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View Full Version : Do you pros use flexible supply lines? Any tips?



SteveW
11-11-2007, 09:00 AM
In the "toilets" section, Cass gave what I thought was a great tip - if you use a flexible stainless steel water supply line to your toilet, use a longer rather than a shorter line, so that you can gently loop it. I would not have thought of that!

So, got me to wondering. Do the pros on this site use braided steel lines, or conventional "hard" supply lines to toilets and faucets?

If you do use flexible lines, any other great tips you'd like to share?

Thanks in advance.

http://www.terrylove.com/images/install_kit.jpg

Gary Swart
11-11-2007, 10:10 AM
I'm not a pro, but I'm pretty certain the pros always use flex lines with the braided stainless steel covering.

jimbo
11-11-2007, 10:20 AM
Some guys take a real " old school " approach, which is fine. But the price and labor savings of the flexies are hard to ignore. And in my mind, they are light years ahead of the old integral corrugated metal valve/flex combos, which licensed plumbers all over the country installed by the millions in new construction, because they were cheap and quick. I'll take an SS flex any day.

Verdeboy
11-11-2007, 10:43 AM
I prefer the flexible PVC supply lines.

IMHO, they resist "knotting" and "kinking" better than the SS lines when tightening down the compression nuts.

Marlin336
11-11-2007, 11:38 AM
I default to chrome supplies, flexes only get used when I have some kind of reason not to use chrome. Hard lines are a little cheaper then flex lines so it's really just the labor. Once you get the hang of bending it only takes a couple minutes to install a hard line which in my opinion it is a much more finished and professional look then a thick braided line with a loop in it that anyone with a wrench can throw on.

Dunbar Plumbing
11-11-2007, 01:39 PM
I started off using the soft copper chrome supplies, hated it and they are hard to remove as much as they are hard to install at times, especially when you have a really strange offset leading to a toilet. Out of all that I've seen and removed........? They all show signs of leaking at some time given the greenish corrosion at the 3/8" nut, you can tell the difference between a leak and condensation dripping back.

I've seen many of the hard ones indirectly supporting a fixture like a wall hung sink or a toilet.

I use Fluidmaster or Watts stainless steel flex supplies only, ONLY with the brass barb inserts that connect to the crimps that hold the supply lines on.


Verdeboy on those that you are using,

If those have plastic barbs holding the nuts on, they break over time and that vinyl braided plastic gets hard a freaking rock. I've replaced a few of those for splits either on toilet supplies, faucets, then leading down to washing machine hoses.

I bought them because they was cheaper but I got away from the liability.

Watts has the tightest mesh pattern of stainless steel webbing around the vinyl tubing; Fluidmaster is wider which I don't appreciate but I appreciate the quality they use on the connections and the brass barbs for the crimps.

Stainless braided isn't foolproof, but it makes for a more less time consuming task. They do make a corrugated stainless tubing but isn't popular amoung plumbers yet.

I really wish someone would come out with a 7/8" chrome brass nut for toilet supplies in flexible stainless; I don't trust plastic and those nuts break all the time on stock supplied nuts that require your own hard supply line.

cwhyu2
11-11-2007, 03:34 PM
I prefer solid copper tubbing but I have used flex.

smellslike$tome
11-11-2007, 07:21 PM
I wanted to post a picture but don't see how to do it on this forum.

I have seen flex line with ss braid that blew nearly completely in two. This was a dishwasher line that flooded a kitchen on into a dining room. Big mess! It was definately something new to see for me but there it was, nearly all the way around the circumference of the ss braid was just curled back on either side as if a little bomb went off inside the line. Wish I could post the picture!

Verdeboy
11-11-2007, 07:56 PM
To Post a pic click on:

Manage Attachments/Browse/Upload

smellslike$tome
11-11-2007, 08:06 PM
I tried but the file size is way too big. I'm showing my ignorance I know but isn't there some kind of way to compress the file size so that I can post it?

kordts
11-11-2007, 08:12 PM
Check out the Brasscraft "innoflex" no one has them in my area yet, but I can't wait!

JeffH
11-11-2007, 08:40 PM
First off, yes, I use SS flex. Watts & Fluidmaster. Stay away from cheap bargin bin hardware!

To loop or not to loop? It really comes down to the distance between the stop and and toilet connection. Looping is good. A loop to tight will kink. If it looks like it will kink...adapt your application.

Copper tubing has it's applications, but typically not worth the $time$. Some Customers like the aesthetic qualities. Does on last longer? Not really. IMO, here in sunny cal, where earthquakes are a real possibility, flexibility definitely has it's pro's. Go with SS.

frenchie
11-11-2007, 08:40 PM
I tried but the file size is way too big. I'm showing my ignorance I know but isn't there some kind of way to compress the file size so that I can post it?

