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Old 01-21-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


I am going to pour a new concrete slab, 1,000 sq ft in Dunlap, TN (near Chatt). Should I use Cu or PVC for my water intake. I would prefer PVC since I can do this myself. Any reason I have to use Cu ( Code not an issue)?

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Old 01-21-2012, 09:48 AM   #2
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


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I am going to pour a new concrete slab, 1,000 sq ft in Dunlap, TN (near Chatt). Should I use Cu or PVC for my water intake. I would prefer PVC since I can do this myself. Any reason I have to use Cu ( Code not an issue)?
You have two different questions here.
1) water pipes in slab (or not)? I say NOT.
2) Pipe material choice (copper, pex, cpvc, etc) I say COPPER.

If it was me...
Bring your COPPER water service*
up (through) the foundation and slab...
as close to the outside edge of the slab as your foundation and walls will allow...
then run the rest of your COPPER waterlines above grade.

*copper tube with Ford Couplings as needed:
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Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-21-2012 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:03 AM   #3
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


PVC or Pex and it should not come in contact with the concrete. It needs to be set well below the slab and back filled with gravel. Where it comes through the slab there needs to be a space left between the slab and the concrete. A piece of foam pipe insulation sliped over it or even a 1/2 piece of rope wrapped around it will work.
It needs room to flex or it could snap off at the slab.
Not copper because there's thousands of homes with copper pipes leaking below the slab, bare copper and concrete do not get along.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:12 AM   #4
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


Thanks Tarheel - do these Ford couplings mean I don't have to solder the joints - is this some type of compression fitting? By the way, is the term for copper fitting "sweating", "swelting" "soldering"
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


Thanks, I've heard that Cu and Concrete do not get along well. I am just very ignorant of Cu pipping. CPVC I can figure out. What advantage does Cu have at all. I assume I will have to attach to the city water with galvanized steel, then at some point convert to CPVC, Pex (?) or Cu. I plan to run (hopefully, unless ya'll persuade me otherwise) to run the CPVC from as near the city source as possible, bury it gravel - wraped in a safe material or soil as someone suggested, turn it up through the future slab where needed. I have been told to leave the upturned pipe 1/2'' below finished grade, inside a wooden box to protect it, cover with plastic and pour the concrete.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:30 AM   #6
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


I do not use boxing unless you plan on removing it after it's set up. Wood in any form at some point is going to rot and attact termites.
Not likly the town is going to be using any form of steel pipe any more.
PVC is fine to bring the water into the house. CPVC is mostly use for the supply lines inside the house.
Pex will expand when frozen, CPVC, PVC copper will burst.
A pex line could be run up to 100 ft with no joints.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:36 AM   #7
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


Thanks Joecaption - this PEX must be like Polybutylene- expands up to 3x it's size. I supppose the only rason for the box around the pipe is to prevent damage to it while pouring/finishing. Is it safe to pour directly around the upturned CPVC/PEX? If so, this is sounding more and more doable. I am convinced it can be DIY, just have to be instructed by the right folks. I am poor and ignorant - but time is on my side. Thanks for all your help!
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:45 AM   #8
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


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Thanks Tarheel - do these Ford couplings mean I don't have to solder the joints - is this some type of compression fitting? By the way, is the term for copper fitting "sweating", "swelting" "soldering"
I was a copper fiend even before I used Pex. Since then even moreso.
---

The water service line (in the trench from the city meter)
can be done with tubing (not pipe) that comes in coils.

Those coils costs less in 50' rolls...
thus the need for a coupling. Ford makes the best.
No sweating of anything until you get into the house manifold and fixture piping.

Btw: Remember having that LOCAL plumber to help you with the "engineering".

