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Old 08-16-2010, 06:17 PM   #1
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PEX vs copper pricing


I'm sure there have been plenty of discussion about PEX vs copper. PEX is thought to be the "top of the line", "latest and greatest" compared to copper. I've associated that to be that it would be a lot more expensive.

I visited the local big box store to check out the pricing, and found that PEX isn't expensive at all. $25 for 100ft (.25/ft) of PEX vs $15 for 10ft Type L copper (1.5/ft). So it seems using PEX is a no brainer. Am I missing something? I know PEX requires special tools & fittings, but copper also requires fittings and tools (torch, flux, solder).

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Old 08-16-2010, 06:28 PM   #2
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PEX vs copper pricing


You're not missing anything at all. PEX is; in my opinion, far superior to any other water piping material. Yes, less expensive, easy to work with, fast and easy to cut, more forgiving, withstands expansion and contraction in heat and cold, etc., etc.,... Nevertheless, most 'ol school plumbers don't like to see the "plumb" taken out of plumbing. Most of them would probably still prefer to pour lead and oakum joints and solder copper. Basically if it's easy enough for the average Joe, it's too easy.

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Old 08-16-2010, 07:56 PM   #3
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PEX vs copper pricing


The biggest problem about pex for you is your location. Although there have been some recalls on pex fittings/rings, from what I understand CA will hardly allow it to be used. I'm mostly familiar with LA area, and they required me to show part #'s for all fittings and pipe, and it was a much more stringent inspection than a copper system would get. If you're going to use PEX and are pulling a permit, call and talk to the AHJ first, ask them tons of questions, and don't give them your address yet
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:05 PM   #4
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PEX vs copper pricing


I can see using PEX for snaking through walls while doing pipe replacement, but if it will be in an open area where it can be seen at all times, I like neatness. PEX has taken the "Plumb" out of Plumbing.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by majakdragon View Post
I can see using PEX for snaking through walls while doing pipe replacement, but if it will be in an open area where it can be seen at all times, I like neatness. PEX has taken the "Plumb" out of Plumbing.
I'm not following. What neatness are you looking for that PEX won't give you?

Second, what neatness is there when the drywall goes up?

To me, this sounds like when an electrician wants to outfit an entire house in pipe instead of using Romex. Sure, it's neater and "cooler" to look at and requires mores skill to install, but in the long run what are the benefits, if any?
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:16 PM   #6
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PEX vs copper pricing


Many houses have exposed piping in the floor joists in a basement. PEX looks like loose wiring hanging there. If the pipes are in the walls, go for the PEX.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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Many houses have exposed piping in the floor joists in a basement. PEX looks like loose wiring hanging there. If the pipes are in the walls, go for the PEX.
If it's an unfinished basement, finish it. If it's hanging like loose wiring, it wasn't fastened properly. If there are loose wires hanging, they weren't installed properly either.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:42 PM   #8
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Many houses have exposed piping in the floor joists in a basement. PEX looks like loose wiring hanging there. If the pipes are in the walls, go for the PEX.
"PEX looks like loose wiring hanging there."

So would you use electrical metallic tubing in houses with unfinished basements to avoid wires?
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:45 PM   #9
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So would you use electrical metallic tubing in houses with unfinished basements to avoid wires?
Proby - I'd run it through PEX
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:55 PM   #10
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PEX vs copper pricing


I've seen some pretty lousy looking water systems and it didn't matter if it was PEX, copper, CPVC, grooved, or screwed galvanized. They key is to learn to put anything in straight, plumb, and level.
PEX has its definate advantages when it comes to material and labor costs. A company I used to work for bid a condo project that was speced for copper. All bids were over budget. We came back with value engineering and showed how we could save thousands $ using PEX for branch piping. We got the job and I got to work another 6 mths
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:15 PM   #11
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PEX has its definate advantages when it comes to material and labor costs.
So what real world benefit is there to using copper?
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #12
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PEX vs copper pricing


Size does matterHow many times have you seen 2" pex? IMO in commercial work pex is hard to work with due to the nature of the buildings such as fire rated assemblies. In housing its gaining popularity. But change comes slowly.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:35 PM   #13
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PEX vs copper pricing


I have used it recently in renovationtions but wonder if there are not flow restrictions since the PEX fittings have a smaller inner diameter that copper fittings. I know that is is not recommended for a tub spout due to water diverting up into the shower head. I am close to turning on the new plumbing where I have replaced copper with PEX so I guess I will have my answer soon.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:04 PM   #14
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The biggest problem about pex for you is your location. Although there have been some recalls on pex fittings/rings, from what I understand CA will hardly allow it to be used. I'm mostly familiar with LA area, and they required me to show part #'s for all fittings and pipe, and it was a much more stringent inspection than a copper system would get. If you're going to use PEX and are pulling a permit, call and talk to the AHJ first, ask them tons of questions, and don't give them your address yet
good point. I will have to talk to the building department.
But I wonder why they would sell them at the local stores if it is not allowed.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:14 PM   #15
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good point. I will have to talk to the building department.
But I wonder why they would sell them at the local stores if it is not allowed.
the building stores don't care about what is approved and what is not, that's up to you to find out. But as far as I know, PEX is approved in all of CA but old habits die hard. You don't want to have to rip it all out if you used the wrong fittings or brand of pipe, so have a chat w/ the inspector.

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