Plumbing choices to consider when remodeling your San Diego home. CPVC Pipes vs. copper, steel and others popular water piping materials.

Plumbing choices to consider when building new construction or remodeling your existing San Diego home. CPVC Pipes vs. Copper and Galvanized Steel for water piping.

Remodeling a home means having plumbing choices and making decisions. So if you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, bathroom or add a new room, be prepare yourself to spend an endless number of hours looking at options and making final selections.

There's more to plumbing than just fixtures choices.

There’s more to plumbing than just fixture choices.

When it comes to cabinets, faucets, light fixtures and floor coverings, there are a lot of personal style choices. Such as different styles, colors, finishes, price ranges, etc. But we’ll do our best to help guide your plumbing choices in the right direction for you.

Popular Plumbing Materials

For many decades, metal (in the form of galvanized steel or copper) was the only piping available. Look in the walls (or maybe garage walls for exposed pipes) of any un-remodeled home built before the 1960s and you’ll probably see all metallic pipes.

Today, CPVC systems are most often used in new home construction. Using CPVC pipe for home water pipes eliminates toxic metal contamination that other metal pipes cause. Additionally CPVC eliminates the certainty of contamination in your drinking water that comes from metal pipe corrosion.

CPVC is safe water pipe and is compatible with other plumbing systems. That’s why it’s so popular in kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects, and for the replacement of a failed copper or galvanized steel system.

Galvanized Steel

DO NOT use galvanized steel pipes for water. It will corrode and fail, guaranteed! And it won’t take too long to fail either. Galvanized pipe has less than a 5 year life span. You’ll find this type of steel pipe was common in homes prior to 1980. Since then newer and better piping materials are available. Copper was popular back then too. But steel was a lower cost option so unfortunately that’s why lots of people chose it over copper.

Is CPVC Better than Copper?

It depends on the application. CPVC is a “polymer” or plastic and has greater heat resistance and better impact strength than conventional PVC. So CPVC will not corrode, as copper can do. Additionally, it will not induce corrosion elsewhere, as copper can do. However, Copper may be more sturdy than CPVC once it’s installed; it withstands earthquake conditions (plastic pipes may not).

Copper pipes are fire resistant. Copper’s high melting point is 5-times higher than CPVC’s, so it can withstand much hotter temperatures, both internal and external. So basically, CPVC is great for low pressure and low temperature drinking water. Copper is better for high heat and higher pressure situations.

Learn more about your plumbing and water pipe choices to consider in home remodeling:

Plumbing Choices You Need to Know

People spend a lot of time considering what type of windows to put in a home. They come in different shapes, sizes and energy efficiency ratings. Same thing with flooring options. Yet, when it comes to something as important as the plumbing, it seems ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is the norm. Most people don’t ask any questions about the plumbing. They also assume they don’t have any plumbing choices to make.

Choices of Plumbing Materials

Leading choice of plumbing materials over the last few centuries have been the following:

  • Lead
  • Concrete
  • Cast iron
  • Steel
  • Galvanized steel

Then within the most recent 50 years:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • CSST Stainless Steal

Copper and galvanized steel were the norm back in the early days of home construction. But in contrast, today there are a host of other alternative materials, many of which are varying forms of plastic.

And now we have:

  • PVC
  • CPVC
  • PEX
  • ABS
  • Polyethylene

We like to help guide our home remodeling clients on the best plumbing choices to fit the right application.

PVC and CPVC Plastic Pipe

CPVC Water Pipe Plumbing Choices

Plastic pipe also known as PVC and an enhanced version called CPVS are rapidly gaining popularity.

Why has plastic gained such popularity? Metal has demonstrated a number of pitfalls through the years that have been documented by numerous studies and lawsuits. Pinhole leaks and premature system failures, caused by metal’s natural tendency to pit, corrode and scale, have opened the door for more reliable, virtually maintenance-free systems.

