What Materials Are Used For Plumbing Pipe? | Thermoparts
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September 15, 2016

What Materials Are Used For Plumbing Pipe?

So just what materials are used for plumbing pipe? Well, at one time, domestic plumbing systems used iron and lead pipes. These days, however, water is usually carried around the home in copper pipes, with plastic pipes used for waste systems.

Our latest post looks at the main types of pipes used for plumbing and an overview of the pros and cons of each.

Types of Pipes Used For Plumbing

Plumbing pipe is made from various materials: copper, galvanized steel and iron, polyvinylchloride (PVC), chlorinated chlorinated polyvinylchloride (CPVC), cross-linked high density polyethylene (PEX) and polybutylene. Plumbing fittings are made from brass, plastic, copper or malleable iron.


Widely used and able to withstand very high temperatures, copper is exclusively used for the final connections made to central heating boilers where temperatures may exceed 100 C. The disadvantage of copper “tube” as it is known in the plumbing industry is that it is rigid and often needs to be bent into shape using certain tools.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is even more rigid than copper, so even the slightest of adjustments by bending can become a bit of a chore. Stainless steel is supposed to be more corrosion resistant than copper and is sometimes used for aesthetic reasons where plumbing must be exposed.


Plastic piping has several advantages over copper. Firstly, it is ductile and can be easily bent. It can also be easily routed through floor and wall spaces. Plastic is a better insulator than metal, so heat loss is reduced. Typically plastic piping has much more “give” and will stretch more than copper when water freezes and expands inside the pipe, reducing the danger of bursting in sub-zero temperatures.

PVC or poly vinyl chloride is the most basic type of plastic pipe. Chlorinated PVC or CPVC has the same characteristics as standard PVC but has better corrosion resistance at higher water temperatures and is also far more ductile. PEX is a tough ductile material which can survive temperatures as low as -20 C without bursting. However it is susceptible to UV and needs to be shielded using insulation or otherwise to prevent degradation.

Plumbing Supplies and Fittings

Whether you’re looking to build a new bathroom from scratch, or you just need to stock up on some plumbing fittings in Dublin to fix a leak, look no further than Thermoparts for all things Heating and Plumbing Supplies in Dublin.

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