What Are the Best Materials for Water Pipes?

When selecting your water pipes, you can choose from several materials such as galvanized steel and copper. When selecting your preferred water pipe material, you will have to consider several factors, like water quality, environmental impact, durability, and cost. Consider consulting a plumber if you are not well versed with plumbing since the material you choose is vital. Understanding the different materials will help when selecting your water pipes. Below are the best water pipe materials:

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

It is a type of plastic often used in irrigation piping, spas, pools, drainage pipes, and main water supply lines. They are available in different schedules, such as 40 and 80. Higher schedules have thicker walls; hence they can handle more pressure and are stronger. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material is best used as a cold water pipe, and it is not susceptible to corrosion or rust. It is also easy to replace or repair and reasonably priced, making it an affordable option. You should not use it as a hot water pipe or expose it to UV rays or heat from the sun because it degrades and breaks down the plastic material.


Water pipes with copper material can be used for both cold and hot water pipes since they have natural anti-microbial properties, resist corrosion, and are heat resistant. However, they are costlier than plastic pipe options, and their labor is equally expensive. Copper water pipes material is available in three thicknesses K, L, and M, with K being the thickest and M the thinnest. When buying water pipes, consider buying pipe cutting tools since you will likely need them to cut the pipes. Copper pipes can be used in aboveground and underground applications, but it would be best to install sleeves when using the copper pipes underground.

Cross-Linked Polyethylene

The material is commonly known as PEX and is a form of plastic often used for cold and hot water supply lines. However, you should avoid connecting it to a water heater directly and instead use hot water piping. It has low corrosion, high durability, and is quite flexible. PEX allows for lesser fittings and is freeze resistant since it contracts and expands. This water pipe material can easily curve around obstructions and constructions. It is an excellent choice for repiping since you can snake it through existing pipes.

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride

Its acronym, CPVC, popularly refers to it, and it usually comes as an off-white or cream-colored plastic. It can be used for cold and hot water lines. Depending on the schedule, this water pipe material can withstand a temperature of up to 180 degrees. It uses similar push-fit fittings as copper and PEX, and it has a lifespan of 50 to 80 years when used in the right conditions. It will be best to use the appropriate glue and a primer when you make a CPVC joint.

Galvanized Steel

Essentially, galvanized steel water pipes are steel pipes that are treated with a zinc coating. The galvanized coating prevents the water from corroding the steel pipe. Installing this material takes plenty of labor and time. That is why it is mainly used in large commercial applications. These water pipes are durable, with a lifespan of 40 to 50 years. Consider upgrading your pipes once they surpass their lifespan.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

It is a black plastic pipe, also referred to as ABS. It is similar to PVC, except it is more susceptible to degradation and is less flexible. This water pipe material is effective in underground pipes, is easy to install, and is strong. It is worth mentioning that this used to be the top water pipe material choice for residential plumbing. Unfortunately, ABS material tends to warp in the sun, so it would help to consult your plumber when selecting this material for your water pipe.

Essentially, the best material for a water pipe depends on several factors such as plumbing use, water type, exposure to light, and soil characteristics. It will be best to consult with your plumber to determine what material will be the best choice for your water pipes. It will also help to determine the pros and cons of each material to make an informed decision.

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