Not that PVC is without its unique characteristics, advantages and pitfalls too. PVC has a lower external strength than metal. Meaning that is has lower a PSI rating and is more susceptible to damage by crushing or puncturing with tools.

What is CPVC?

You can think of CPVC as PVC’s cousin. PVC is most common in sprinkler pipes and drainage systems. They are similar in many ways, but one should not use them interchangeably. Both contain the same basic elements with one distinguishing factor.

CPVC utilizes a free radical chlorination reaction that alters and effectively increases the chlorine content of the material. CPVC is also a thermoplastic that is molded into many of the same products as PVC.

This difference in makeup allows CPVC to withstand a wider range of temperatures. This is why many building codes require the use of CPVC as opposed to PVC for use in hot water applications. The ASTM standard allows PVC for applications not exceeding 140 degrees F.

Temperatures over this can cause softening of the material and weakening of joints. CPVC on the other hand can handle temperatures up to 200 degrees F. There are certain advantages of CPVC (post-chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) plumbing systems and pipe fittings over metallic systems.

Top 4 Advantages of CPVC over Metal Pipes

  1. Primarily, CPVC will never pit, scale or corrode like metal, which eliminates the risk of premature failures and costly re-piping, in addition to possible property damage.
  2. CPVC systems are also highly energy efficient with natural insulating properties that keep hot water hotter and cold water colder than metallic systems. In addition it virtually eliminates condensation. Which is a common problem with metallic pipes that can cause drip damage to walls and foundation.
  3. PVC piping has gained high marks for its ability to maintain water quality. There is no leaching or metal contamination into the water supply, so there are no related health concerns. And without pitting or corrosion, CPVC systems are able to maintain full water carrying capacity throughout their entire life. If you’ve ever looked inside a piece of old copper pipe, you’ve probably seen a thick layer of hard minerals.  These minerals can dramatically reduce the diameter of the pipe, which reduces water flow and water pressure, and can inhibit the efficiency of many water-using appliances. Eventually, homeowners with corroded pipes must completely re-pipe their home at an average cost of $6,000.
  4. No more noisy pipes due to ‘water hammer’ when you abruptly shut off flow, such as a shower, sink or washing machine running through its fill and drain cycles. Through the years, many homeowners have come to accept water hammer in their homes, which is typical of metallic systems. CPVC systems, on the other hand, resist water hammer. They also minimize water flow noise, which independent testing laboratories prove to be four times louder in copper pipes.


CPVC systems are now one of the most popular plumbing choices in new construction. They are compatible with other plumbing systems used in kitchen remodeling projects, the addition of bathrooms, or the replacement of a failed copper or galvanized steel system.

Using CPVC pipe for home water pipes eliminates toxic metal contamination caused by using all other types of new metal pipes. Additionally CPVC eliminates the certainty of contamination in your drinking water that comes from metal pipe corrosion.

Call us today about your plumbing concerns and various choices of piping materials. We are happy to help guide you towards the best plumbing choices for you and your home taking into account usage, health concerns, cost, and overall plumbing system longevity.


If you are remodeling your Poway or San Diego home and are wrestling with plumbing choices then call HK Construction, kitchen remodeling Poway contractors. We are happy to help guide you towards the best plumbing for you and your home. We’ll compare and contrast usage, health concerns, cost, and overall plumbing system longevity of CPVC, copper and galvanized steel.

Contact us for a free custom price quote. All quotes are in person, never over the phone. Call or email to set an appointment. This way we can see what you have and how you want it to be. Then we take measurements and go back to the office and work up an exact quote for you.

HK Construction is a remodeling and new construction company focusing on the needs of home owners in Poway and San Diego, CA. For further information please contact Marc Gieselmann about the cost, scope and time involved.

Company: HK Construction, Inc.
Owner: Marc Gieselmann
Location: Poway, CA.

Phone: (858) 748-6580

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Service area: All of San Diego CA and surrounding cites and counties. See complete service areas list.

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