I need to install piping for hot and cold water, do you suggest plastic or metal pipes?

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    This question is subjective, and very broad. You might want to think about narrowing it down a bit. – Tester101 Apr 16 '13 at 12:03
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    Eg: What is it for - Domestic potable water or something else? Where is it being installed? Are the pipes exposed or in walls (as this can help make the choice of rigid vs flexible)? Are you looking for plumbing in residential fixtures in an entire house? Outside buried piping? There is really not one good answer to this, it largely depends on what the situation calls for. It also depends on your experience/skills and what tools you have (or are willing to learn/buy). – gregmac Apr 16 '13 at 14:00
  • Plastic = cheap / copper = expensive – Piotr Kula Apr 16 '13 at 15:35
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    @ppumkin That's not always true. For the pipe itself, this might be true. But when you factor in tools and fittings, things may change a bit. – Tester101 Apr 16 '13 at 16:03
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    Add more details to your question or it will get closed. – auujay Apr 16 '13 at 16:18

TLDR: copper pipe with compression fittings.

In the UK, your choices, in approximate order of decreasing compactness and decreasing skill required, include

  • Copper pipe with end-soldered connections.
  • Copper pipe with solder-ring connectors.
  • Copper pipe with compression fittings.
  • Copper pipe with push-fit connections.
  • Plastic pipe with push-fit speedfit connectors.
  • Plastic pipe with push-fit Hep2o connectors
  • Plastic pipe with push-fit Polyplumb connectors
  • Plastic pipe with push-fit Floplast connectors
  • Plastic pipe with other push-fit connectors.

However, if you already have copper pipe, I would use compression fittings and copper pipe (if you have space) to maintain earth continuity. You probably need to add equipotential bonding where the pipes join the taps.

Plastic pipe is easier but, in my experience, the couplings are more bulky than even compression fittings and this can make a significant difference to the end result (e.g. being able to fit joints within existing space).

Plastic pipe connectors usually have to match to plastic pipe type. Some plastic push-fit connectors (but not all) can be used to join copper pipe to plastic.

Plastic pipes can be bent, but I've had nearby push-fit joints leak, so it may be best not to rely on the flexibility too much.

The disadvantage of soldering is that you have to make sure the pipework is empty and dry, even a small amount of water several inches away can make it impossible to raise the temperature of the joint high enough for solder to flow.

So really it depends on how handy you are with a blowtorch.

  • Your answer would be better if you talked about different types of "plastic" and "metal" piping (eg, PEX, PVC, poly, copper, galvanized) and didn't just list off a bunch of brand names for push-fit connectors -- there is way more out there for "plastic" pipes than push-fit. – gregmac Apr 16 '13 at 14:05

I like copper. I disagree with RedGrittyBrick partially on the compression fittings.

Soldering copper pipe is pretty easy. For a complete beginner, there are even joint pieces (elbows and collars) that come pre-loaded with solder:

enter image description here

You simply heat the pipe (not the joint) until the solder melts.

However, soldering brass fixtures to copper is something I've never been able to master.
My solution is solder the piping, and use compression or shark-bites for the termination.

As far as drainage goes, stick with ABS (Rigid black plastic).

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    For what it's worth, I would also use solder-ring connections when making up long runs of new fixed copper pipe. I use compression fittings where soldering is impractical (e.g. to avoid setting fire to surroundings when joining existing pipes in cramped places) – RedGrittyBrick Apr 16 '13 at 13:40
  • @BradMace Nice edit comment. – Chris Cudmore Apr 17 '13 at 12:29

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