Copper or Pex - Please advise!


Old 09-06-08, 05:04 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 9
Copper or Pex - Please advise!


We are building 2nd bathroom in our basement. Framing is mostly done, started thinking about plumbing.

All the plumbing in our house are copper. However, there are a couple of tight corners that I have to install cold/hot pipe thru in this new bathroom, started wondering if we should use Pex...

I went to a store today, and they carry Zurn bland. It sounded like there are 3 more companies in market who makes Pex, and their clamps are somewhat different. Is it true?

If so, within 10 or 20 years, if we will need to repair the bathroom plumbing for some reasons, we worries if we will be able to find the right parts for our pex (it's possible the company can go south in long run, right?).

Do you have any recommendation for which company's pex to use? Or is there any regulation for pex that most of them are compatible??

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 09-07-08, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 239
it is true that many of the manufacturers of pex tubing have proprietary fittings and rings. i use wirsbo/uponor. i like that there is no crimping to possibly damage the fitting or pipe. i have yet to see a properly made connection fail. in the future if a product is not available there will probably always be some sort of shark-bite type connector for repairs. all of the pex tubings do have the same outside diameter so connection to another brand will be possible.

Old 09-07-08, 08:01 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Manch-vegas, New Hampshire
Posts: 2,182
Hello, and welcome to DIY forums

I use Watts Pex, because it comes from one of my suppliers. It is basically the same as Zurn pex, just made by a different manufacturer. I also use Watts pex fittings, plastic and/or brass as needed. I have learned through these forums not to use Zurn brass fittings as there was a defect in them and a class action suit against them. I noticed HD carries Zurn pipe with fittings made by Quest.

I use the Cinch clamps from Watts as the tool is more universally sized and easier to operate. The tool from HD uses multiple tools for different sizes, with a crimp type ring.

I have had no leaks to date with the Watts Aqua Pex system and cinch rings.

I have also tried the Wirsbo/Uponor system and I personally think it is not all that people make it seem.
I have seen many leaks from it. You can ONLY by it from a supplier, whereas Zurn (same as Watts) can be purchased on the weekends and at night at HD, and I am sure the other stores carry something compatible.
With Uponor, the rings tend to slide when working with them. You need to wait for them to shrink before applying water pressure to them. and need to warm it up in winter conditions to work with it. And if you do not use the tool just right, you will get leaks. Their Expander tool is almost $300.00 vs $120.00 for a watts cinch tool for all sizes.
Old 09-07-08, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Even taking into consideration the high cost of copper I would have to think long and hard about spending $120 for that crimping tool if all I was doing is a single bathroom. Of course I already have the tubing cutters and a propane torch.

Remember that while PEX is flexible it can't be bent into a right angle without a fair amount of room. If you have close quarters you are going to need fittings no matter what piping material you are using.
Old 09-10-08, 11:45 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,091
Zurn is in the middle of a lawsuit - the fittings break.

Although I haven't run much PEX, I have heard Wirsbro & Rehau mentioned as the top manufacturers over & over again. You can buy the tool on ebay & sell it when you're done.
Old 12-12-08, 08:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1
HD rents the crimper

Though I purchase all my pex fittings and supplies from a local plumbing supply the local home depot that has a rental dept. rents the crimper for $8 a day.
Old 12-12-08, 08:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: KY/OH
Posts: 3,523
Originally Posted by steve_gro View Post
Zurn is in the middle of a lawsuit - the fittings break.

Zurn&reg Pex Class Action Informational Website

Although I haven't run much PEX, I have heard Wirsbro & Rehau mentioned as the top manufacturers over & over again. You can buy the tool on ebay & sell it when you're done.

Add Kitech Pex Piping failures to that, along with Rehau pulling all their production of piping out of the United States.

Whenever I see a mixing of water line materials inside a home, it spells trouble on all levels from the maintenance/repair point of view to the reliability/longevity of the product down the road.

You know you have copper that is working quite well in your home without error, are you that afraid to tackle the skills it takes to correctly install that piping like the rest of the house was designed with?

Mice chew holes through this piping, so does vibration against sharp edges or nails.

I would NOT have this product in my home knowing the number of failures and class action lawsuits following the numerous brands, the brands going out of business and the issue with crimpers being out of calibration when the happy face at the rental yard hands you the tool.

Those crimps if not correct, can cause failures hours/days/weeks/months after your walls are closed up.

A good solder joint is going to let you know immediately if it is going to last.
Old 01-04-09, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 22
I like pex, but not the plastic fittings

Did my kitchen couple years ago with PEX and plastic (zern?) compression/threaded fittings. Didn't like them, had to sweet talk them to get the right pressure to prevent leaks.
There is a fitting (metal) called SharkBite (brand name), sometimes HD carries them, not lowes, but the local plumbing store might too.
Know a guy building his house used them. Expensive, but VERY user friendly, the tool is only $5 and they just slip right on.
I'll be re-doing the pumbing in my house soon, and will use PEX with sharkbite. Don't like soldering, flames near studs, all that--especially if there is a viable alternative.

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