10 Pipe Materials You Might Find In Your Home

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Plumbing pipe comes in several different material types from copper to Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS). Some are more popular than others in recent years. Some serve a specific purpose. Let’s look at ten pipe materials you might find in your home.


Copper is an extremely reliable plumbing material that is resistant to corrosion, can take high temperatures, and is not prone to leaks. The biggest drawback to copper plumbing is the cost.

Galvanized steel

Galvanized steel became popular in the 1960s. This plumbing material was used extensively for interior as well as exterior buried supply lines. Galvanized steel does not resist corrosion or rust, which makes it likely to leak after a decade or so in service.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is actually a great plumbing material. This type resists corrosion and rust, and is very strong. The problem is that stainless steel is even more expensive than copper. This pipe material is most often used in marine environments where salt water and area are a problem.

Cast iron

Cast iron has been used for well over a century, mainly as drain lines. This pipe material is durable, but is hard to work with. Many times, if a cast iron line needs to be repaired, it is better to completely replace it with PVC.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC, aka polyvinyl chloride, is white or gray rigid pipe. This material is strong enough to carry water under pressure, but it cannot take high temperatures. PVC can work as a main supply line and as a drain line material.

Plastic polybutylene

Grey plastic polybutylene was a precursor material to PVC. This plumbing material is a flexible pipe that worked well as an alternative to copper. The problem is that, over time, plastic polybutylene is highly prone to leaking.

Cross-linked polyethylene

Cross-linked polyethylene is a flexible, reinforced pipe material that can handle hot water better than most plastic-like pipes. It is very common to see cross-linked polyethylene in new homes and makes a great replacement material when making repairs.

High-density polyethylene

High-density polyethylene is very long lasting, resistant to corrosion, and flexible. This pipe material usually comes in long lengths and make great supply lines for drinking water, gas, and hazardous waste. High-density polyethylene has very low drag, making it great for most plumbing applications.

Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC)

Creamy plastic chlorinated polyvinyl chloride is PVC that has been treated with chlorination. This pipe material can be used for both hot and cold supply lines. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride is less expensive than copper. However, this material cannot be buried because it will split if the ground freezes.

Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene is a black drain and vent pipe that is not found in new home applications. Some plumbing codes actually ban this material. ABS is often replaced with PVC.

The type of material your pipe is made from makes a big difference when it comes time to make repairs. If your home has pipes that you are not familiar with, it is best to leave repairs or replacements to the professionals. Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo, can help with all of your plumbing needs. We offer residential and commercial services. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more. You can also stop by our office at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo, Texas.