San Francisco Plumbing - Plumbing Pipe Descriptions

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Pipe Type Description Cutting Tool Joining Method Photo
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Water Supply
Rigid Copper Pipe The dominant water piping material today, copper pipe is usually joined with soldered (sweat) fittings. Wheel cutter, hacksaw Sweat or compression fittings
Soft Copper Pipe Used primarily for natural gas and propane but also for water, this pipe is allowed under concrete. Wheel cutter, hacksaw Compression, solder, or flare fittings
Chrome Copper Tubing This flexible piping is used as fixture water supply tubes between fixtures and permanent piping. Wheel cutter, hacksaw Compression fittings
Flexible Braided Steel Supply Line This flexible piping, often used as fixture supply tubing, is easier to use than chromed copper tubing. Fixed length Factory installed fittings
Chrome Ribbed Copper Pipe Available only as fixture supply tubing, the ribbed section of this pipe makes it easy to bend. Can't cut Compression fittings
CPVC Pipe Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride plastic water piping was created to replace rigid copper, Does not meet all local codes. Wheel cutter, hacksaw, or scissor cutter PVC cement or compression or crimp ring fittings
Pex Pipe Cross linked polyethylene plastic pipe is a flexible piping material gaining acceptance for in house water systems. It requires few fittings. Scissor tool, hacksaw Several brands of proprietary fittings
Galvanized Steel Pipe Once used for in house water systems, steel pipe is now used mostly in repair situations. Wheel cutter and threading dies Threaded fittings
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Drain, Water, Vent
PVC Pipe Polyvinyl chloride plastic pipe is the preferred drain and vent piping for houses. It can't corrode, and it's easy to assemble Wheel cutter, hacksaw, scissor cutter PVC solvent cement
ABS Pipe Acrylonitrile butacliene styrene is a black plastic used in the same applications as PVC. It is not as rigid as PVC. Wheel cutter, hacksaw ABS or PVC solvent cement
Cast Iron Pipe Once used in drain and vent systems, this durable but brittle metal pipe has been largely replaced by PVC and ABS plastic. Snap cutter, chisel Banded neoprene couplings or rubber gaskets
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Black Steel Pipe Steel pipe was once used for in house gas piping, though it's fast losing ground to soft copper and CSST Wheel cutter and threading dies Threaded fittings

Corrugated stainless steel tubing is a flexible, plastic coated pipe made of stainless steel for in house natural gas and propane.

Hacksaw or wheel cutter Proprietary compression fittings
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