Profile picture for ru2good112

PEX vs COPPER Plumbing Rehad

I am having the plumbing rehabbed in the house I just bought, currently it is galvanized. My plumber quoted me copper but also highly recomeneds PEX, that is is quiter, more durable, less likely to leak, and more cost effective. Wondering what your thoughts would be on this?

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July 10 2008 - US
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Replies (13)

I think your plumber is correct.  I'm seeing alot of PEX in the new homes that I inspect.

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July 10 2008

I think your plumber is correct.  I'm seeing alot of PEX in the new homes that I inspect.

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for Captain Hightop

I've DIY'd PEX twice for two remodels and havent had a problem at all.  In fact its so easy to install that you could pretty easily do it yourself.  Unfortunately the tools aren't very cheap so its probably not economical for a small job to DIY unless you can borrow the tools.  Either way Copper or PEX the final product will be essentially the same if installed correctly.  Both can also have problems if not done correctly.  PEX is just more idiot proof to work with (which is why I use it when I'm doing my own plumbing).

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for Player01

I can't speak from personal experience, but I did a lot of research before I convinced the seller to completely replace the plumbing in the house I'm buying (they used CPVC of course, since it's pretty much the cheapest).

 

One of the reasons I *really* liked what I'd seen about PEX is their manifold systems and 'home run' water delivery.  Instead of the way traditional copper (or CPVC) piping is connected (with many branching joints) the PEX can be connected to a manifold in the basement and each fixture directly connected to that manifold with its own hose.  It uses incredibly more length of tubing than a traditional setup would require, but that's not such a bad thing with the very cheap PEX pipe. 

 

The advantages are:  1) no joints in the walls -- since the joints are most likely to leak and the joints will be exposed (either at the fixture or at the manifold) it makes problems easier to see and diagnose.  2) you can turn off the water to individual fixtures from the manifold -- replacing the bathroom sink? just turn it off and still be able to use the toilet 3) it delivers hot water to the shower *very* quickly - there's practically a direct line from the hot water heater to the shower, so there's no waiting around for the water to heat up.

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for Captain Hightop

Player01,

 

Thats a good point about the joints and leaks.  I used a manifold system as well, not by design (however, I will definately do so in the future), but just because it was easiest having a unfinished basement to access everything from below.  Another nice thing that worked out well in my case I was remodeling in phases and you can very easily cut/modify/add new lines to PEX.  Its a lot easier to modify in place then copper.

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for ru2good112

All I have heard are really good reviews about PEX. My plumber said he does not use the manifold when he does it, can it be configured with the standard branch/tree method?

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for Captain Hightop

The branch/tree method works fine with PEX.  The real advantage of the manifold from my understanding is that it just reduces the number of joints or locates them outside of the walls so it makes any future repairs/changes easier.

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for BtrL8ThnNvr

PEX all the way, you might be able to rent the tools from a local hardware store.  That is what we did.  It cost us $100 to rent it and when we returned the tool, we got our $100 back. :) 

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for Player01

I'm sure you *could* but if you're going to use the more standard method of setup, why not just use CPVC?

 

If you use flexible tubing in the standard branch/tree setup, you would lose most of your advantages to using the flexible tubing and create more possible points of failure.

 

I'm not an expert, though... it just seems counterintuitive to pay for the expensive tools needed to attach PEX and then not buy the extremely cheap materials to attach a really nifty manifold system and get the full benefit of the PEX.

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July 10 2008
Profile picture for ru2good112

I shouldn't have to many joints, currently the galvanized I have it completely ran in the wall. THe new configuration will be down in the basement with all the branches just shooting straight up into the location for sink, toliet, etc. I can probaly get my hands on the tools, but in this case I would pefer a professional handle it, he is also changing out some of the cast iron in the basement. Right now this is what was quoted:

 

$1100 to:

Replumb the kitchen and bath (shared wall) (Copper)

new valuves

new guts inside the toliet

 

$300

Remove cast iron Toliet Pipe replace with PVC

REmove cast iron drum trap from tub, and replace

add a trap to the washing machine drain

 

He is coming by tonight to quote it out for PEX

 

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July 10 2008

im not sure if the pex is the same thing that we refer to as wersbo, but i think it is. (clear and flexible)If so, it is good for all but one thing.....rats and mice chew on it. One hole, and lots of water damage. It happens more than you migh think. With copper, properly soldered joints will not leak. The only disadvantage with copper is less freezing tolerance. Also, after a while, if there is a ding in the copper, after about 20 years, the swirling caused in the pipe will erode and cause a hole. But normally is only a problem under a foundation where the copper gets unkowingly rolled over a rock causing the ding in the pipe. Should be no prob on repipe.

 

 

so whats more of a threat.... freeze or rats....

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July 14 2008
Profile picture for retrogameroom

Many new home builders are now using ManaBloc Pex systems in new homes.   People I know who have them in their homes think it is a great system!

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July 15 2008
Profile picture for ru2good112

I am in Michigan so I would have to say Freeze. Rats no worries, I don't have any and all the PEX plumbing would be elevated, the supply coming in would be copper.

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July 16 2008
 
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