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Sweetwater Plumbing Blog

What Are Modern Plumbing Pipes Made From?

pcv-pipes-plumbingOver the history of indoor plumbing, the pipes carrying fresh water and waste water have been made from a variety of different materials. For many decades, clay, cast iron, and galvanized steel were the most common piping materials. But all of these have fallen out of use because of their tendency to break or corrode.

Today, when homes are looking to have full repiping done, it’s usually because the house was built in a time when steel pipes were still common—and those pipes are in danger of failure because of the effects of corrosion.

When you call on professional plumbers in Corona, CA for piping services, from small repairs to full whole-house repiping, what type of materials will they use? There are a number of different options available to the professional, and they’ll select the types that best fit the job. Here’s a look at the more common piping materials used for contemporary homes:


This is the most popular type of metal used in plumbing systems. Copper tubing is used for both hot and cold tap water. Copper is a lightweight material that’s easy to work with, and it costs less than other types of metals. Soft (ductile) copper is easy to bend to make it simpler to lay in new pipes, although most water-carrying pipes will use rigid copper lines. Copper is corrosion-resistant, which is one of the reasons it replaced steel and iron as the metal of choice. Corrosion-resistant isn’t the same thing as corrosion-proof, however; there are some types of corrosion that may still affect copper, such as the pitting corrosion caused by formaldehyde.

Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC)

The type of plastic tubing most people are familiar with in plumbing is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes. However, Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride is more popular with plumbing today. It is corrosion-resistant even at higher temperatures, making it ideal for hot water piping. It is also flexible and easy to shape to fit most spaces.

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX)

The newest type of plastic now in regular use for plumbing is PEX (sometimes initialed XLPE). PEX has numerous benefits that make it popular for a range of uses in home and commercial plumbing. It’s extremely flexible and doesn’t require elbow joints the way CPVC and copper pipes do. The material costs less than other types of plastic, usually a quarter less, and is not susceptible to corrosion. PEX is known to last for up to 50 years with warranties up to 25 years. It’s also suitable for both hot and cold water piping, and requires less labor because the pipes don’t need to be soldered together: installation is quick and relatively free from problems.

You can trust that our team of plumbers will only install the right type of pipes for your home when you call us for repairs or pipe replacements. Our plumbers will probably use a combination of copper, CPVC, and PEX pipes to handle a job, using the best new parts to ensure you have a plumbing system that always helps you rather than hurts you.

Sweetwater Plumbing serves all of Southern California—and we are always open for business!

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