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Thread: Polybutylene Piping

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member rsmith99's Avatar
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    Unhappy Polybutylene Piping

    I am a home owner remodeling my bathroom and I am wondering about the POLYBUTYLENE pipe in the walls. I know there are thousands of reported problems on the internet but I have not heard any of my neithbors having problems.

    Rather than worry about having to tear out my new tub and shower I am wondering about replumbing it while the walls are open. That brings me to my questions.

    What pipe should I use? I have heard copper does not hold up well in this area.

    How can I get the water line to the shower? I have attached pictures showing the bathtub and shower rough in. The tub roughin appears to have additional lines connected that MAY be going to the shower. How probable is that? If not could I just add another set of lines to go to the shower?

    I can't get to the shower through the ceiling or floor (without busting up the floor all the way across. I can go behind the tub to the shower, but then how do I make the bend at the corner?

    Thanks for your help!
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  2. #2
    Like an engineer alternety's Avatar
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    Not a useful reply, but I love the pipe clamp right above the Ts.

    Pex would probably be a good choice. You will need a tool and know how to use it properly. They tend to be brand specific.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member rsmith99's Avatar
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    Default Anybody else?

    Can anyone help?

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member construct30's Avatar
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    Wirsbo PEX hands down, you can transition from the PB pipe and just do part at a time. You have to use the expansion fittings and tools, don't use any cheap fittings that are designed for DIYer's to get by with pex like watts or quest or sharkbites even. Any other brand of PEX is risky at best. Zurn and many others have lawsuits pending and if copper is having trouble in your area you want to avoid brass fittings, Stick with Wirsbo pipe fittings and tools, you won't regret it. All of the PB pipe I've fixed had all plastic fittings. I've not seen the copper fittings, it was the fittings that caused most of the trouble, that I know of. What markings are on that pipe?
    Last edited by construct30; 02-28-2008 at 03:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Well, you have poly pipes and copper fittings. Poly has known issues and if copper does hold up well in your area then you should deal with it now while you have the walls open. These failures happen from the inside out, so without cutting into them you really have no idea as to the overall condition.

    This is a slab on grade house; right? Depending on climate, the easiest way to repipe the house would be through the attic. Hopefully, one of the pros on the board will be along shortly to help you. This may not be a DIY job for you.

    Have you consulted a local plumber? Ask around and find one with a good reputation. If all else fails call the local supply house for a referral. A local plumber can probably give you a better assessment as to what repairs are needed now.

    -Sam
    Last edited by sjsmithjr; 02-28-2008 at 03:45 PM.

  6. #6

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    Polybutylene is sensitive to anti-bacterial chemicals in water. If your city treats water regularly, then PB is not a good pipe. However, if, like me, you live where the water is good enough to not need treatment, the PB should last a very long time.

    PEX is a good choice to hook onto it - there are transition fittings from PB - PEX that come with a crimp ring for both. (There is a difference in the ID of the crimp rings.)

    Vanguard is also a good choice of fittings.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member construct30's Avatar
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    Does vanguard have plastic fittings, like wirsbo? I've seen brass. No brass if the water eats copper.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member rsmith99's Avatar
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    The only markings on the pipe I can make out say "100 PSI".

    I have looked all over the internet for Wirsbo tools (crimper) but I don't find any. Where can I get them?

    My local plumbing supply says to use Wirsbo and that the crimper they sell is $160. Does that sound right?

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member rsmith99's Avatar
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    Any idea what the double lines feeding the bathtub are for? Could these be feeding the shower as well?

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member construct30's Avatar
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    Wirsbo does not use a crimper, it is expansion style. That's Ok if that's what it is. Check out the big aution site they won't let us list here.

    Odds are they tee off and feed something else.

  11. #11
    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
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    QUOTE=rsmith99;126361]What pipe should I use? [/QUOTE]
    I'm sticking with CPVC
    Last edited by Bill Arden; 02-28-2008 at 04:30 PM.
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

  12. #12
    Plumber gear junkie's Avatar
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    I'd replace them. Just looking at the fittings, I can see some bad crimps. It's easy enough to do now with the walls exposed.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member rsmith99's Avatar
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    Default Best brand of PEX and best crimp tool for that brand

    You say you see some bad crimps? What do you look for?

    Can you tell me what brand of PEX to use and what crimp tool to use?

  14. #14
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Most of the people indicate they think Wirsbo is the best choice from what I read here. Wirsbo does NOT use a crimp. As opposed to sliding the tubing over a barbed fitting then crimping it to obtain the proper seal, Wirsbo uses a larger barbed fitting, that you can't slide the tubing over. Obviously, it needs to go over it, so instead, they use a tool to expand the tubing along with a reinforcing ring of the same material. Once it is expanded, then you slide it on the fitting and hold it for a moment. It then returns to the original size and creates the seal. By not using a crimp tool, it doesn't need to be calibrated, and it is less of a variable as to whether it is done right. With Wirsbo, if the reinforcement ring is in the proper place, the tubing is cut square, and inserted fully onto the barb, it is right. On the others, if you don't use the right tool, or don't know how to crimp, or it is out of calibration, the joint can come apart, or if too tight, create other problems.

    The advantage of pex is you can run it around corners and thread it through walls with no fittings, so there are fewer chances of a leak. Fewer fittings also give better flow. the ID of pex is smaller than copper, but with fewer fittings, you may end up with the same flow. Pex is not affected by freezing, but fittings are. It will just expand, then return to its normal size once it thaws out.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member rsmith99's Avatar
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    Default Delta R10000 fittings

    I am using the Delta R10000 with thread fittings. Are you supposed to use any special fittings on this faucet? The plumber is haing a hard time getting it to stop leaking.

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