Understanding Plumbing

Types and Materials

Plumbing is a pivotal element in residential new build construction, responsible for the efficient and safe conveyance of water, gas, and waste. Comprehending the different types of plumbing and their purposes is fundamental in the planning stages of a new build. This article provides an overview of these various plumbing types and the materials typically used in residential new builds.

1. Supply Plumbing:

 Supply plumbing is the network that delivers clean, potable water into the home. It includes hot and cold water lines running to sinks, showers, toilets, and other fixtures. Commonly used materials for supply plumbing include copper, PEX (Cross-Linked Polyethylene), and CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) pipes.

2. Drainage Plumbing:

Drainage plumbing carries wastewater away from the home. This system includes pipes linked to fixtures and larger pipes that transport wastewater to the septic or sewer system. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and cast iron pipes are often used for drainage plumbing.

3. Vent Plumbing: 

Vent plumbing serves to prevent sewer gases from entering the home and provides air circulation to the drainage system. This involves pipes extending from the drainage system through the roof and air admittance valves. PVC and cast iron are typical materials for vent plumbing.

4. Gas Plumbing:

 Gas plumbing brings natural gas or propane into the home for appliances like stoves, dryers, and water heaters. This system includes gas lines running from the gas meter to individual appliances, typically composed of black iron and flexible gas lines.

5. Fire Suppression Plumbing:

 Fire suppression plumbing supplies water to fire sprinklers and other fire suppression systems throughout the home. This includes pipes, sprinkler heads, and fire suppression devices, generally made of copper and steel.

Installing plumbing systems correctly is crucial to ensure reliability, durability, and functionality. These systems must comply with local building codes, and regular maintenance can prevent leaks, clogs, and other issues.

When choosing plumbing materials, various factors such as the intended use, pressure requirements, and local building codes come into play. Common types of plumbing materials used in residential new builds include:

1. Copper Pipes: Used for hot and cold water supply lines and waste and vent pipes due to their durability, corrosion resistance, and ease of installation.

2. PVC Pipes: Used for waste and vent pipes due to their lightweight, easy handling, and resistance to corrosion.

3. PEX Pipes: Increasingly popular for hot and cold water supply lines due to their flexibility and corrosion resistance.

4. CPVC Pipes: Designed to endure higher temperatures and used for hot water supply lines.

5. Cast Iron Pipes: Used for waste and vent pipes due to their durability and long lifespan.

6. Galvanized Steel Pipes: Coated with zinc for protection from corrosion and used for water supply lines.

7. Brass Pipes: Used for valves, fittings, and other plumbing components due to their high corrosion resistance.


Selecting the right plumbing types and materials is crucial to ensure a reliable, durable, and functional system for years to come. The careful consideration of intended use, pressure requirements, and local building codes is necessary when planning a residential new build project. Ultimately, a well-designed and executed plumbing system enhances the comfort, safety, and value of a new home.

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