This is what I use:

http://www.download.com/3000-20-10607499.html

it's freeware, and a small/fast program, works great.

smellslike$tome
11-11-2007, 09:22 PM
This is what I use:

http://www.download.com/3000-20-10607499.html

it's freeware, and a small/fast program, works great.

Does'nt seem to be Mac compatable. I'm using a MacBook Pro w/OS 10.4.10.

Verdeboy
11-12-2007, 01:05 AM
Does'nt seem to be Mac compatable. I'm using a MacBook Pro w/OS 10.4.10.


Try this freeware:

http://photofiltre.free.fr/frames_en.htm

click Downloads/English Version

Herk
11-12-2007, 10:23 AM
I have primarily used both Polybutylene and PEX risers over the last decade. I use them with the delrin ferrules and that means that there is no rubber to rot at either end. The fused end that attaches to toilet or sink is solid material and the delrin ring isn't subject to shrinking or rotting.

But these days, I'm switching to some of the "no-burst" braided connectors. I carry a variety of sizes so they don't look looped or amateurish. I only use the ones with real stainless steel braid - no faux plastic. The ones like the pic above made of vinyl will expand over a period of years until they burst. I've seen scores of them more than double their original size.

The problems with the no-burst are primarily that some of them can be twisted internally and cut off water flow. (I've had service calls where all I needed to do was loosen a nut and untwist to restore flow.) Also, I've seen overtightened nuts split and blow off in the middle of the night. Rubber seals are not required to be cinched that tight. The new Fluidmasters seem to be quite resistant to twisting.

geniescience
01-23-2009, 08:22 PM
What is the status now (in 2009) with:
--flexible vinyl mesh supply lines
--flexible braided steel supply lines

for hot water lines in particular?
(Water heaters, instant hot water, dishwashers, washing machines)

David

Dunbar Plumbing
01-23-2009, 08:37 PM
I'm constantly taking those white vinyl ones out because they swell twice their size over time, and they have those plastic barbs that break.


I am called to many of them where they leak.

nhmaster
01-24-2009, 03:40 AM
If you get into the habit of reading the fixture datat sheet and rough the supply exactly where it says to then you can use solid supply tubes without having to either cut or bend them. For things that you had no control over I use the flexi lines.

TedL
01-24-2009, 04:51 AM
A question for plumbers who use stainless braided supplies:
If you put one (quality like Watts or Fluidmaster) in your own house, after how many years would you replace it?

hj
01-24-2009, 05:29 AM
I REMOVE plastic supply lines, I do not install them. for a toilet, if you install the valve pointing sideways you do not have to make sharp bends to connect the supply to the fill valve. "replace them"? I haven't had to yet. And for customers, I will replace them when the toilet or faucet is changed, but otherwise there has been no need to.

master plumber mark
01-24-2009, 05:41 AM
RUGGED STATED..
I've seen many of the hard ones indirectly supporting a fixture like a wall hung sink or a toilet.

I use Fluidmaster or Watts stainless steel flex supplies only, ONLY with the brass barb inserts that connect to the crimps that hold the supply lines on.


Verdeboy on those that you are using,

If those have plastic barbs holding the nuts on, they break over time and that vinyl braided plastic gets hard a freaking rock. I've replaced a few of those for splits either on toilet supplies, faucets, then leading down to washing machine hoses.


I have had flooded homes already from the plastic barb type supply lines. snapping off..

The Stainless steel type flexible supplies with the innner brass barb are the best ...

I used to have idiot employees that would bend and break 3 or 4 copper tube type supplies before they could make one look good on a toilet... so I went to them for the convienance and the time that they saved back in about 1990....

I suppose that those supply lines are still out there...


their is only one situation where they actually failed me... someone in a doctors office always left an open can of toilet bowl cleaning solution under their vanity...

somehow over a period of a few years the fumes from
the soution actually ate up the SS braided part of the supply line leaving the plastic inner supply line exposed ...

it never leaked but when we found it , we changed it out..


brass craft has come out with this new Black vinyl braided
supply line for water heaters which is supposed to somehow be better
than the SS ...

they work great in many applications ... especially
when you cant get the water to completely shut off
to the system ...

http://onsmartpages.com/weilhammerplumbingco/nss-folder/pictures/si_UEw80h80_DSC05763.JPG (http://onsmartpages.com/weilhammerplumbingco/pictures/view_alone.nhtml?profile=pictures&UID=10216)

Cass
01-24-2009, 06:02 AM
brass craft has come out with this new Black vinyl braided
supply line for water heaters which is supposed to somehow be better
than the SS ...

they work great in many applications ... especially
when you cant get the water to completely shut off
to the system ...

http://onsmartpages.com/weilhammerplumbingco/nss-folder/pictures/si_UEw80h80_DSC05763.JPG (http://onsmartpages.com/weilhammerplumbingco/pictures/view_alone.nhtml?profile=pictures&UID=10216)

Yeah but isn't the ID smaller on them than hard piped copper?

jimbo
01-24-2009, 08:02 AM
My toilet and ss flex was installed in 1992. I have not given any thought to replacing it.

