Steel vs Plastic Plumbing Pipe

When it comes time to upgrade the plumbing in your home, you may wonder whether to use plastic plumbing pipe or steel plumbing pipe. The following information will help you with your decision by providing some basic information about each.

Steel Plumbing Pipe

Steel plumbing pipe is rust resistant, but not rust proof. When working with older steel pipe, you may need to loosen rust from the threads in order to remove pieces and prevent contamination of drinking water. Threads on this type of pipe tend to be tapered which makes the seal between pipes tighter over time. Steel plumbing pipe can be more expensive since it's not used as often as it once was so availability is limited. It also must be welded together. One benefit of steel plumbing pipe is that it usually doesn't require as careful selection of back fill when the pipes are buried.

Plastic Plumbing Pipe

Plastic plumbing pipe is ideal for the do-it-yourselfer to use since it's light to move and easy to cut. It's available in rigid or flexible form to make the pipe easier to place in different locations. Plastic plumbing pipe is heat resistant, although it can't withstand as high temperatures as steel pipes. Unlike steel, there are more options to join plastic pipes and these options include clamped couplings, mechanical couplings, or slip-jam-nut couplings, as well as solvent welding. Plastic plumbing pipe is available in a variety of colors. Like steel plumbing pipe, plastic pipes can be buried but more careful selection of back fill is required to protect them against damage.