Behind the walls and under the floor of your home is an amazing infrastructure consisting of hundreds of feet of pipe, which allows your plumbing system to work properly. Pictured here is the plumbing infrastructure we installed for the laundry room addition we are doing on a historical home in Fort Worth. What a bunch of pipes! This situation is a bit dramatic as plumbing infrastructures go; we are combining a full bathroom with the laundry room in a small space, so there are five different locations for water to come to and drain from: washer, vanity, water heater, toilet and shower.
On top of that, this house is over 100 years old, and we are dealing with several generations of pipe evolution. In the water drain system, we saw clay, cast iron and various plastic pipes. In the water supply lines, we saw galvanized, copper and some PVC piping.
We are replacing all of the water supply lines in this house with the latest and greatest water supply lines—PEX piping—which is made from high density polyethylene. PEX is an acronym derived from the process of making the pipe that gives it its flexibility and strength. PEX is a relatively new product in home construction and remodeling that has replaced the use of copper for water supply lines. PEX has many advantages:
- PEX is adaptable to many types of existing water supply lines, like copper, galvanized and PVC.
- PEX is flexible so it can be bent around most corners, eliminating the need for a coupling or fitting.
- A PEX water supply system has fewer fittings, which means it is faster to install and has less chance to leak.
- PEX is more burst resistant than hard piping due to its flexibility. If the water freezes in PEX, the pipe expands rather than bursts like a copper pipe would.
- PEX is less expensive than copper.
- PEX won’t corrode.
- PEX couplings are simply installed with pressure rings that are crimped on.
The main disadvantage to PEX is that it cannot be used outside because the ultraviolet rays will deteriorate it. Other than that, it is the way to go when it comes to selecting water supply lines.
We are hoping to get the slab poured on this project this week, and start framing. Check back next week for an update.