How Much Does It Cost To Replace Pipes

Your plumbing pipes at home can be copper, galvanized steel, PVC or CPVC, or polybutylene. The latter and the galvanized steel pipes are usually recommended to be replaced with the three most popular piping options these days—copper, PEX, and CPVC. The same is true for old and damaged copper and CPVC pipes. However, you need to take note that there are a lot of things you have to keep in mind first. For one, there are a lot of different kinds of pipes that you can use these days. All these pipes have their own sets of pros and cons; hence, it usually is not easy to decide on which kind of pipe is best to replace the current ones.

The cost of replacing pipes is one of the major factors that may affect your decisions when choosing a replacement pipe for the water supply system. Read on and find out the cost of replacing pipes per type. This article will also guide you in the proper selection of pipes not only in terms of pricing but also when speaking of their pros and cons.

The Cost Of Replacing Pipes

The usual cost of replacing pipes at home runs from $1,500 to $15,000 or even more. The cost to repipe homes depending on the type of replacement pipe is reflected below:

Copper pipes ($2,500 to $15,000)

PEX tubing ($1,500 to $8,000)

PVC-CPVC pipes ($1,500 to $8,000)

The price estimate refers to hiring a contractor to do the repiping job as well as inspection and materials. The whole project will usually last one to five working days. In some cases, the cost of building permits is included in the estimate.

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Replacing Pipes

Pipe. As reflected above, the cost of replacing pipes varies depending on the type of pipe being used. Copper pipes are obviously the most expensive replacement option as compared to plastic pipes. This is true because copper is known to resist corrosion and has a long life expectancy, which is around 40 to 50 years.

Size of the house. When replacing pipes, the cost usually goes high or low depending on the size of the house or the project. Let’s take for example different sizes of homes for a PVC-CPVC pipe replacement. Usually, a small one-bathroom home costs around $1,500 to $2,500 to repipe while a larger home with three bedrooms and two or more bathrooms can cost $3,000 to $7,000 or even more. Besides the number of rooms and bathrooms in the home, the number of levels of the house also affects the cost of replacing pipes. Two-story homes are usually more expensive to repipe as compared to typical one-level homes.

Water. The type of water running in your home’s water supply system can also affect prices here. For instance, if acidic water is running, it usually is not ideal to use copper pipes for the plumbing system. Hence, you can get the cheaper counterparts. However, if you want copper pipes despite the acidity of the water, a water treatment may be necessary to correct the pH balance of the water. This can be an added cost of around $600 to $2,000.

Access. Some plumbing pipes in the water supply system may be harder to access than usual. Others may require tearing down walls to access the pipes that are subject for replacement. It follows that the harder it is to access the pipes, the more expensive the cost of labor will be.

Fixtures. It must be noted that the more fixtures such as bathtub, toilet, dishwasher, and sink you have at home, the more job is required to complete the replacement job. Hence, the more fixtures there are, the more expensive the project will be.

Plumber. Your choice of plumber for the job can also greatly affect pipe replacement costs. Experienced, licensed, and insured plumbers usually charge more as compared to amateur ones.

DIY. Although it is recommended that pipe replacements be done by professionals only, making it a do-it-yourself project is possible. The cost of a DIY project varies depending on the type of pipe you wish to use. For instance, copper pipes are sold for $1.50 to $2 per linear foot while CPVC pipes are sold for $0.50 to $0.60 cents per linear foot. PEX tubing, on the other hand, costs $0.40 to $0.50 per linear foot.

Additional Costs

Local building permits are oftentimes extra in line with pipe replacements. Usually, the cost of permits varies from $70 to $400. The contractor may also charge you extra $50 to $150 for their attendance during local building inspections.

Extra materials that are not included in the bid will be charged extra. For instance, the need for extra pipes, bolts, and fittings will be an added expense in your part.

If fixtures such as toilet, shower, sink, bathtub, and dishwasher are old or damaged, it may be necessary to replace them already. Fixture replacements will be an added cost and the price depends on what kind of fixture needs to be replaced.

YIP 2010.222 - Robs and coppers
Photo by smohundro

Tips Before You Decide To Replace Pipes

Know the best type of plumbing pipe to invest on for your home’s water supply system. You have to take note of several pros and cons of each type of pipe for you to come up with a good choice of piping replacement. The next subtopic will discuss your different pipe options to help you come up with a valuable choice.

Take note that no matter what kind of pipe you choose, prices will vary significantly from one contractor to another. Therefore, you must get price estimates from at least three different contractors. Take note to compare not only based on prices but as well as the experience, license, insurance, and quality of services being offered by the contractor.

Take note that a good contractor you can trust will inspect your home first before giving you an estimate. A good contractor will also suggest the best type of pipe to use for the water supply system for your best advantage.

Get recommendations from friends and relatives regarding plumbers who you can trust for this kind of project. Always keep in mind to deal with contractors that are licensed in your area and are properly insured for your best protection.

Get a written contract from the contractor of your choice. Make sure every detail of the service is written in black and white including service inclusions, charges, warranty, dates, and the like.

Various Types Of Pipes

Type

Description

Pros

Cons

Copper This is the most common type of piping used in households. It comes in three different sizes starting from very thin to thick walls.
  • long-term durability
  • biostatic
  • fire-resistant
  • earthquake tolerant
  • accepted by all building codes
  • bendable
  • no bulky joints
  •  expensive
  • not suitable for acidic water
  • can possibly leach lead or copper into the supply of water
  • extra insulation is necessary
  • calcium build-up is possible
  • repairs can be difficult for DIYers
PEX PEX pipe is ideal for both hot and cold water and can offer higher heat resistance than other pipes.
  • low cost
  • heat resistant
  • extremely durable
  • expansion tolerant

 

  • need brass fittings
  • requires special tools for installation
  • not  repair-friendly to casual DIY homeowners

 

PVC-CPVC This is a plastic plumbing pipe that can be used for transporting high pressured water. This piping has received extra chlorination and can work to handle both hot and cold water.
  • abrasion and corrosion resistant
  • reduced water noise
  • high-impact strength
  • easy to install
  • cost-effective
  • lightweight
  • self-insulating
  • flexible
  • good even for acidic soils

 

  • can crack during earthquakes
  • cure time takes up to 24 hours

 

Polybutylene This can be used both for residential and commercial water supply system. However, it is not anymore recommended for today’s use because of its unusually high rate of failure even under normal operating conditions. 
  • easy to install
  • low cost

 

  • high failure rate
  • deterioration is possible

 

Galvanized The galvanized coating in these pipes works to prevent rusting. Sizes typically come between one-half to two inches in diameter. 
  • heavy duty
  • no rusting problems in the exterior
  •  can rust inside
  • rust build-up in the interior can affect water flow

 

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