Any of you guys going with PEX yet?
My suppliers seem to have different vendors of PEX.
My first PEX project looks like I will use RTI tubing with the ratchet
crimper which uses the stainless steel clamps.
Any tips we can share as in the next two weeks I will share with you
guys my experience with this stuff.
I'm going with RTI so I don't have to buy 2 different crimping tools.
I have both the Vangard/Zurn style crimping tools and the Oetiker clamp
(RTI) tool. Maybe because I've used the crimp ring system more I feel it's
faster for me. The only crimpers I will use are the Compact angle head
That said, I find a lot to like about the RTI system. As you say, you have
less investment in tools. Also, the method seems pretty fast once you get
the hang of it. If I had first picked up the stainless clamp system I
would probably be using it exclusively today.
I prefer to run everything the same way as copper: that is, with reducing
tees. I don't like the manifolds where you come out with separate 1/2"
runs from a central block. I think it looks bad and I don't think it saves
that much time.
The same pipe and fittings will work for both RTI and Vanguard/Zurn.
Wirsbo is the oddball system. Their tools are slow and very expensive, and
their pipe and fittings won't interchange with the others.
After using nothing with copper for many years, I was skeptical about PEX
when I first saw it. But after a few months I was a die hard PEX fan.
The stuff is fast, clean, won't corrode like copper, won't split when
freezing, won't sweat in the summer like copper. Did I mention fast?
Where you definitely need copper is on your tub/shower valves and tub spout
stub outs. The hot and cold supplies I make with copper for about a foot
or so coming out of the valve. My tub stubs are copper too. Now I have
something to strap to that will hold the valve solid. The shower head drop
you can run with PEX but be sure to get the three hole drop ear ell so the
shower head will be secured solidly. I simply cannot abide a shower valve,
tub spout, or shower head that is not as solid as the wall.
On 10/28 "Mark Monson" m email@example.com write in part:
Hmmmmm...... all the same things they said to sell Polybutylene. And don't
believe the crap the manufacturers tell you about it being installer error. I
was a court appointed PB expert so I got to see a lot of internal documents.
They knew of the failures and kept on lying about it.
I'll take copper over a plastic potable water system that relys on crimp joints
any day of the week.
How do these crimp joints work? I've never seen them over here. (UK).
Here we use pushfit and compression joints. The compression joints work by
inserting a cheap metal stiffener in the end and using standard copper/brass
The push fits consist of a synthetic rubber O-ring for the seal (guaranteed
for 50 years...) and a grab ring with teeth. When you insert the pipe, these
teeth grab it and prevent withdrawal. Some types you can disassemble,
although retrieving the grab ring is a pain and it is better to buy new
ones. The push fits couplings work on copper and plastic pipe.
They use a annealed brass ring that slips over the pipe which is pushed over
the insert fitting. The crimping tool compresses the annealed ring so that
it clamps down on the PEX pipe and makes a seal to the insert fitting.
Do a Google search for Zurn or Vangard and their sites will show the whole
It is amazing how these things are done so completely differently across
different continents, really. I assume you can't use these crimp fittings on
copper? Presumably you use compression couplers to go from copper to
For any interested US people with idle time on their hands, a typical UK
system is described on:
There are many others, like there seem to be of the US crimp system. (i.e.
Marley Equator, Speedfit, Tectite, Polyplumb etc.)
To be fair on them, because the nationally available beers are so shite,
many pubs over there brew their own, which can actually be very good. It is
not at all difficult to find such pubs. And I'd rather drink Bud than
Fosters. (But then, I'd rather drink cat's vomit, too).
In Europe, plastic has been used for decades. It is almost universally used
on new build properties now. We tend to use pushfit connectors (with
integral synthetic O-rings) rather than those stainless steel clamps. Some
systems even have 50 year guarantees.
It's great for running lengths into joists, as you can just cable it through
as if it was a big electrical cable. It doesn't burst when it freezes. It
looks pretty ugly, though. If you are doing any work on display, either use
copper for that, or at least use straight lengths instead of coils. The
coiled stuff never really goes very straight, even when clipped.
Quick poll (if no one minds): where is everyone that responds to this
question located? I see one guy from UK, how 'bout the rest? Just curious
what the rest of the world's doing.... I live in Alberta, Canada. Out here,
we use Pex (manufactured by Wirsbo or Plasco) almost exclusively in the
residential market. Just use a little bit of copper around the water heater.
Most plumbers use the "home run" system of installing the piping, or if the
distances from the mechanical room to the bathroom group are long, will
utilize remote headers supplied by a 3/4" feed.
Personally, I think Pex is the neatest thing since sliced bread. I prefer
Wirsbo's method of jointing - not because its faster, but it seems to be
more durable. Also, when I buy one tool, I get interchangeable heads for 3
pipe sizes (1/2, 3/4 and 1"). Also, I prefer the coiled pipe. There's less
waste, and looks isn't an issue, as usually the pipe is drilled through the
floor joists anyway. It winds up looking good (assuming you can drill holes
in a straight line).
If you're trying to decide which brand of pex to use, check with your
favorite (and I use the term "favorite" loosely here) plumbing wholesaler,
and see what they're stocking, as availability will be the determining
I recently repiped a water system in a crawlspace in an existing seasonal
house here in NJ with PEX and it worked fine. I had previously tried a few
small projects first just to "test the waters" (no pun intended) before
jumping into a big project with it. It saved quite a bit of time. Everything
is exposed, so if a problem develops it will be seen and not cause any
damage. I'm still a bit hesitant about covering it up til it stands the test
of time. So this was a bit of an experiment.
FYI, I used the copper crimp ring type as I already had a crimping tool for
polybutylene, which is OK to use with PEX.
Oh, I agree about Bud...it's the worst beer of all time. Why drink that crap
when for about the same price you can have Yuengling Lager or Black & Tan?
One bit of advice when installing pex piping make sure the client never
get/or hasn't got rodents!!!!
Recently got called out to a recently renovated dwelling and there was no
expense spared on this renovation solid timber flooring through out the
ground floor but one small opening in the wall to the outside was enough to
cause disaster !!! every length of pex 3/4" pex (very little 1/2" pex) was
eaten 1st floor and ground floor and had to be replaced or a straight
compresstion fitting used, all the floors had to be taken up never mind the
water damage!!! ceilings had to be taken down basically back to square one
for the client.
Ireland be warned
I see that most of you have not really used PEX.
PEX SUCKS !!!!
First of all it does freeze and burst. Even in a slab it will burst. I
have seen it twice.
It is a pain in the ass to work with, especially if you are alone.
It looks like SHIT.
Leaks are next to impossible to find with air test.
Tools are rip-off!!
Tools don't fit in small spaces
Make room in the van/shop for more fittings
Sunlight destroys it.
You can't use it easily when it gets real cold
It is not as fast as people claim unless you do a lousy job.
Seperate runs needed for every supply unless you want to hide fittings in
wirsbo memory is as good as mine.
That is just a few reasons id go on but i gotta run
"I'm not going to waste my money on a hammer drill. My star drill and
hammer work just fine."
"I've gotten along fine without a Saws-All for twenty years."
"Cast Iron drain pipe is the only way to go. That new PVC pipe is junk."
"I was taught to drill my holes with a brace and bit. I'm not going to buy
an electric drill."
"You can't go wrong with lead pipe. You won't catch me using that new
copper pipe with the solder joints."
"I've always used copper and I'm happy with it. I'll never switch to PEX."
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