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Thread: Flexible (roll) copper for bathroom supply lines?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Flot's Avatar
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    Default Flexible (roll) copper for bathroom supply lines?

    Is flexible (roll) copper going to be a safe choice for supply lines to a bath?

    Quick situation: remodeling house, and have some limited attic access. Houses in the neighborhood (built in 1960-63) have started having copper pinhole leaks, fitting leaks, etc.

    I have an easy way to repipe most of the house before I hit those same issues. However I have one bath which is 50' away from the rest of the plumbing.

    I have not run across a local plumber that is confident in PEX. I would prefer not to use copper pipe or CPVC as that would leave me with 5-6 fittings inside my attic ceiling - attic is not accessible from above, but is accessible from below right now while i'm remodeling.

    One plumber has suggested flexible copper roll. Aside from the prohibitive cost of materials, I like the idea of a continuous run of pipe through the attic for leak resistance. Anything else I should be aware of with this approach?

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    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Use copper and trust the fittings.

    I trust the fittings I sweat myself more than the pipe.

    Do your best to protect it from freezing though.

    Consider putting in an access panel before you seal everything up.

    I use them a lot.
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 09-21-2010 at 10:53 AM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There is no real problem with soft copper in rolls. If it is more expensive, then it is because the plumber is using a lighter grade copper for the "straight" runs with fittings.

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    DIY Junior Member Flot's Avatar
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    Appreciate the reply - copper pipe is going to be very difficult in my attic - almost impossible to get rigid 10' sections up there, 20' sections would be completely out of the question.

    My big question is, is roll copper dramatically different than rigid copper? Is roll copper a "bad thing" or almost as good overall considering the install benefits?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The only difference is one is hardened and the other is not. The major difference is that soft/rolled copper does NOT come in grade "M", which is much cheaper.

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    DIY Junior Member Flot's Avatar
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    Thanks. My comment on cost was more of cost of copper (any type) vs plastic (any type).

    He threw out a number around $250 for a roll of 50' (I think 3/4") copper. Not sure I really need 3/4 although there is a hose bib on the outside wall of that bath where it would be nice to get the extra flow.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If people are getting pinholes in their copper, why would you want to replace the existing with copper? Some places just have water that is nasty to metal pipes. Pex is also more tolerant to freezing, but any pipe run in an attic should be on the ceiling side of the insulation. If you wanted, you could conver to copper in the walls.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member Flot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    If people are getting pinholes in their copper, why would you want to replace the existing with copper? Some places just have water that is nasty to metal pipes. Pex is also more tolerant to freezing, but any pipe run in an attic should be on the ceiling side of the insulation. If you wanted, you could conver to copper in the walls.
    Copper is lasting 50 years in my neighborhood which is fine by me. No freezing issues here in south Florida. Biggest worry might be heat gain from attic but I think I could live with that, our "cold" water is 80 degrees anyway.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flot View Post
    - attic is not accessible from above, but is accessible from below right now while i'm remodeling.

    One plumber has suggested flexible copper roll. Aside from the prohibitive cost of materials, I like the idea of a continuous run of pipe through the attic for leak resistance. Anything else I should be aware of with this approach?
    You don't honestly plan on not having a hatch to get into the attic later on, do you?

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    DIY Junior Member Flot's Avatar
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    I "upgraded" from one access hatch to 3 hatches. There is still ~50% of the attic that is effectively impossible to access. At its highest point there is about 2' of room in the attic. Add in 12" A/C ducting, plumbing, conduit, etc - and it's very difficult to do anything. That's why I prefer to have as much of a continuous run of pipe as possible, any leaks will only be detected/fixed by ripping out the ceiling.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    to get pinholes, you're drinking copper since your water is disolving it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Plumbing copper does NOT come in 50' rolls. It is either 60' or 100'. The only copper that comes in 50' rolls is ACR refrigeration tubing and that is too thin to use for plumbing.

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    DIY Junior Member Flot's Avatar
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    I can't seem to find a lot of information on the differences, in fact a couple of websites reference refrigeration copper and plumbing copper being the same thing, with the exception that one is measured ID and one OD. Another said refrigeration grade was thicker/better than 'plumbing grade.'

    What would I be looking for in terms of marking on the pipe? (it's already a done deal, came this AM and installed when I couldn't be home)
    Last edited by Flot; 09-22-2010 at 11:58 AM.

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I.d. is nominal and o.d. is actual. ACR tubing is about equal to type "M" plumbing copper, the difference being that it is in a 50' roll rather than 20 straight lengths.

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