Real Estate

Home Water Pipe Restoration Options

Many customers ask what the difference is between copper, PEX, and epoxy cladding when considering new home plumbing. How do you know which one is better? After more than 40 years in the construction and remodeling business, this is what I have learned:

Copper, PEX and Epoxy Coating:

All pipeline restoration projects, regardless of type, require the Customer to perform the following before work can begin:

  1. Buy boxes, tape, wrapping paper, and permanent marker.

  2. Pack all items under all sinks and stay out of the work area.

  3. Move and relocate all refrigerators that have water service out of the work area. Replace when finished.

  4. Move washer and dryer away from work area. Replace when finished.

  5. Clean the area around the water heater.

  6. Trim or remove all plants around the water utility and hose bibs.

  7. Remove all items within 2 feet of all access panels.

  8. A minimum of half of the garage floor space is required for storage and safety of tools, equipment and materials.

  9. Clear, unobstructed 3 ‘wide path to all locations and a 5’Lx5’D workspace in front of all accessories.

These are the most significant differences between copper, PEX and epoxy coating:

Days to complete (typical)

Copper: 2-3

PEX: 2-3

Epoxy: 2-3

Note: Pipe restoration only; wall repairs increase time

Warranty (materials / workmanship)

Copper: 50/50

PEX: 25/25

Epoxy: 10/10

Note: Materials are a direct manufacturing guarantee.

Can I live in the house?1

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy 😕

Warranty (materials / workmanship)

Copper: 50/50

PEX: 25/25

Epoxy: 10/10

Note: Materials are a direct manufacturing guarantee.

Are permits required?

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Fire Code Passed?

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Will the house be without water? two

Copper: No

PEX: No

Epoxy: yes

Note: epoxy: no water for 2-3 days

Will the house have water at night?

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: Epoxy: buckets fill with water to flush toilets.

Damage to the purification of the water company

Copper 😕

PEX 😕

Epoxy 😕

Note: Possible with all; voids all warranties

Open drywall in the washing machine box

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Open drywall in refrigerator water box

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Open Gypsum Board for Bathtub Valves

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Note: Epoxy: if the suitable adapter is not available, yes

Open drywall for shower valves

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Note: Epoxy: if the suitable adapter is not available, yes

Remove tile to replace valve

Copper 😕

PEX 😕

Epoxy 😕

Note: possible, depends on location

Replace all hose bibs

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Replace the cooler box and valve

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: Epoxy – Replaces valve with angle stop only

Replace washer hoses

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: Replace with steel braided hoses.

Replace the dryer vent duct

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: Replace with 1 piece aluminum flexible conduit.

Replace the dryer gas valve

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Replace the dryer vent duct

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: Replace with 1 piece aluminum flexible conduit.

Replace Dryer Flexible Gas Line

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Replace / treat all water lines3

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Replace all angle stops

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: Replace with chrome 1/4-turn ball valves.

Replace all angle stop shields

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Replace accessory water supply hoses

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Note: Replace with steel braided hoses.

Replace shower valves

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy 😕

Note: Epoxy: if the suitable adapter is not available, yes

Replace the tub (tub / shower) valves

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy 😕

Note: Epoxy: if the suitable adapter is not available, yes

Replace flexible water heater connections

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Replace the water heater ball valve

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Replace pressure regulator

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Replace the water supply ball valve

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Hot water limitations

Copper: No

PEX: No

Epoxy: yes

Note: epoxy: water temperature. cannot exceed 145 ° F

Contractor Schedule Inspection

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: epoxy – customer responsible for programming

Contractor present for inspection4

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: no

Note: epoxy – customer must be present

Wall patching required after work *

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Note: more with copper and PEX

Painting required after work *

Copper: yes

PEX: yes

Epoxy: yes

Note: more with copper and PEX

* Typically takes 2-4 more days to complete.

1Epoxy: Considering the multitude of hoses that run throughout the house and garage, the equipment and the protective mats on the floor, living in the house during the epoxy restoration process would be very challenging at best. This is especially true for people with disabilities, movement or vision problems, young children, and four-legged pets.

2With Cooper and PEX re-pipe, typically only on the day of transition from the old system to the new system is the water turned off for the workday.

3 Epoxy: not all water pipes are treated. Pipes supplying water to body sprays from diverter valves in showers; Bathtub cover hand showers and the like are not epoxy coated. Therefore, they can develop leaks.

4 Epoxy: The customer is responsible for scheduling the required Construction Department inspection and must be present for the inspection. This requires the client to remain physically at home until the inspector completes his work (generally 8:00 am to 4:00 pm). The customer is also responsible for answering all questions from the inspector regarding epoxy work.

(For a side-by-side comparison table of the information above, see our website at https://www.dadsconstruction.com/articles/repipe-vs-epoxy.html )

Resume

At the end of the day, for the average home, new PEX tubing is best. Why? Mainly because it is a new, almost continuous piping system with fewer connections vs. tampering with an older existing system that typically contains weakened and damaged materials. When a new PEX tubing replaces all valves and fittings, the entire water system is fresh and clean, lead-free, and free of mineral contamination and corrosion. PEX also appears to hold up better against water company chemicals and gases used during the water purification process.

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