Copper pipes vs Plastic

I have a friend that is purchasing a new home now under construction. The builder is installing plastic water supply lines rather than copper due to the price increase of copper. (its in the contract to change materials if needed)
Has anyone read any good articles relating to plastic water piping vs copper?
Thank you! :shock:
Kim S.

I have never seen a problem with PEX, except builders nails and staples through it.

But I have heard of homeowners doing the same thing, accidentally pounding a nail through it, not often.

Pex is not the only possible “plastic” water pipe material. CVPC is another option depending on local codes. I’ve had CPVC in my house for over 20 years.

Pex is relatively new isn’t it? Hasn’t really stood up to the test of time. I see it more than copper on new construction.

Pex has been around for a very long time in Europe and to date I can find no claims about it. It has also been used in the RV industry for years with no problems.

I’ve installed pex for the last ten years and Europe has used it for twenty years beyond that. I love it! I’d put it in my house.

I am not a fan of CPVC and it is not legal where I plumb. It tends to be brittle and when installed by a novice can lead to problems.

As far as nails, yes you can put a nail in it (pex) but you can also put a nail in copper. I had a call a couple years ago of water leaking through the basement ceiling and found a finish nail in a copper pipe. It took three years to rust and leak and I had to put a hole in the living room wall in a half million dollar home. If any water is installed properly with metal protection plates it should be fine.

It certainly is the material of choice now. I do about 180 draw inspections a month and I’d say it is being put into about 70% of the places I look at. I didn’t realize it had been around that long, thanks for the info.

What about Polybutelyne?

Bad piping material.

Does it look like Pex?

No, usually PB is gray. The newer pex I see being installed is blue (cold) and red (hot). But then again, I’m no expert in plumbing (or anything for that matter!)
Here’s a link for PB info

Ah yes of course. Had a brain fart.

I’m a big fan of PEX.

There’s a research consortium in London that has had PEX under constant pressure and temperature since sometime in the early 1970s with no problem. Although the article and link were destroyed in my hard drive crash of last August, I think it was 180 psi and 210°F. The article had °C, but I converted it to °F.

If pex freezes it will expand and not split. Try that with copper. If it kinks you can heat up the joint and remove the kink. Try that with copper. You can tighten up a male adaptor on it without removing it completely. I’ve used Wirsbo Aquapex almost exclusively and I always use the white/clear pex. You can by red or blue rings though.

Looked at this stuff at Home Depot today. Might use this stuff on my own basement finishing. But, the crimp tool I saw was $139! Is there a cheaper way?

Check to see if the Home Depot rents the crimp tool (both Lowes and HD rent them around here). I would assume the rent for one day is much less than buying it. Get all your pipe laid out, fittings in place, etc. so you can then just blow through all the crimps at one time.

I’ve heard from several sources that PEX fails due to thermal expansion deteriorating the pipes and loosening the crimps. However, I haven’t found any life expectancies for PEX. Anyone know this or at least have a ballpark projection?

I thought some said that mice like to chew on Pex. I don’t know ,but I just repaired a pin hole leak in a pex pipe and have no idea how it got there it really looked like some one stuck it with a pin. Whoever was in that ceiling with a needle really pissed me off.

Are you working on properties that you inspect? Or was that your house?

No it was a side job on a forty year old property. That would be unethical. I have no idea when and why they put in pex. Everything else was copper.