purity intact. While they are flame resistant, they’re more sensitive to colder climates and freezing temperatures, which increases the chance of freezing, leaking and even bursting if not properly insulated.
2. Copper Pipes
LIFESPAN: 70 to 80 years
Copper pipes have been a popular choice for plumbing systems for many years. They have a proven track record of durability and longevity and be installed both indoors and out. Copper pipes are resistant to corrosion, making them suitable for both hot and cold water applications. They have a lifespan of up to 80 years or even longer with proper installation and maintenance. Copper pipes are also known for their reliability and ability to withstand high pressure. However, their initial cost can be higher than other materials, and they may require skilled professionals for installation.
3. Cast Iron Pipes
LIFESPAN: 80 to 100 years
Cast iron pipes have been used in plumbing systems for over a century due to their exceptional durability and strength. These pipes have a lifespan of around 80 to 100 years, making them one of the longest-lasting options available. But even with a high lifespan, cast iron pipes require regular inspection and maintenance as deterioration of cast iron pipes can start as early as 25 years from installation. Cast iron pipes are highly resistant to fire, impact, and with proper care – corrosion, making them ideal for drainage and sewage systems. Cast Iron pipes are bulky and require professional installation due to their weight. While cast iron pipes offer excellent longevity, they are gradually being replaced by more lightweight and cost-effective alternatives in modern construction.
4. PEX pipes
LIFESPAN: 40 to 50 years
PEX pipes are cross-linked polyethylene. It is a lightweight pipe that’s easy to install, making it another cost-effective solution. This material is durable, flexible, highly resistant to corrosion, scale, and chlorine, and capable of withstanding both hot and cold water making them more burst-resistant. PEX pipes have become a standard when it comes to house repiping, however, they cannot be exposed to sunlight as they are sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can degrade the material over time and therefore should not be installed outside.
5. Galvanized steel pipes
LIFESPAN: 30 to 50 years
Galvanized steel pipes were commonly used in plumbing systems in the past, but their popularity has declined in recent years. These pipes are made of steel coated with a layer of zinc to protect against corrosion. While galvanized steel pipes have a lifespan of around 30 to 50 years, they are susceptible to corrosion over time. Rust and mineral deposits can build up inside the pipes, leading to reduced water flow and potential leaks. Moreover, the zinc coating can deteriorate, exposing the steel to corrosion. Due to these drawbacks, galvanized steel pipes are being replaced by other materials in modern plumbing systems.
When settling on the type of material for your plumbing system, call your sewer and drain professionals at VIP Sewer and Drain Services! Our experienced, licensed plumbing experts can assist you in making the right decision.