We've learned a lot about plumbing since the days when people thought it was a good idea to install lead or galvanized steel pipes. In Ancient Rome, lead plumbing pipes were sometimes responsible for a lead poisoning. (Interesting fact: the word 'plumbing' actually comes from the Latin word for lead.) Between the 1920s and the 1980s, it wasn't unusual for a plumber to choose galvanized steel pipes, a material that over time tends to rust completely from the inside out. The problem wasn't just a broken pipe. It also resulted in harmful minerals leaching into the water supply. Fortunately, we've learned a few lessons since then. Here are the most trusted materials for piping plus the most exciting and innovative materials that plumbers use to do the job today.
Copper has been used in plumbing applications since the ancient Egyptians used it for water pipes all the way back in 2150 B.C. We still use it today, and it's considered the most durable, versatile, and reliable material. Why? There are several reasons.
- It's great for both cold and hot water applications.
- It's extremely resistant to corrosion and is impervious to other chemicals.
- It's safe with no harmful chemicals.
- It's a material that's easy to work with.
Stainless steel is another great material commonly used in plumbing. It's a material that was first developed in the late 1800s but has grown to have a plethora of uses today. It's popular in plumbing because it has all the above benefits of copper with a few additional strengths. For one, it's considered even more durable than copper and easier to install because no heating is required for fittings. However, stainless pipes can be expensive.
If you've ever seen a new house being built, you've probably noticed the colorful plastic pipes plumbers use for interior plumbing applications. The bright red and blue tubes of PEX piping are hard to miss. PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene, is a plastic material that has been developed for its many benefits, the foremost being its ease of install. Because it's flexible and comes on large spools, plumbers can install it quickly and easily with fewer fittings.
Developed in the 1970s by a plumber in Great Britain, cured-in-place pipe or CIPP is an exciting innovation that can save plumbers and homeowners a lot of stress, expense, and hard labor. CIPP is a seamless and jointless resin-saturated felt polyester tube that can be pulled through a damaged pipe to take its place without removal of the old pipe. CIPP technology enables plumbers to accomplish trenchless sewer repairs without digging. It's more cost-effective than replacing the old pipe and much less disruptive.Share