Plumbing Pipe Materials: Copper and Galvanized

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on the different kinds of pipes that might be present in your plumbing system. Not all plumbing pipes are created equal, and there are several material varieties that are commonly found today for differing purposes, and based on differing time periods when the system was installed.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re happy to offer expertise on pipes and other relevant areas during services like drain cleaning, sewer line repair and others that involve important plumbing piping. Part one mostly focused on plastic and composite materials for plumbing pipe; today will focus on certain metal options that are still found in many homes and may be useful for certain purposes.

plumbing pipe materials copper

Flexible Copper Pipe

One plumbing pipe area that some homeowners don’t consider as often, but one that’s very important, is the lines that connect to fixtures like fridges, water heaters and sinks. In these situations, flexible copper pipe will often be used.

This kind of pipe can only be used in short runs, but can fit into tight spaces or those that require unusual shapes. It can be cut easily and installed relatively simply, plus has a very high heat tolerance for hot water. At the same time, it’s both expensive and very thin, which makes breakage risks higher than other plumbing pipe types.

Rigid Copper Pipe

Rigid copper material, on the other hand, is often used for interior water supply lines. The name “rigid” is slightly misleading – this option is not as flexible as the one we went over above, but it still has a bit of flexibility and can be bent somewhat. It also does well with heat and pressure, plus is easy to recycle.

Like flexible carbon, this material is expensive. It’s also tougher to work with and will always require an expert plumber for installation, and could experience leaks down the line if it’s not properly cared for.

Galvanized Options

Finally, there are both steel and cast iron pipes available in the galvanized realm. Galvanizing, which refers to coating the pipe with a layer of zinc that will protect it from corrosion risks, can be done on either of these materials.

However, galvanized pipes are being phased out of many homes, and generally won’t be used in new home construction. This is because over a period of years or decades, rust and corrosion buildup will still take place despite the zinc coating, which can wear down. Fixes to this are both expensive and potentially risky to health, so many homeowners are retrofitting their pipes to move away from galvanized themes.

For more on the kinds of pipes found in your home’s plumbing system, or to learn about any of our plumber services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.