I have a 90 degree fitting coming down from my shower valve. Also have a screw on tub spout trim. Right now there is a 6" galvanized pipe that connects the 90 to the tub spout trim. Is the galvanized steel the best practice for this (or even code)? If galvanized steel is bad let me know how to fix it before I grout and caulk that area.

  • In case you didn't know, the big box stores have cutters and they can cut galvanized or brass to your specific length, no matter how odd it is. – Dax Dec 6 '16 at 5:31

I remove galvanized pipe whenever possible. A brass nipple will be a much longer term connection, due to much lower reactivity to water caused corrosion.

However, if the plumbing elsewhere is galvanized, it may only be a symbolic gesture.

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  • Everything is copper except the tub spout. I just put it back on after replacing the shower valve and retiling. Is brass better? Do they even make 1/2 brass pipes that are threaded? Mainly just curious because usually I do a lot of showers but not many tubs. And I think most tubs I have done have trim that slips over copper. This threaded thing is funny. I mean it is easy once it is right because it makes it super easy to replace but what a science installing your trim. – DMoore Apr 29 '13 at 14:27
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    They do have brass in 1/2. Great stuff, corrosion wise. More rigid than copper with 2 male fittings. – HerrBag Apr 29 '13 at 17:41
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    here's a 1/2" x 6" threaded brass nipple – Tester101 Apr 29 '13 at 18:10
  • Yea I might just order that. Couldn't find any at the big box stores. Honestly only reason I started thinking about it is because I have babies in the house and they love drinking their bath water. – DMoore Apr 29 '13 at 19:49
  • Are we at a consensus that brass is the best thing to use here if you are threaded on both sides? I think this would help a lot of people out. Most websites suggest a brass male adapter to copper to a brass male adapter which I can see if you have length issues but seems not as stable as one solid pipe (and extra steps which I hate). – DMoore Apr 29 '13 at 19:56

Galvanized pipe is often used when a threaded pipe is required, since it's a bit more durable than copper. Copper is a softer metal, and may not hold up as well against the potential abuse the spout could see. While it's true that galvanized pipe has corrosion problems, such a short length where it's not common for water to rest should not cause problems.

If you're using a spout that doesn't connect using threads, you may want to use copper instead. For a threaded spout, however, galvanized may be the better choice.

enter image description here

  • That is the exact setup I have right now. Have you ever had any issues with galvanized rusting/corroding? Also what is the good and bad vs. brass? I know people aren't drinking tub whatever so I am not overly concerned- just curious. That picture is just funny to me too. Very very very difficult to set up your threaded pipe length before drywall, vapor barrier, HB, thinset, and tile (I was off by 3/16). I know it comes in different lengths but only to the inch. I had to add spacers (after tiling) into my cross-holder... no idea what I would do if it were an exterior wall. What a pain! – DMoore Apr 29 '13 at 19:47
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    I've seen galvanized pipes that were almost closed due to corrosion, but those were supply lines that were always filled with water. – Tester101 Apr 29 '13 at 21:50

I try to replace galvanized when ever possible. I've noticed in tub/shower installs water eventually tends to come out discolored due to rusting of the galvanized piping. Also, I've found that galvanized, when installed in direct contact to copper or brass tends to rust quicker and I've been told by at least 2 different plumbers that it is because of the chemical make up of the galvanized piping.


Galvanized pipes were used pre-60's. So it was to code for its time but its the worst piping to use for water. Hot water lines clog up a lot with galvanized if you have hard water. Some people use PEX tubing to replace it because its remodel friendly due to its flexibility but I've have no experience with that. Unless its clogged up I wouldn't mess with it. +10 for good old copper tubing and its antimicrobial properties.

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    Not likely anybody would use PEX for a tub spout, unless they wanted a floppy spout. – Tester101 Apr 29 '13 at 11:52
  • Why would the galvanized steel have clogs? I have a hard time seeing a 1/2" pipe just clog up. Also it is at least 30 years old and no rust or issues. Just wonder about code. PEX comment is funny. I would need to get a lime green tub spout for the pee-wee tub. Would be interesting to move your tub spout around. – DMoore Apr 29 '13 at 14:33
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    Problem with galvanized is that in rusts from within, even with city water. You will see bits (of flaked rust) in the strainer of faucets. May never see it on a tub spout, since it drains so thoroughly. – HerrBag Apr 29 '13 at 17:45

Though I can't attest to its long term health issues or your local code practices, as far as durability goes for this particular application you won't have trouble using galvanized pipe feeding your shower head or the tub spout. Typically the faucet will fail and be in need of replacement before the pipe fails. Seen these in hard water and long time soft water users. Never seen one clog or rot before the faucet became irreparable.

  • Problem is it smelled after a few days. – DMoore Jul 10 '13 at 15:11

I have galvanized in my commercial building only for feeding fixtures such as toilets and sinks. I am replacing what was installed in 1947, much of it was ready to fail but it still lasted almost 70 years and yes the fixtures and shutoff valves also needed replaced. Brass is way too expensive to justify but for a drinking fountain, use copper.


I am working on commercial properties and I just had to replace plumbing with a galvanized nipple in copper. Water DOES sit in that pipe. The pipe doesn't have to be full or under pressure for corrosion to happen.

I found that the problem with corrosion in that pipe isn't closing the pipe off, it's corroding the pipe and fittings so that when you try to unscrew the tub spout, the copper fitting breaks before the corroded threads break free.

Break out the saws all and replace copper in the wall... Or just start with brass.

I am now going with copper or brass rob spouts.


galvanized will work fine for a long, long time. Yes, in time (40-60 years) you may get enough corrosion to affect water flow, but by that time, you or someone else will have changed out the trim 3-4 times.

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