Water pipe in coil:
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:08 AM   #9
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


Thanks again, as long as I don't have to "sweat, I can handle it. If I run copper as the supply line from the city service, can I bury it directly in the ground? Wouldn't CPVC be cheaper? I thought ALL metal plumbing was a thing of the past.
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:17 AM   #10
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


Not a great idea to try and pore your own slab if that's what your thinking
a real concrete finisher will know what mix to order, how to prep the slab, how and where to dig down deeper to support walls, how to install chairs and rebar, ect. there also going to have the tools to do it.
There's a whole lot of things that can and does happen on DIY slabs.
It's a one shot deal, there is no going back and fixing it if it's not done perfect.
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:19 AM   #11
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


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Thanks, I've heard that Cu and Concrete do not get along well. I am just very ignorant of Cu pipping. CPVC I can figure out. What advantage does Cu have at all. I assume I will have to attach to the city water with galvanized steel, then at some point convert to CPVC, Pex (?) or Cu. I plan to run (hopefully, unless ya'll persuade me otherwise) to run the CPVC from as near the city source as possible, bury it gravel - wraped in a safe material or soil as someone suggested, turn it up through the future slab where needed. I have been told to leave the upturned pipe 1/2'' below finished grade, inside a wooden box to protect it, cover with plastic and pour the concrete.
copper tubing is a good choice, but its expensive.
Cpvc causes all the local plumbers to run for cover- we hate it My code doesn't allow PVC inside a building. Most services in my area are now run in 200psi poly pipe. We buy it in coils like copper and use pack(Ford or McDonald) fittings on joints and transitions. Check your local code
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:35 AM   #12
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


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I thought ALL metal plumbing was a thing of the past
Nope. It is STILL the BEST choice; especially with water lines.
It costs money... because it saves money.

Quote:
...as long as I don't have to "sweat, I can handle it.
1) Learn how to sweat... it ain't hard with the right tools.
2) The fitting is the hard part and that's the same PITA whatever material you're using
3) This copper pipe work is all for the ABOVE finished floor uses.


Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-21-2012 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:37 PM   #13
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


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Not a great idea to try and pore your own slab if that's what your thinking
a real concrete finisher will know what mix to order, how to prep the slab, how and where to dig down deeper to support walls, how to install chairs and rebar, ect. there also going to have the tools to do it.
There's a whole lot of things that can and does happen on DIY slabs.
It's a one shot deal, there is no going back and fixing it if it's not done perfect.
My mind agrees with you, yet my heart tells me I can figure this out myself. I know I will need someone to finish the slab - probably help form. Dunlap, TN, where this work will occur is a small town in rural east TN. I am counting on finding a local guy, or company to assist me. In no way would I attempt this on my own. I do believe I can do most of the work myself. In a previous post, my grandfather laid a cinder block foundation in the 1940's - 40' x 25'. It has never been used. I am hoping the block were fill with concrete. I can only see a row of block at ground level and they appear to be filled. I will investigate next time I am in TN. Granddad was a skilled construction man, so I suspect the foundation was done properly.

If I do the pour in seperate 12 x 40 sections, finishing wouldn't be so difficult. All the work could be done from outside the pour (can't it?). Again, I am quite ignorant, begging for as much advice as possible. Due to poor choices over the last few years, I have a very limited budget - in fact, none presently. I am confident my circumstances will improve in the near future and I would love to have this slab in place soon. What I can't figure out is how to pour the slab and tie it into the existing foundation. Should I have a row of blocks for the wall in place and pour the slab directly to it? Should I build forms just inside the blocks - this would leave a space when the forms are removed. I am just missing a simple concept and can't picture it. Can I pour the slab OVER the existing foundation, then lay the blocks for the wall on top of the slab where the foundation is underneath?
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:22 PM   #14
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


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My mind agrees with you, yet my heart tells me I can figure this out myself.
And if you were building a doll house for your grand daughter or even a shed in the back yard... sure learn as you go. It's no shame getting help with the things that few but the everyday pro's ever do.
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:35 PM   #15
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PVC or Copper in concrete slab


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Not a great idea to try and pore your own slab if that's what your thinking
a real concrete finisher will know what mix to order, how to prep the slab, how and where to dig down deeper to support walls, how to install chairs and rebar, ect. there also going to have the tools to do it.
There's a whole lot of things that can and does happen on DIY slabs.
It's a one shot deal, there is no going back and fixing it if it's not done perfect.


Even with a contractor, concrete does two things. It gets hard and it cracks!

Writer information is for discussion purpose only and should be confirmed by an independent source.

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