Your Guide to Different Drain Pipe Materials 

If you’re wondering what are drainage pipes made of? the truth is, there is no one single pipe material used in drainage systems. Over the years, various materials have been used to construct pipes for different purposes, and for different locations. In this article, we guide you through the key materials that drainage pipes are made from and why they’re used.  

  • Concrete – These pipes can be precast to be various different sizes and shapes to suit different applications and requirements. They are also high-strength, resistant to chemicals and have a long life. From a fitting point of view, they are easy to install.
  • Clay – A heavy, hard-to-cut option and also fairly old-fashioned. While clay pipes are resistant to chemical degradation, they are slightly more fragile than PVC or other plastic piping – this has resulted in many companies favouring PVC options over clay.

  • Cast Iron – Known for its strength, longevity, and resistance to abrasion, cast iron makes for a sturdy drain option. It is a material that was common in homes pre-1960s, and was most commonly used for vertical piping. Despite its hardy nature, it’s prone to rusting and corrosion which will need the attention of professionals for repair or replacement (usually with a modern plastic alternative). It is often a staple of older homes, though is expected to slowly phase out.

  • Galvanised Steel – Similar to its iron cousins, this material is strong and durable but still suffers at the hands of rust and corrosion. As a relic from 1950s homes, and despite a long lifespan, it will eventually require replacement with a modern alternative such as plastic.

  • ABS – Once the problems with metal piping were recognised, plastic alternatives became more popular. ABS is easy to replace, though its durability has been questioned in recent times, leading it to be less favoured – many professional plumbers will now no longer install it. ABS can be distinguished from PVC by its black colour.

  • PVC – This plastic has become the number one choice for wastewater drainage pipes, thanks to its lightweight durability and its resistance to rust and chemicals. PVC is also an affordable choice that can be fitted together and installed easily, and be linked up to existing metal pipes, too. Only certain grades, such as CPVC, can withstand heat so check with a specialist. It’s most common in newer homes and can be recognised by its white colour.

  • PEX – Like PVC, this option is resistant to rust and highly durable. It’s fairly new on the market, is easy to cut and has flexibility which means it can be used for creating bends. PEX is also  resistant to heat and so can be used for water lines, though it is one of the pricier options.

  • Copper – This material needs very precise, skilled cutting and so should only be installed by professionals. It is resistant to corrosion and so is used in water supply pipes. An alternative, flexible copper, is often used in appliances and can be soldered together. 

Express Drainage Solutions provided drainage solutions for 20,000+ residents & businesses of London and the surrounding areas in the past 12 months alone. Our wide range of services includes: drain unblockingrodent controldrain mapping/surveyingdrain installation & repairseptic tank/cesspit installation, repair & emptyingflood response & much more.

For same-day nationwide concrete removal, Express Drainage Solutions can help. As leaders in advanced hydro cutting technology, our experts provide fast, affordable concrete removal to premises anywhere in the UK. We act fast to get your drains cleared, and thanks to our precise technology, we leave drains intact and undamaged.

Our trained engineers can assist homes and businesses throughout London and beyond – get in touch to discover more. 

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