Inground Sprinkler Advice Needed

I want to replace my 40 year old sprinkler system.
After speaking to different sprinkler people, I'm wondering if I should go with a copper or threaded PVC manifold.
I've heard the argument that copper is better because it won't crack and leak like PVC can over time.
I've also heard the argument that threaded PVC is better because it's cheaper to install initially and to repair because you just unscrew the unions and replace the section that broke. With copper, sweating is needed to replace the broken section of copper.
I plan to winterize every year, so having that in mind, is copper really so much better? I got an estimate from someone who did good work for a neighbor, who came in $650 less (for PVC schedule 80 threaded) than the cheapest quote I got for a copper manifold.
The more expensive copper estimate was also more because he proposed a more elaborate system that I don't think I really need (more fixed heads vs. fewer rotary heads).
Any thoughts or experience with this? Also, it seems like glued PVC should ALWAYS be avoided. Is that true?
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Why would you want to avoid glued PVC? It's worked fine for me for the last 20 years. The only reason I can think of is sun exposure. Most of the system is buried.
Bob
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Glued PVC is just fine. It will make you a great system. I'm not sure why you would avoid it. Copper is excellent, but hard to repair and damn expensive. Have you bought any copper lately? Uh-huh. Go with PVC or even Poly. My system is poly and the advantage to it (other than easy repairs) is it installs easy with a trenchless machine. At any rate, Sch. 80. PVC will make you a bulletproof system.
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With glued PVC, how would you repair a section of manifold if you need to? With a threaded PVC manifold, you'd just unscrew the sections you need and replace.
One proponent of copper made the argument against threaded PVC, that you'd need to take apart the entire manifold to get pieces out. But I guess that would depend on how the manifold is built - if it's build with extra sections between the valves to give more room to work with later. Right?
Also, they'd use poly for the actual lines. My original question of copper vs. PVC only applies to the manifold.
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Like you said, it depends in how the manifold was built. Building the manifold with some extra space might be a good idea. Another thing to consider is may never need to take the manifold apart. Most valves can be repaired in place, meaning you would never have to remove the body, just replace the parts inside it. Honestly, I can't see any advantage in building it from copper.
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On Jul 19, 9:07 am, snipped-for-privacy@programmer.net wrote:

I've installed glued PVC & copper manifolds...............never had to repair ANY manifolds
If you're worried about longevity use the sunlight resistant stuff OR blow the budget & go with copper.
I have a SCH 40 white PVC manifold in service on the west facing side of a SoCal home...no problems yet.
Am I happy that the contractor used non-sunlight resistant PVC? No, but no problems (yet) after 27 years How I botthered to replace it? No, its still working.
In the manifold section of the sprinkler system, the weak links are the valves & valve actuators.
I would suggest saving money by going with PVC (glued) & spending extra $'s to use Champion red brass valves (with unions on the output side) & with full size (classic) brass electric actuators.
Plastic valve bodies & plastic actuators just aren't as good as the red brass ones & can be a source of trouble. Spend the bucks & effort where they'll do you the most good.
The red brass valve bodies will last 30 to 50 years, the actuators maybe 10 to 15. The unions will allow removal & replacement of the valve bodies (if ever necessary). Just make sure your manifold uprights are spaced such that individual valves can be un-screwed with the adjacent valves still in place.
A well built manifold (copper or glued PVC) should serve for MANY years. Even my "not so great" contractor built manifold is still doing fine......approaching 30 years. (btw no unions on the output side, what a cheap bastard!)
cheers Bob
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You can't.

Right.
You won't see a lot of issues with a PVC manifold, glued or threaded. The issue is more about getting the valves off.

Right. As long as you can swing the valve, you can dismantle the manifold without even having to pull the valves off. With copper and plastic valves, you'd have to disassemble much of it so you don't destroy the valves with the torch from conducted heat.
I think I built mine with 2" nipples between each T. White PVC elbows and Ts', grey PVC nipples.
It's also more resistant to freezing than copper. Which might be useful if not blown completely.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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snipped-for-privacy@programmer.net wrote:

Glued PVC is all that I have seen here in FL. Copper? Yikes...someone will come around, dig it up and sell it :o)
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Forget the copper. Just be sure to put a low point drain on it, or a way to purge with air when you shut it down for the season.
Steve
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