Plumbing Materials and their Uses

Plumbing is a versatile area in home construction and management that involves a wide range of applications geared towards ensuring efficient water and liquid supply. This means that materials used in plumbing are also diverse with each specific type of material serving its own separate function. Understanding different types of plumbing materials that plumbing professionals use is a great step towards ensuring adequate preparation as you hope to install or repair your home water supply system. Below is a brief discussion of basic plumbing materials and their uses for common plumbing functions.

Pipe

Pipes refer to different tubular materials with varying size, material and other features used for different specific applications in plumbing. The most commonly used pipes in plumbing include cast iron, galvanized steel and galvanized iron. These three types of pipes are used for drainage, vent systems and water. Cast iron for instance, is used in water pipes, vent pipes, soil pipes, traps and sewers.

Fittings

Fitting s are metallic links with different sizes used to connect, divide, divert or return the flow of water in different pieces of pipes with or without a change in the pipe direction. Their sizes and material vary depending on the size of the pipes they are connecting.

Insulating Materials

These are materials used to for thermal regulation e.g., to prevent pipe systems from losing heat where it is necessary. Similarly, insulating materials are used to safeguard residents from burns and other associated risks. Common materials used for insulation in plumbing include asbestos, cork, hair and wool felt and other mineral insulators such as mineral wool and mica.

Lead

Lead is another versatile plumbing material. You are likely to encounter lead pipes in most plumbing installations. Different types of lead such as molten lead and sheet lead are used for different applications. For instance, sheet lead is utilized as a waterproof material while molten lead is an essential material for sealing of joints especially in cast iron pipes.

Vitrified Clay Pipe

This is a common material used in sewer systems. It is most preferred because plumbers find it easier to make it in larger sizes and can also withstand nearly all forms of corrosion.

Hangers

Hangers are basically pipe supporters. They are used to support pipes especially those running along the ceilings or walls. They are either bought in different shapes and sizes or can simply be improvised from lumbar frames or iron piping. They are important in maintaining the running of long piping without weakening at the joints or sagging.

Hardware

During plumbing you may require different hardware supplies such as nails, screws, gaskets etc. Most of these hardware supplies are made of iron, steel and rubber and are used for different functions depending o the specific plumbing function.

Flexrock Packing

Flexrock packing is a metallic self-lubricating, self-forming pack. It is mostly used for sealing of the junctions of pipes that are imperfect or which are vulnerable to leaking. It can also be used to stop leaking in the deck faucet, slip joint connections, radiator valves etc.

Oakum

This is a loose, stringy fiber used for packing joints and seam when caulking. Oakum is forced into the jointed pipe hubs with caulking irons in order to form a seal before leading.

Copper tubing

This tubing is used to effectively convey cold and hot water because it is resistant to corrosion unless it is attacked by water-soluble gases. Both brass and bronze pipes are preferred for this function especially where corrosion is likely to occur.

In a nutshell, materials used for plumbing are diverse. The above described are just a few of them. However, they are basic. Depending on the specific type of plumbing, it is necessary to pre-assemble materials for effective plumbing process.