Pipes simply don’t last forever. Some plumbing materials may endure longer than others and be less prone to leak than polybutylene pipes. Learn about the lifespan of common pipe materials to plan plumbing maintenance for a commercial building.

Metallic Pipes

Metallic pipes were more popular in the past. These materials are durable, but typically cost much more than plastic alternatives. All of the following types of metal are used in plumbing:

Brass, Copper, & Galvanized steel

Brass pipes are made of an alloy of copper and zinc and can last anywhere from 40 years to over 70 years. Older brass pipes may leach lead into the water. Copper pipes tend to last longer than 50 years and are less likely to corrode unless improperly connected to pipes made of other metals. Galvanized steel pipes have an average lifespan of 20 to 50 years. Corrosion in metal pipes will eventually lead to pipe breaks and water damage.

damaged plumbing pipes

Damaged plumbing pipes in a commercial building

Plastic Pipes

Plastic pipes have been in use since the mid-twentieth century. The pipes in a commercial building may be made of any of these materials:

  • Chlorinated polyvinylchloride
  • Polyethylene
  • Unplasticized polyvinylchloride

CPVC, PE, and uPVC pipes have an average lifespan of more than 50 years. Polybutylene pipes are prone to degrade within just 10 to 15 years and should be replaced.

Plumbing Maintenance

Commercial property owners should schedule regular inspections of a plumbing system. Preventative checks can identify issues that could lead to water damage down the line. Although replacing plumbing can be costly, it may be necessary for corroding metal or degrading plastic pipes.

The owner or manager of a commercial property or rental should be aware of pipe materials and the age of every part of a plumbing system. Consult with a plumber about corroded metal pipes, polybutylene pipes, or other pipes nearing the end of the average lifespan at a commercial building Orange County, CA.