Indoor plumbing has been around for a long time, and the materials used for the pipes have gone through many changes. For decades, metal and ceramic were the most common pipe materials. Many homes today still have galvanized steel, clay, or even cast iron piping. Starting in the 1970s, copper replaced galvanized steel and is today the most common metal used in plumbing systems.
Plastic pipes, however, have an important part in plumbing. Plastic is easier to work with in general than copper. The first use of plastic pipes was in the 1930s, and with the 1960s they rose in popularity among plumbers thanks to advances in plastic manufacturing that made these pipes more useful in general.
There’s no single type of plastic used to manufacture pipes. For years, a gray plastic called polybutylene was common for plumbing systems, but it’s no longer used because it splits and creates leaks. If you have old polybutylene pipes in your house, we strongly recommend you arrange to have it replaced with a newer type of plastic. Here are the three types of plastic pipes that modern plumbers most commonly used today: