A: We provide all grades of pipe including A53—seamless and welded. A106 as well as all of your high-yield, higher tensile pipes— all of your X grade pipes. We also provide duplex and super-duplex— stainless steel and 304, 316, 317—seamless and welded pipe.
Pipe is a very broad term that encompasses many variations of tubular structures of different materials used to transport substances. When it comes to pipe variations there are literally hundreds of different categories. Pipe comes in everything from stainless steel and copper, to PVC and HDPE—each material serves a special purpose.
For us to cover all the different grades and materials pipe is made from in one blog, it would be more like a book. So, we’re going to focus on plumbing pipe as plumbing is one of the most common applications pipe is used for.
Types Of Pipe Used In Plumbing
Plumbing pipe comes in a wide variety of materials and each of them has their own pros and cons depending on the application. Some forms of pipe are what we call “uni-taskers.” They’re only used for one application— such as black iron for natural gas. Other types of pipe are “multi-taskers,” they can be used for a multitude of applications. Deciding what is best for your project comes down to physical factors, local codes, and preferences.
Look at some of the most common plumbing applications and see how many different types of pipe can be used. Knowing the overall end-use of your project as well as other factors will help you determine the best pipe for your usage.
Pipe For Water Service
A water service line is a pipe that connects the water main and your home or building. While copper and plastic are usually used, older structures may have cast iron or galvanized steel.
- When copper is the material of choice it is typically not a rigid pipe. Instead, a semi-flexible roll of copper tubing is run to the building or home. Since the only joints are at either end of the pipe run, the odds of a leak are mitigated. Although copper is sensitive to soil with a low pH, in the right soil it’s a superior choice, albeit a costly one.
- If you aren’t already aware, copper comes in different lettered types that indicate wall thickness. Most distribution systems in the house use type M—a fairly thin-walled pipe. Water service, however needs Type L or K which have much thicker walls. Some city codes only allow Type K for buried lines.
- High-Density polyethylene pipe often referred to as “HDPE” or “PE,” has quickly risen to the top choice for buried service lines. This is primarily due to its durability, corrosion-resistance and it’s low price. Depending on your location, some building codes require HDPE for buried plastic lines with a diameter of less than 2 in.
- PVC, short for polyvinyl chloride, is an economical plastic choice for service lines. It’s usually incorporated into a DWV or irrigation setup. PVC is approved in most locales for buried lines, but not indoor distribution. It’s a great alternative to copper or HDPE and is also the least expensive.
- When installing PVC—and some HDPE pipe— a bedding or backfill of gravel or sand is required. Local code often will define the specifics of what size and material to be used as backfill.
Indoor Water Distribution
Distribution pipe runs inside a home or building and delivers water to fixtures directly from the service line or the water heater.
Historically, galvanized steel, copper, and cast iron have been the primary pipe materials used in water distribution. However, now, plastics have become very popular while galvanized steel and cast iron are rarely used. Copper is still used but is quite costly.
- Galvanized distribution pipe is hardly used anywhere these days and if it is—it’s at least 40 years old. When galvanized pipe fails or has corroded it is usually replaced with plastics due to their corrosion-resistance.
- Choosing between plastic and copper normally comes down to a matter of cost. Plastics gained a lot of ground on copper as copper became increasingly more expensive over the years. Now, copper is primarily seen as a premium material, used as a first choice when cost is not an issue.
- If you recall, type L or type K copper is a common choice for residential service lines. However, it can also be used in residential distribution to reduce vibration, pipe noise, or address corrosion concerns.
- For many new builds, PEX (cross-linked Polyethylene) has become the plastic frontrunner in the last few years. This is mainly due to its low cost, easy installation, and its reliability. Initially, it had some obstacles and troubles. However, it has secured its place in the field of plumbing material preferences. Its temperature resistance and flexibility give it even more of an advantage.
Pipe For Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV) Systems
DWV is an acronym for Drain-Waste-Vent. A DWV system is made up of a home or buildings vent pipes and drainage pipes. This system takes wastewater from sinks and appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines to the sewage lines. There are two parts to this system: one part routes the waste from the building to the sewer. That would be the drainage line. The other allows noxious gasses to escape so that air gets into the drainage pipes to move the flow. Those are the vent pipes.
Why Should You Care About A DWV System?
Well the reason you should care, is that the DWC system is a critical part of your building or home. Without this system intact your home would be on the verge of blowing a pipe full of sewage and wastewater all over.
There’s a few other things you should know about DWV systems as well:
- DWV systems that are older, such as homes and buildings built in the 40s and 50s are typically cast iron. Some, however, did incorporate a bit of galvanized steel as well. The problem is that metals are vulnerable to corrosion and other issues. Copper is a better option but is very cost-prohibitive. In the 1970s, plastic began to get a foothold in the market and became a popular alternative. That popularity continues now more than ever and metal DWV systems are being phased out.
- Although cast iron demand has dropped drastically since the onset of affordable plastic alternatives, it has one advantage—it’s quiet. Since cast iron is so dense and its walls are so thick, the sound of wastewater flow is muted. Pipe vibration is also drastically reduced given the sheer weight of cast iron pipe. If you need a very quiet environment say, for a recording studio—cast iron would still be an ideal option.
- There’s many things to consider when putting in or repairing a DWV system. Pipe diameter, cleanouts, slope, joints, and more. Additionally, the pressure to get it right is higher when dealing with wastewater vs. clean. It’s no wonder that choosing the right pipe and configurations plays a pivotal role.
- Drainage pipes carry wastewater from the building out to the sewer and that’s it—vent pipes do two jobs. They give ventilation to gases from sewage via an exhaust pipe on the roof and provide air to drainage pipes to move flow.
What Kind Of Pipe Can TPC Help You With?
TPC Industrial has such a wide variety of pipe available, it would be impossible to go down the list. What we can tell you for sure is that if you need it we have it or will find it—STAT. Contact us today and let us earn the right to be your preferred PVF supplier.