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Old 08-12-2011, 08:31 AM   #1
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Pex or copper?

In the middle of a kitchen renovation. Two plumbers in to give estimates for extending copper plumbing stubs from existing system to new sink (with existing copper drain pipe), adding trap, installing dishwasher, adding icemaker line to refrigerator and completing baseboard hotwater loop, with the addition of an undercabinet toe kick heater. One guy said he would use pex, as it was cheaper and easier and more appropriate for this solution. The other guy said pex was too expensive and that copper is the better material for this job. All pipes/tubes are to be run inside or under the new cabinets which are in place (with gaps in the runs for refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher - so there is easy access and clear space to work in). The prices came in at $1800-$2400, which seemed quite high in my opinion, so I am considering a DIY plumbing adventure. I have never done plumbing. I believe I can sweat joints well enough. Pex is a mystery to me. My questions are: Which material is better, cheaper and easier to work with, and is this something I could do myself after a little research and practice? Thanks.


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Old 08-12-2011, 09:43 AM   #2
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I suggest you search this forum for "PEX" or "Copper". This is an age old, getting tired debate on this forum, with innumerable threads discussing the pros/cons of each. Certainly if you have plumbing skills, you can use either material effectively. Whether you can legally pull a permit to do plumbing work yourself is a different topic, search this forum for "Permit" and you will see innumerable threads on the topic of legally doing electrical and plumbing work.


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Old 08-13-2011, 08:09 AM   #3
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For a home owner trying his hand at plumbing for the first time, go with PEX. It's easier to work with, more forgiving if you make a mistake and cheaper. Stay away from sharkbite fittings if possible, buy or rent crimpers. There's lots of info to be had here and on other sites if you decide to go for it yourself. The pricing you've been quoted isn't that far out of line. Seems a bit steep, but plumbers don't work as cheaply as say, fruitpickers.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:55 PM   #4
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I went through that question while planning the 2-story addition to my house.

Because your house is already copper, I would stay copper. Especially if you want to do it yourself.

Sweating copper is not hard....but getting the prep work is the most important.

Make sure everything is clean...real clean. I use 200 grit sand paper to get the first layer of dirt off the copper pipe...then the wire brush.

Make sure you debur the inside of the pipe....this does wonders for reducing the noise of water flowing.

Use MAP gets hotter quicker....the blue cans take too long to get the joints hot enough.

Practice with some scrap pieces of will know you have a good sweated joint when you touch the solder to the joint and it sucks it up.

I would suggest looking at a couple of online videos as well just so you know what to expect.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:00 PM   #5
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pex /copper

I just used pex on a new cabin in northern Calif..It took me a little longer to lay out,but uas so forgiving when drilling thru existing studs.I used copper crimp.I can do copper very well,all copper have to be cleaned very well as ddag16 said.cost wise dont have any Idea.Most plumbing wearhouses will lay out all your joints for you,if you buy all from them.Really for 1st. time thats what I would do.The materials might cost a bit more,but the teacher is freeee.good luck.Every body above is correct in said do make to code.You will be ok. we all no alot but can only do a little.......
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