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Plumbing Guide: Types of PVC Pipes

Over the past few decades, PVC has become one of the most widely used materials in several industries. The material is probably most widely used in the plumbing and piping industry. Before jumping on to learn the different types of PVC water pipes, let’s first learn what PVC is. 

 Types of PVC Pipes

Polyvinyl Chloride is a solid, brittle form of plastic which is made by by polymerisation of vinyl chloride The different variants of PVC based pipes are used for water supply, chemical and industrial effluent supply, soil water supply, sewer systems, fire sprinklers, wire protectors, drainage systems, irrigation applications and much more. PVC-based pipes are the most widely used types of plastic pipes. Basis on the different type of manufacturing, following are the types of PVC pipes:


Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride is one of the most widely used variants of  PVC water pipes. It does not contain any plasticizers which are solvents added to the material for more flexibility. These pipes are extremely lightweight and perfect for potable water supply. These pipes are easy to handle and quite economical making them a perfect choice for several households, commercial as well as industrial applications.


CPVC or Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride pipes are manufactured by chlorination of the normal PVC material. By doing so, the new material is highly resistant to temperature changes. Overall, CPVC pipes have similar characteristics as that of UPVC pipes. Additionally, these pipes are corrosion-resistant. CPVC pipes are widely used in households for the supply of hot and cold water.


Molecularly Oriented PVC is produced by turning normal PVC into a layered structure, thereby making it highly corrosion-resistant. These high-pressure pipes are suitable for applications where high pressure is required such as irrigation purposes, heavy sewer and drainage systems, and industrial applications.

Just like the other variants of PVC, these pipes are recyclable, flexible, affordable, and strong. The high ductility and resistance against cracks make them the perfect choice for pipe applications that require heavy impact and weariness. These pipes are environmentally-friendly and last for many decades.


High-impact polyvinyl chloride (PVC-Hi) is a material that is formed by mixing a combination of chemical elements into the unplasticised-PVC material. Therefore, enhancing the impact resistance capability of the material. It is a typical alloy with high-dimensional stability, hence, it can perform well under high pressure and temperature flawlessly without breaking or cracking. PVC-Hi pipes are widely used for industrial and commercial applications.

To sum up, let’s talk about some of the similar characteristics of all types of PVC-based pipes. All the variants are durable, flexible, lightweight, and economical choices for various plumbing applications. Additionally, the unique characteristics of these pipes such as resistance to harmful UV-rays, ability to withstand high pressure, ability to carry hot or cold water, ability to transfer volatile gas, ability to transfer reactive chemicals, etc collectively define the unique applications and usage of these pipes.

Overall, UPVC and CPVC are the two types of polyvinyl chloride that are widely used in the plumbing industry for the following reasons:  

  • Lightweight
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Affordable
  • Easy to handle
  • Low maintenance

Let’s look at a few other types of plastic pipes.

ABS Pipes

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a material that was developed first mid-way through the 20th century. Originally, manufactured to be used in oil fields, this material quickly became a popular choice for the engineering industry. Its notable features include affordability, rigidity, ease of manufacture, high-impact resistance, and ability to withstand a wide range of temperatures (-40°C to +60 °C). It is most commonly used for industrial applications and drainage systems. However, it can also be used for the transfer of potable water. 

HDPE Pipes

These pipes are made of high-density polyethylene, a material that is quite lightweight, strong, and flexible. HDPE pipes are used for various applications such as cable duction, transfer of natural gas, sewage and drainage applications. HDPE pipes are also used in the agricultural industry for irrigation, bore well, sprinklers, and pesticide dispersal. These pipes are suitable for a wide range of temperatures (-45°C to -45°C). There are several other variants of Polyethylene pipes, however, HDPE easily stands out.

PB Pipes

These pipes are made of Polybutylene and are generally used in pressure piping systems. These pipes are also suitable for the supply of both hot and cold water. PB pipes are not used widely, however, in some parts of the world, their market is growing slowly.

PP Pipes

Polypropylene is a food-grade material that is suitable for the supply of potable water. The high impact resistance combined with good stiffness and high chemical resistance makes this material suitable for sewer applications.

Which Type of Plastic Pipe is Used for Water?

Usually, different variants of PVC pipes are the ideal choice for water transportation applications. When it comes to the transfer of potable water, ASTM pipes are a good fit. For the transfer of hot and cold water, CPVC pipes are the best fit. For sewage and drainage applications, uPVC pipes are the preferred choice.


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