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Should You Choose PVC or PE Pipes?

Plastic is affordable, easy to shape and highly available. However, when you choose the type of pipe for your plumbing project, you may be torn between polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes and polyethylene (PE) pipes.
While both types of plastic have their advantages and disadvantages, the experts at Fast Flow Pipe & Supply, Inc. choose PE pipes. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of each option and why we made this choice.


PVC Pipes

You've probably heard of PVC pipes. Maybe you've used them in another project already, whether you made a marshmallow gun, a vertical garden or a hammock stand. These pipes are very common, and you can find countless uses for them on DIY websites that range way beyond plumbing projects.
The Advantages
PVC pipe is easy to find, easy to use and easy to pay for. No matter who you are or where you live, you can walk into a hardware store and find what you need, and you can easily learn how to install this type of pipe for your project.
If you're looking for quick and simple, it's hard to beat PVC piping.
The Disadvantages
Though PVC pipe may be strong enough for your DIY hammock, it's not ideal for your plumbing. Most PVC pipes are rated for about 20 years, meaning that if you plan on staying in your home, you may look forward to doing the same work all over again—and many PVC pipes don't even last that long.
If you live in an area with temperature extremes, PVC's lack of durability becomes even more of an issue. Comparatively, PVC piping freezes and bursts faster than other materials—don't choose these pipes if your climate is very cold.
Lastly, some people worry about the effect PVC pipes have on their water. Some pipes have been known to leach chemicals and even flavor into water. If your piping leads directly to your toilet, this may not be a huge problem. However, what if you're reworking the piping for your sink?
To be clear, PVC piping is generally considered safe. However, more research is needed to see just how much PVC pipes affect a home's water supply since this topic hasn't been studied very extensively. If you want to skip the issue entirely, you may need to choose another material.


PE Pipes

PE pipes is a broad category that contains many other types of pipes. However, you can count on the following benefits.
The Advantages
Many PE pipes are chemically inert. In other words, they do not leach chemicals into water, making them a safe choice for your plumbing project. Additionally, PE pipes don't require any glue, unlike PVC, so you don't have to worry about the glue getting into your water either.
PE pipes last longer than PVC—much longer. While PVC pipes are rated for 20 years, PE pipes are rated for 50 to 100 years. You can count on these pipes standing the test of time. And not only do they last, but they're durable for extreme climates: PE pipes do not burst when they freeze.
Lastly, while the PVC pipes you see are rigid, PE pipes are flexible. If you need to get a pipe around a corner for your project, PE pipes can do the job in one piece without a joint.
The Disadvantages
While PE pipes' flexibility is an advantage, it can also be a drawback. If you need a pipe that supports itself, PE is not for you. This material isn't rigid at all, so it needs support along its full length.
Additionally, PE pipes are more difficult to install. A plumber should have no trouble, but if you're hoping to do this project yourself, you may be in over your head unless you have some training. Be prepared to do your research thoroughly, and you may need specialized equipment.
If you want plumbing that will last for years, choose PE pipes from Fast Flow Pipe & Supply, Inc. Contact us today for more information about our inventory.