Metal vs. Plastic Pipes: What’s Better?

13 Jul

If you are in the process of upgrading or switching your plumbing system, you will come across the option of using either metal or plastic piping. You may wonder what the pros and cons of each method are, and what’s better suited for you and your needs. Here at Brothers Plumbing, we can help you with your commercial and residential plumbing system to make sure you are making the right choice for your plans and budget. We can help update your plumbing system so that it is safe for you and all your family members to use it. This is especially important in older properties with outdated and obsolete water lines. Read on to discover a comparison of pipe options, as well as some information on different types of metal, such as copper and stainless steel.

Advantages of Metal Pipes

Metal piping is often the go-to, more traditional piping used by homeowners in their plumbing systems. This is because it lasts incredibly long and is generally the most durable option. A metal pipe consists of copper, brass, cast iron, or steel. Each option has its own benefits and limitations. One of the main disadvantages of using metal piping is that these pipes corrode over time and can flake off rust, causing rusty tap water. However, certain metals like copper are a great option, as they can offer resistance to rusting and last longer than other materials. Also, metal piping is usually the more expensive option compared to plastic piping, which is becoming more widely used nowadays.

Benefits of Plastic Piping

Plastic pipes are generally easier to work with and cost less to install. They’re not as heavy or solid and, therefore, not as arduous to work with. It’s also easy to cut and fit plastic into tight areas and, due to its popularity, usually easier to find odd or unusual pieces that fit what you are looking for. Although this is the main advantage, plastic is not as durable as metal in that it is not as heat resistant and will need to be replaced more often than metal piping. Also, there are some restrictions to using plastic piping, as it typically cannot be used in areas of plumbing systems that carry drinkable water or water under high pressure.

If you choose to use plastic piping in these areas, it should be made of polybutylene or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC). CPVC piping has chlorine added to it, which increases heat resistance, makes it suitable for drinking water, and provides good insulation. PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) can also be a good, long-lasting option for use in drinkable water lines, but would need to be connected by a section of copper tubing if used for a hot water heater. PVC pipes can easily and efficiently be used for drain parts of the plumbing system.

Another major benefit of plastic piping is that it will not rust or corrode, unlike metal piping. Plastic piping is easy to join, as there are several different methods for installation and welding doesn’t have to take place, which saves some effort.

Brass Piping and Stainless Steel

If you are leaning towards metal piping, you may be weighing your options when it comes to what type of metal is best to use. Brass piping is still used today, although it is quite older than other types of metal. As long as it is lead-free, it should be safe for use in drinking water lines and is quite durable and resistant to corrosion. Stainless steel is another possible option that is very strong, resistant, and easy to maintain.

Galvanized Steel

Commonly used in plumbing, galvanized steel has a zinc coating, which resists rust and makes it a durable, long-lasting option. Galvanized steel is also known to be a less costly alternative to steel pipes. The major downside of this type of metal is that it can restrict water flow and potentially cause other plumbing issues.

Copper Pipes

As previously mentioned, copper pipes are a great option for longevity and high quality. They are considered modern, beneficial, and are becoming very popular, as they provide great water quality free from contaminants. Copper surfaces are inherently antimicrobial and can help kill off harmful bacteria. These pipes are also reliable and do not rust, which makes them a prime option for many.

As you can see, there are different options that you can choose from, depending on what your project entails. Rest assured that there is an option that will work for you and offer both durability and versatility. If you are unsure, you can always speak to a professional plumber or technician to figure out which option will work safely and efficiently for your plumbing system. For more information on our plumbing services and piping options, please contact Brothers Plumbing at 800-742-0018 or contact us here. We would be happy to help you with your next project or upgrades in a timely and professional manner. Contact us today for more information and to request a quote.

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