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6 Different Types of Sewer Line Pipe Material

For the best quality sewer line pipe material, call Champion Plumbing today at 405-889-1318!

Replacing or repairing your sewer lines typically carries a hefty price tag. Additionally, most homeowners are unaware of the type of sewer lines they have. A pipe assessment can determine the sewer line pipe material you have. 

However, most homeowners don’t give a second thought to what material they’re using. Many property owners only pay for a pipe assessment when they deal with issues like overflowing toilets. Knowing the type of sewer line you have can help if you need repairs or replacements. 

This blog will explore six types of sewer line materials and when to call a plumber in Norman, OK

Sewer Pipes in Old Homes Versus New Homes

Many types of sewer lines and drain pipes exist, and you’ll need an assessment to determine what you have. However, you can narrow down the list by knowing your home’s age. 

Older Homes

Properties created before the 1950s will feature materials like cast-iron pipe, clay pipe, steel piping, or Orangeburg, a type of fiber conduit pipe. Occasionally, these older homes can even feature PVC and ABS sewage pipes. 

Your sewer pipes will deteriorate naturally over time, with lifespans ranging from 50 to 100 years or more. Therefore, plumbing companies typically replace old clay and cast-iron sewage lines with ABS or PVC pipes. 

Newer Homes

It’s extremely rare to find a home built after 1970 with clay or cast iron. Instead, most new homes have PVC and ABS plastic pipes. These materials feature easier installation and better prices, and most experts consider them safer. 

However, materials like clay and cast iron have better durability and longer lifespans. Therefore, when replacing your sewage pipes, it’s wise to consider all factors. 

6 Specific Sewage Lines in More Depth

Let’s take a look at six sewer line pipe materials in more depth: 

1. Plastic Sewage Pipes

Plastic pipes come in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and ABS and feature smooth interiors. These smooth interiors make carrying waste matter a breeze. Additionally, their interiors add resistance against root anchorage (when a tree’s roots have made their way into your sewage lines.)

However, plastic sewage pipes can completely guard against root anchorage. For overall strength, ABS is more robust, while PVC features better flexibility. They also use different adhesives; ABS is black, while PVC is white. 

Another factor they share in common is their price-point—both are inexpensive. Generally speaking, though, ABS pipes are more expensive than PVC. 

2. Clay Sewer Pipes

You can still install clay sewer pipe today even though it has largely fallen out of favor. However, clay pipes aren’t for a DIY project as the material is hefty and generally difficult to cut. Additionally, major retail home improvement stores don’t carry clay pipes. 

While clay pipes can appear ancient by today’s standards, they still feature some benefits over plastic. Clay is highly inert, resulting in excellent chemical degradation resistance. 

However, an immediate drawback of clay piping is its porous surface. This porous surface isn’t resistant to tree roots and often attracts them. As tree roots impact your clay piping, they can start to make cracks. 

Following this crack, roots begin advancing into your clay piping. This process can result in massive repairs from burst pipes, and you may even need a replacement. 

3. Cast-Iron Piping

Like clay piping, many plumbing companies consider cast iron ancient. However, while mostly linked with older homes, homeowners still install it today. 

The main advantage of cast-iron piping is it features robust internal strength. This internal strength can withstand high pressures. For example, a four-inch sewer pipe can go against 350 psi. By comparison, PVC, ABS, and clay are much weaker. 

Cast iron pipe is also non-flammable, excellent for homeowners wanting to continue piping into their homes. However, like with clay, cast iron is a challenging DIY project, and you’ll need a special soil pipe cutter. 

4. Galvanized Steel Piping

Steel sewage pipes are most commonly associated with older homes. While steel piping features great flexibility, they’re also prone to rust and corrosion. While these pipes have a metal layer for protection, your pipes will start rusting once they erode. 

These pipes aren’t commonly installed today because of their low popularity and difficulty. For these reasons, a plumber typically charges more to install steep pipes. 

5. Copper Pipes

Copper pipes first appeared in the 1930s but became popular during the 1960s. Copper is much lighter and thinner than steel, making it easier to install. They’re also very durable, just like their steel counterparts, but often require more expensive repairs.  

However, copper is prone to corrosion, particularly around its joints. Copper can also trigger lead contamination, although contamination in drinking water versus sewage pipes is a much bigger concern. 

6. Orangeburg Sewage Pipes

Orangeburg sewage pipes aren’t common today but were quite popular between 1946 and 1972. Orangeburg is a type of fiber conduit pipe manufactured using wood fibers. 

Manufacturers bind these fibers with water-resistant adhesive. Finally, they add liquefied coal tar pitches. During their popularity, plumbers preferred Orangeburg due to its light material. Additionally, they could easily cut the material like wood. 

Another reason why homeowners and builders alike enjoyed Orangeburg was due to its price point. Overall, Orangeburg is around two-thirds of the cost of cast-iron pipes. 

Today, Orangeburg has largely fallen out of popularity, but homes occasionally use this material. Orangeburg has a lifespan of around 50 years but will last longer when bedded in pea gravel and sand. 

Not Sure What Material to Install? Call Champion Plumbing Today

Today, most homes use plastic pipes like ABS or PVC. However, other options do exist, and it’s essential for homeowners to carefully factor in all considerations. Unfortunately, deciding what material to use presents a challenge for many homeowners. 

To eliminate this stress, our Champion Plumbing team can help. We can help you decide what sewer line pipe material you have or what material you should use. 

Norman, OK, residents should spot these signs of bad plumbing and call Champion Plumbing at 405-889-1318!

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