Plumbing: Pipes and Pipe Fittings: Plastic


Plastic pipe is a dream material. It's inexpensive, won't rust or deteriorate, lasts almost indefinitely, and its smooth interior surface allows water and waste to flow unimpeded. It cuts easily and the fittings are precisely molded to reduce the risk of leakage.

Although cutting and joining plastic pipe is relatively easy, planning any plumbing project isn't . To plan a plumbing project, you have to figure out pipe sizes, slopes, vent locations and other important factors. Contact local building inspectors for guidance and be aware that local plumbing codes some times prohibit the use of plastic pipe in certain situations.

You'll find many types of plastic pipe used in homes: ABS, PVC, CPVC and others. The ABS (black) and PVC (white) pipes are larger, usually between 1-1/2 in. and 4 in. inside diameter, that plumbers use for drains and vents. CPVC, PB and PEX are used for water- supply lines that run to faucets and toilets. If you have trouble identifying any type of plastic pipe or fitting, look for a label printed or stamped somewhere on the plastic.

Use pipe with the pressure rating prescribed by local codes. Most plastic-pipe joints are chemically glued together -- a process called solvent welding. The sol vent melts the plastic, so when you push the pipe and fitting hub together, the two fuse as the solvent evaporates. Note that dry-fitting (Step 3) won't allow the pipe to go as far into the hub as when you have applied the solvent. Allow for this slight difference when planning.


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Plastic Pipe Types

The four types of plastic pipe shown below are commonly used inside homes. Another common type, polyethylene, is a flexible black pipe used for lawn and plant irrigation. Look for the pipe type stamped on the pipe or fittings.

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene). Flexible pipe, commonly used in 1/2- and 3/4-in, sizes, is joined with special compression or crimped fittings. Used for water-supply and in-floor heat lines. PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) (shown right). Flexible pipe, commonly used in 1/2- and 3/4-in, sizes, is joined with special compression or crimped fittings. Used for water-supply and in-floor heat lines.
CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride). Rigid, cream-colored pipe used for hot and cold water lines. Normally used in sizes 1 in. and smaller. Requires primer for solvent-welded joints.

CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride). Rigid, cream-colored pipe used for hot and cold water lines. Normally used in sizes 1 in. and smaller. Requires primer for solvent-welded joints. (more info on CPVC)

PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Rigid white pipe used for drains, vents and , in certain cases, cold-water lines. Available in 1/2 in. and larger sizes. Requires primer for solvent-welded joints.

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Rigid black pipe used for drains and vents. Available in 1-1/2 in. and larger sizes.
 

Transition Fittings for Plastic

Plastic pipe can be joined to virtually any other type of pipe as long as both types are code approved for the job. To transition from galvanized or copper pipe to plastic, use special plastic transition fittings that have one threaded side. For transitions to larger galvanized or cast-iron drains or vents, use rubber transition couplings with steel sleeves. Some codes allow rubber couplings without a steel sleeve to be used to join new plastic drain lines to existing plastic systems.

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Recommended Reading

2006 International Plumbing Code - Softcover Version: Softcover Version

2006 International Plumbing Code - Softcover Version: Softcover Version

The 2006 International Plumbing Code®addresses the design and installation of plumbing systems through requirements that emphasize performance. Provisions are provided for fixtures, piping, fittings, and devices, as well as design and installation methods for water supply, sanitary drainage, and storm drainage. The code provides comprehensive minimum regulations for plumbing facilities using prescriptive- and performance-related provisions. The objectives of the code provide for the acceptance of new and innovative products, materials, and systems.

The Jumbo Duct Tape Book

The Jumbo Duct Tape Book

Book Description

Did you know that duct tape can turn any item of clothing into rainwear? That duct tape over a computer screen will keep your kids from surfing naughty sites on the Web? That a perfect solution for those easy-to-lose TV remotes is to duct tape them to your arm? (Not only won't you lose it, you'll never have to relinquish control over it, either!) But can you also believe that Jim and Tim's creative ideas for duct tape spawned not just one bestselling book, but three, plus a calendar? And now the ultimate collection?

With two-thirds of the material drawn from their previous books and calendars and one-third all-new, The Jumbo Duct Tape Book is pure nuttiness to the nth degree. The premise is right there, on page one: "One rule can get you through life. It if ain't stuck and it's supposed to be, duct tape it." But of course it's the intrepretation that counts-like duct taping the gas pedal for cruise control, or duct taping marbles to your pressure points for instant reflexology. And then there's bending the rule-transforming sneakers into golf shoes by punching nails through duct tape and taping it to the soles, saving energy by taping all switches in the off position. Plus cosmetic dentistry (use white tape for the "The Mask" look, silver for the metal-mouth bad guy look), cell phone safety (tape phone to side of head while driving so hands stay on wheel), home decorating (use duct tape for easy drapery tie-backs). You can even convert the book to a "hard cover" by taping a piece of 1/4 inch sheet of plate steel to the front and back covers. It'll last for years!

Pocket Reference to Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Calculations

Pocket Reference to Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Calculations

Remodel Plumbing: toilet flange, main water line, cartridge housing, pipe dope, dishwasher drain, tub spout, cutter wheel, main shutoff valve, tubing cutter, filter head, male adapter, proper slope, individual vent, sewage pump, drain line, shower base, female threads, compression fittings, elbow fitting, galvanized pipe, finished wall, silicone caulk, shower faucet, stop valves, drain system

Remodel Plumbing

Remodel Plumbing focuses on the challenges of working in tight spaces like bathrooms and utility rooms, selecting the right fittings, fixtures, and materials and completing expert alterations to a home's existing water supply, drain, and vent systems. With a special section on emergency plumbing repairs, the book enables readers to stop leaks, shut down water lines, and avoid major damage associated with plumbing malfunctions. Remodel Plumbing also covers common plumbing upgrades and alterations in kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, basements, and additions.

Review:

We recently remodeled a bathroom, and this guide saved us time and frustration. When our first attempts at sweating copper pipes failed, we looked to this guide and found very thorough instructions on each step of the process. The information on different types of solder and flux with a wider working temperature range was especially valuable. As a result, our next attempt with the copper connections was successful. The section on installing a pedestal sink was very clear and helpful, as was the information on choosing a toilet. The book also helped us diagnose and solve a problem with water hammer. I am sure that we will use this guide as a resource for our next plumbing challenge.

Recommended Products



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Assembling a run. When assembling plastic pipes, you should cut, mark and dry-fit everything before cementing the components. Without this assembly, you can't properly orient the fittings so the pipes run in the right direction. With the cut, unglued and unprimed pipes assembled, number and make alignment marks on the pieces so you can join them exactly in their original positions. Once the puzzle is solved, glue the run together.

Handy Plastic Pipe Tips

Assembling a run. When assembling plastic pipes, you should cut, mark and dry-fit everything before cementing the components. Without this assembly, you can't properly orient the fittings so the pipes run in the right direction. With the cut, unglued and unprimed pipes assembled, number and make alignment marks on the pieces so you can join them exactly in their original positions. Once the puzzle is solved, glue the run together.

String saw. If you have to cut plastic pipe buried in a wall or some other tight spot, you can do it with a simple string. Mason's line works best.

String saw. If you have to cut plastic pipe buried in a wall or some other tight spot, you can do it with a simple string. Mason's line works best.

Last modified: Friday, 2007-11-02 22:11 PST