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Thread: Bronze/brass vs. plastic shower drain

  1. #1

    Default Bronze/brass vs. plastic shower drain

    What are the pros and cons of a plastic (ABS/PVC) drain versus bronze/brass? While both meet code, is there an longevity or durability factor in using brass/bronze? Which do most plumbers prefer?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The moving, visible parts, and those things that control it might better be brass - they'll hold a finish better that plastic. The actual drain line - plastic is probably okay. I did some remodeling at my mother's house over Christmas...the brass tub drain came apart in my hand, the pvc stuff was still good. The softer plastic is more liable to get the finish damaged because the plating is hard, and the plastic is much less so. The differences in thermal expansion means the bond won't be as reliable, either. My personal opinion.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    I prefer the brass drains for a few reasons:

    The plastic holding nuts can crack over time from being under the stress of being tight.

    Removal of that nut and reuse is impossible when they leak

    Brass however will not stay clean for long iin the conditions it is exposed to.

    An all glued PVC drain assembly is a nightmare to remove in close quarters; the brass holding nut can be removed along with the assembly, cleaned and reinstalled if the installer didn't properly bed the base of the unit.

    I get about 3 to 4 calls a year where the plastic nut broke and was leaking bad. Less than that I get a call rarely that a brass drain is leaking; most times the base is free floating allowing movement of the drain independent from the fixture.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

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