5 Main Types of Plumbing Pipes

Copper and cast-iron were the go-to’s of the plumbing world in the past. On the other hand, homeowner’s today face several different options when it comes to types of plumbing pipe. It can be daunting to decide which is the best pipe for your water supply line, drains, sewage, etc. Good news! We’re here to help explain the best main types of plumbing pipes.

Water Lines


Copper plumbing pipes are most commonly used for any type of water supply line. They can be used for plumbing drains for bigger homes, but copper is pretty pricey so it’s not ideal.


  • Lasts for a really long time
  • Strong and durable
  • Easy to replace sections of
  • Corrosion-resistant


  • Can’t freeze- will burst
  • Expensive


Compared to copper, PEX cost around 25 percent less and is a great alternative for more complicated plumbing. Cross-linked polyethylene flexible tubing, aka PEX, is great for tight, small spaces such as under sinks.


  • Very flexible and resilient
  • Easy to install, can be bent or curved which means fewer connections needed
  • Resistant to breakage caused by freezing
  • Less expensive


  • Must be kept away from heat or direct UV light which will weaken it over time
  • Was only invented around 40 years so hard to tell how long it actually lasts



CVPC, or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, is considered to be PVC pipe’s cousin. However, CVPC  holds up much better in a wide range of temperatures making it a suitable choice for plumbing water lines that carry both hot and cold water.


  • Can handle temperatures up to 200 degrees
  • More resistant than PVC
  • Installs quickly and easily
  • Contains extra chlorine increasing its safety for potable water


  • May split when temperatures get to freezing
  • Needs more fittings which may lead to more potential weak spots
  • Made of plastic

Drains & Sewage


PVC pipe is one of the most well-known type of pipe used for plumbing. It is only used for waste drains, sewage plumbing or venting due to its tendency to split when exposed to hot temperatures.


  • Resists corrosion
  • Cheap and easy to install


  • Tends to be more brittle than iron and can break or crack
  • Must be kept away from furnaces and ovens

Cast Iron

Cast iron plumbing pipes were the gold standard piping material used by plumbers for larger drain and vent lines for decades. Over the years, many different types of pipes have emerged, but cast iron still remains. The quality has vastly improved, and newer pipes now use rubber couplings and stainless-steel band clamps to make leak-proof connections.


  • Long term durability
  • Compatible with PVC for easy replacement
  • Reduces or eliminates typical sounds of sewage as it runs through pipes


  • Extremely heavy, may be hard to transport or work with
  • Difficult to cut
  • Chemical drain cleaners can deteriorate pipe
  • Easily clogs with age due to cast iron debris on inside of the line
  • Rusts and deteriorates overtime, causing clogs


For more information on replacing a water or drain line, please call 1-Tom-Plumber at 1-866-758-6237!

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