Common Types of Pipes For Plumbing

When hiring a plumber or choosing a home improvement plumbing project, the experience could be confusing due to the option of several kinds of pipes available. Finally, the uses of these pipes is signified by a tendency to blend together. Which kind of pipe ought to be used for water distribution, drainage, sewer, as well as for the outside? The solution isn’t quite as clear as it might have been previously once the key pipes of selection have been galvanized steel or cast-iron.

Knowing what type of plumbing materials are in your home may make that pipe repair or relining project easier to determine, and it can allow plumbers to give you a more accurate estimate before they arrive at your home for a service call. It can, however, be confusing as any plumbing system that you see is almost always a mix of different pipes that works together but each have different purposes.

Some are even used for much bigger projects such as a city’s infrastructure construction. Do not be surprised, however, when you find some of the pipes mentioned here in your own homes because these materials are widely used. Without further ado, here are the most common types of plumbing materials you can find on properties:

PEX Pipe

PEX, or cross-linked pipes, pipes is just one of the most recent and most well-known pipes to reach the pipes industry.

PEX pipe has become the material of choice for home plumbings since the 90s. It comes in many colours, but the standard on homes is using red to indicate hot water lines and blue for cold water lines. Just like PVC, PEX pipes have markings on the surface and also rust and corrosion resistant. Unlike PVC, however, PEX is not usually used for drainage lines.

PEX can be used only for water. PEX is a pipe that’s stiff enough to resist the pressures of water source but adaptable enough to weave through ceilings, walls, basements, and crawlspaces. PEX has delivered water-supply pipes to the palms of do-it-yourselfers and specialist plumbers.


  • Color-coded red for warm water and blue for cold water
  • highly elastic, with 90-degree curves potential
  • Attaches with push-fit pipes fittings
  • Cuts readily
  • Willing to combine with aluminum pipe
  • Cheap


  • Long-term capabilities untested
  • May flow with push-fit pipes fittings
  • Cannot be recycled

PVC Pipe

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, a pipe is a port or drain line kind of pipes pipe. PVC originally gained fame as it was lighter and easier to use than conventional galvanized steel pipe. PVC pipe is reasonably easy to install and requires little over a hacksaw and a miter box to cut. PVC glues together with solvents. 

PVC usually have the appearance of a white, and sturdy plastic with markings along its surface. The markings differs by the type of PVC used, as well as its ratings for temperature resistance and size.

The most significant advantage of using PVC for plumbing is its inability to corrode, become rusty or disintegrate as time passes. If you hire a plumber to clear your blocked kitchen sink, you will find that your kitchen sink pipes (most probably made out of PVC) will be in a fairly good condition even after years of use.


  • Diameters clearly indicated on the snowy surface of the pipe
  • Affordable and May Be Used for long runs like for irrigation
  • Adaptive


  • The pipe can’t be unjoined and must be trimmed
  • Glued pipes could be more prone to leaking
  • Fragile and will shatter

Copper Pipe

Durable copper is commonly used for water distribution lines inside the house. Durable copper is easily cut with a hacksaw or using a distinctive aluminum tubing cutter. The link is not the same thing, as it needs a hand to solder copper pipe together. 

Being known for durability, resistance to heat as well as a long life span, copper is one of the more popular materials for plumbing. One concern with copper, especially in older homes, is that the joints — where the pipes connect to various fittings — may contain lead-based solder. In the bigger picture, however, ’Bend-able ‘ copper pipe is very good for transferring water since it does not include any health dangers. This is why you can see quite a number of water tanks around Sydney connected to copper pipes.


  • Though It’s known for being stiff, this tube can be bent
  • Handles heat nicely
  • Stands up against extreme pressures
  • Simple to recycle and waste aluminum pipe has financial value


  • Problematic for do-it-yourselfers to utilize because of soldered connections
  • Expensive
  • Develops pinhole leaks
  • interior of pipe can eventually corrode and slow water flow

ABS Pipe

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) pipe is largely used as a port and drain line. ABS pipe appears very similar to PVC pipe, but it is black and slightly milder. ABS pipes are suitable for outdoor use, which makes it popular for an underground rainwater tank.


  • Stronger than PVC pipes
  • Great for underground outdoor use
  • Works well in cold temperatures


  • Frequently not allowed by construction code
  • Warps and deforms at particular temperatures

Flexible Copper Pipe

Flexible aluminum tube or pipe is used for closing runs to water heaters, refrigerators, and a few sinks. Flexible aluminum is used just for quick runs and may be trimmed with ease with a hacksaw. It may be bent to fit around corners.


  • Fits in tight, unusually shaped regions
  • High heat tolerance


  • Expensive
  • Thin and likely to breaking

Galvanized Steel Pipe and Cast Iron

Two additional kinds of pipe are occasionally found in older houses and are rarely set up, particularly with do-it-yourselfers: steel and cast iron pipe.

Galvanized steel pipe, or steel pipes that has been coated with zinc has been used for decades in civil engineering for irrigation, water supply, gas distribution, and any variety of different functions. While galvanized steel pipe remains around (especially for gasoline supplies) it’s much less used and is used for water distribution within new construction or remodel jobs. Each end of this pipe is threaded, and respective pipes are screwed into each other with linking joints. Galvanized steel pipe has the benefit of being exceptionally powerful. On the downside, galvanized steel pipe finally corrodes and blocks water stream. Additionally, some galvanized steel pipe can pass lead in the water source.

Cast iron pipe has been frequently employed for sewage and other drainage functions. Wrought iron pipe remains found in many houses. Wrought iron pipe is achievable before the stage it rusts entirely through. Cast iron is quite heavy and hard to cut. Retrofits have a tendency to substitute cast iron pipe using stiff plastic pipes like ABS. 

As steel pipes are heavy, it is harder to work with as compared to other materials. Zinc coating in these pipes will also disintegrate as time passes which results in the pipes to have rusty interiors. If this continues, this may lead to blocked water lines.