What are Drains Made of?


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There are different pipe materials in the market. You might wonder what your bathroom shower, house sewer or stormwater drains are made of, particularly if you are looking at renovations or repairs that involve your plumbing.

TPED_What are Drains Made of

At some stage in your life, you may have encountered issues with blocked drains within or your plumbing system. Your plumber or blocked drains specialist might have pointed out that the old pipes are damaged and need urgent replacement or that your pipes are made of good material and minimal intervention is required such as patching or relining will solve the issue.

The durability of your plumbing systems relies firstly on the quality and type of materials used in your drains, and secondly on the workmanship quality of the plumber or plumbing company you have hired. As any smart homeowner or property owner, it helps to have considerable knowledge on how the piping system in your home or property works as well as what materials and brands are used for the pipes and fixtures.

We have listed the common materials that you can find in most Australian homes, along with the features and benefits of each type. Generally, drainage materials can be classified into three types: metallic/galvanised metal, earthenware/clay or plastic/PVC.

Metallic pipes

  • Cast Iron pipes – Cast iron pipes are not very commonly used nowadays, but most apartment buildings utilise them because of its excellent acoustic properties.
  • Galvanised Iron pipes – The galvanised iron pipes rose in popularity in the early 1950s but are no longer recommended for use today. These pipes react with some minerals in the water, which results in corrosion and discolouration of the water.
  • Copper pipes – Can be used for drainage but due to the high cost of copper, it is no longer a preferred product when it comes to drainage. Copper pipes are usually used for domestic water supply within your house. Copper is generally more expensive than the plastic pipes. 

Plastic Tubings and Pipes

  • PVC  Pipes – PVC is the initials for polyvinyl chloride. PVC pipes are present in drainage and sewage pipes that hold wastewater to the sewer mains. PVC pipes are cheaper and durable which makes them ideal for modern-day piping and drainage applications.
  • PEX Pipes – PEX pipes or otherwise known as crosslinked polyethylene pipes are the pipes replacing copper pipes when it comes to long heat resistance and durability. This type of pipe could usually be seen in water supply systems.
  • Composite pipes – Like PEX pipes, these pipes are commonly used in water supplies but just have a major difference – it comes with an aluminium piping, making it compatible with more applications like in-floor heating and solar water heaters.

Earthenware

earthenware pipe

Clay pipe – In the past, many Australian homes use vitrified clay pipes and some old homes still have them. However, plumbers prefer to replace them with more durable plastic pipes, as clay pipes are very susceptible to tree roots growth. Clay pipes are also heavy and very fragile to transport.

What types of pipe should I choose?

Plumbing pipes come in different sizes, depending on its applications. You might think that a larger pipe diameter would be better at all times, but plumbers have to follow the correct flow rate prescribed by the Australian plumbing code.  Your plumber will have to look into the design flow and figure out the pipe grade and water pressure in your neighbourhood.  

If you are looking into fixing your broken pipes and replacing old drains, it is best to consult a local licensed plumber. They would know best about the soil properties, water quality and current statutory requirements in your area. They can also recommend more cost-effective solutions that would not burden your wallet.

Do you need a pipe replacement?

If you find out that parts of your old home are still using lead pipes, look for a replacement immediately as these types of pipes can be hazardous to your health and the environment. If there are galvanised iron pipes in your plumbing system, you can still make use of them but if there are blocked drains, have them replaced with safer and durable plastic pipes.

For blocked drains, drain cleaning, pipe relining, and drain replacement, book a local licensed plumber near you. Give us a call on our hotline TODAY at 131091. We service suburbs located in Canberra, Newcastle, Central Coast and Port Stephens.