An the subject of "looping": On a typical install, if you install the valve with the outlet horizontal, this often give just a nice smooth curve up on a 12" flex. If the situation is such that a 12" won't work, then if you install the valve with the outlet pointing down, then you may only need a 180 loop, rather than a full loop.

99k
01-24-2009, 10:17 AM
I default to chrome supplies, flexes only get used when I have some kind of reason not to use chrome. Hard lines are a little cheaper then flex lines so it's really just the labor. Once you get the hang of bending it only takes a couple minutes to install a hard line which in my opinion it is a much more finished and professional look then a thick braided line with a loop in it that anyone with a wrench can throw on.

I agree. I just put two totos in my house and couldn't stand the thought of looking at braided SS lines ... under the sink is fine. The trick is to use some teflon paste with the ferrules (under and on top) and this provides a nice seal without the pesky drip and allows for easy torque ... just don't overtighten.

Dunbar Plumbing
01-24-2009, 05:13 PM
Jimbo is spot-on about moving the valve to make a better radius. However, I don't get into "moving" older valves at homes to accomplish that as I'd be setting myself up for another potential leak if for some reason it tightens and don't seal.

I "could" replace the valve on an upsell, but recently I had a situation where a valve didn't match the thread pattern on a switchout, found that really strange, but not surprised.

Jimbo, do you upsell a new valve replacement, back nut and all? Most if not always I can't get enough pipe to work with on removing nut and ferrule, and sometimes the nut has been cranked down so hard that it's impossible to remove the ferrule, even with a puller. :confused:


99K,

I tried for years hoping I'd catch on to bending those tubes....to this day, still can't do it right. Mark, that's the reason why I've never looked back when I switched to stainless steel braided.

jimbo
01-24-2009, 07:44 PM
They still make a compression angle stop with the so-called "coarse" thread, and it is a good idea to keep one of these on hand for just such occasions.

On balance, your odds are better if you re-use the existing ferrule. There can be issues, but removing it and having the new ferrule land in a location which only partially overlaps the old one, can also cause a leak. So having a new valve on hand lets you keep the old nut and ferrule.

http://terrylove.com/images/homeowner/shutoff_corragated_replace.jpg

Redwood
01-24-2009, 11:00 PM
I use braided stainless everywhere except pedestal sinks.

99k
01-25-2009, 08:15 AM
I tried for years hoping I'd catch on to bending those tubes....to this day, still can't do it right. Mark, that's the reason why I've never looked back when I switched to stainless steel braided.

I have only installed a few of these since I am not changing toilets in customers houses ... otherwise I would probably use the SS lines too. I understand they sell a special tool (I don't own one) but I bend they by hand or bend them around a round object. I think it is important how "hard" the copper tubing is and the closet riser that I purchased was "dead soft" which you can easily determine by how much force is necessary to bend this tubing in your hand.

master plumber mark
01-25-2009, 08:52 AM
Yeah but isn't the ID smaller on them than hard piped copper?


Cass..... I have not taken out my micrometer and actually measured the id of those braded water ehater connectors....

they work great and have saved me well over an hour
fooling with some of my meaner nastier heater and water softener installations....

They have the quality Brass Craft name on them
they are much more flexible than the SS braided
ones you can buy

and they look like 3/4 to me....

CarlH
01-25-2009, 11:28 AM
What about those gray plastic lines that use compression fittings. I'm not sure what they are made out of. PB? I've seen them at one of the big box stores and a local hardware stores. Does anybody use those?

From a homeowner perspective I like the look of the chrome plated copper lines, but those flexible lines go on much quicker.

kingsotall
01-25-2009, 06:35 PM
CarlH, Those are PEX lines and are mainly used under sink cabinets. Need to use brass insert and nylon ferrule.

Cass
01-26-2009, 03:37 AM
Cass..... I have not taken out my micrometer and actually measured the id of those braded water ehater connectors....

they work great and have saved me well over an hour
fooling with some of my meaner nastier heater and water softener installations....

They have the quality Brass Craft name on them
they are much more flexible than the SS braided
ones you can buy

and they look like 3/4 to me....




I was at Low*s the other day picking up a upper stat for a heater and looked them and the ID looked smaller than 1/2" that is why I was asking...