by AD3 Design Limited

A quick guide to choosing water pipes for your home

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Your country house is probably like your getaway from the din and bustle of city life. There you can laze around quietly, soak in the beauty of nature, listen to some music while reading a novel, and relish the little joys of stress-free living. But if something as basic as the water supply goes wrong, your state of bliss can be shattered! And choosing the right pipes goes a long way in ensuring that you continue to receive adequate and hassle-free supply of water for years to come.

So whether your country home is in the process of being constructed, or you are planning to replace those cumbersome old pipes for your next vacation, you should ideally know how to pick the perfect pipes for convenient plumbing systems in the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry areas.

Today, a vast array of pipes are available in the market, in terms of materials, sizes, types and prices. The durability, reliability, longevity, ease of installation, ease of maintenance and cost-effectiveness of such pipes may vary. And for those who are not particularly familiar with the nuances of pipes, it may be quite confusing to decide which material to choose. So here, we will let you take a sneak peek into the world of pipes commonly used for country houses and what factors you should keep in mind while selecting them.

Selection criteria for pipes

Since there are a number of aspects to consider while picking pipes, you may want to consult a professional plumber or pipe manufacturer to assist you with it. For instance, the pipe’s material will determine whether it can keep the quality of water clean and safe or not. The pipes have to efficiently maintain the required water temperature and pressure too.

Also note that the complexity of working with different materials may not be same. And each of them may come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The length, thickness and diameter of pipes are again factors which need careful consideration and calculation. Finally, you should never lose sight of your budget. So request the plumber or pipe manufacturer to suggest a material which serves your purpose well but doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Are steel pipes relevant anymore?

Actually, they are. If you go for specific grades of stainless steel containing molybdenum, instead of carbon steel or cast iron. Such stainless steel pipes are famed for properties like corrosion resistance, hygiene and suitability for transporting drinking water, less prone to deposit formation or bacteria colonization, strength and ductility. They can also fight erosion more than carbon steel, are easy to fabricate and install, require low maintenance, are easy to clean, can resist fire, are recyclable, and hence value for money.

Though other materials like copper and heavy plastic are gaining prominence nowadays, builders and architects continue to hold stainless steel in high regard for its unique blend of functionality and aesthetic appeal.

What about copper pipes?

 Bathroom by Hurlingham Baths
Hurlingham Baths

The Sloop Copper bath clad in Oak

Hurlingham Baths

A look at the above image can help you understand why copper pipes look classy and luxurious. This oak clad copper bath has been designed by Hurlingham Baths from the United Kingdom, for a country style bathroom. And it is not just looks that make copper a popular choice for plumbing. This metal has many other advantages.

Copper is lightweight, long lasting and can be used with both hot and cold water. And these pipes easily fit in tight places too. Copper is non-permeable and resists contamination, is easy to work with, and are convenient to install. Such pipes resist corrosion and water pressure, are recyclable and enhance the value of a home. High grade copper ideal for indoor water distribution maybe expensive though. And pipes will need grounding since copper is an excellent conductor of electricity.

In case the water supplied to your country house has pH below 6.5, then copper pipes may start corroding. This may lead to introduction of copper in your tap water, and also cause leaks which allow contaminants to enter the pipe. Over a long period of time, copper in drinking water may cause health issues. So it’s best to discuss all relevant pros and cons in detail with your plumber or pipe manufacturer.

What are the problems with metal pipes?

 Kitchen by AD3 Design Limited
AD3 Design Limited

Sink with drain grooves on the worktop

AD3 Design Limited

Metal pipes are currently found in old houses, and these are coated with zinc to prevent corrosion. But these galvanized pipes are increasingly losing out to plastic, steel and copper pipes due to several reasons. Firstly, the zinc coating starts to wear out after some time, causing the pipes to corrode. This may lead to leaks or broken pipes. Also, the threaded joints connecting such pipes are unstable at times and prone to rusting.

Corrosion of galvanized pipes can let metal get mixed with your water supply, and contaminate it. Often, the zinc coating may also react with the minerals in the water and form a plaque which coats the pipe’s insides. And gradually, this formation will begin affecting the flow of water in your pipes.

Why are plastic water pipes so popular?

You may have noticed how plastic pipes are being widely used in plumbing today. Superior quality PVC, CPVC or PEX pipes are preferred due to multiple reasons. They are robust, light, and can resist chemicals and rust. The cost of handling, transporting and installing these pipes is also very low. Plastic pipes come with minimal joints which diminishes the scope of leakage. They can adapt easily to earth movements, have smooth internal surfaces, and thus saves energy while conveying water.  

Plastic pipes can provide effective insulation in cold climates because they don’t freeze. The only disadvantage of this material is that it cannot be decomposed. So plastic pipes are not suitable for use in high temperatures, where they may lose strength or crack.

So which type of pipe should you choose and why?

Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of different pipe materials, you have a fair idea of what to expect with each type. If you want your country house plumbing to stay away from hitches in the future, then try not to use galvanized metal pipes. Premium quality stainless steel, copper and plastic are more sustainable options. For drinking water supply, stainless steel and plastic might be more suitable than copper, owing to the latter’s tendency to react with water having pH less than 6.5. Plastic pipes may not be eco-friendly, but they are extremely versatile and safe.

How to choose the right manufacturer of water pipes?

Getting in touch with a reputed pipe manufacturer is essential, before you finally decide which pipes to pick for your country house. So check if the manufacturer has proper credentials or qualifications, and is able to offer you a competent consulting for the project you have in mind. Find out if he offers a wide range of pipes in different materials, sizes, and thicknesses, and is able to clearly point out the advantages and disadvantages of each type. A reliable manufacturer might also survey your property and then offer his suggestions. Don’t forget to consult 2 or 3 manufacturers and compare prices before you go ahead with one of them.

Water is synonymous with life. So avoid taking chances with your plumbing. Please bear in mind that frequent repairs or replacements of pipes can be quite costly. So try to go for materials which are safe for your family, convenient to maintain, can endure the ravages of time and function smoothly. For more inspiring ideas check out this ideabook – 6 Tips for creating a country style bathroom.

Which idea from here inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments!
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