The Content Of The Article:

If it remains unavoidable in sanitary installations for hot and cold water supplies as well as for gas networks, copper is competing with two synthetic materials: PER and multilayer. Comparative in 6 points.

Advantages and disadvantages of plumbing materials: copper, PER, multilayer

Copper, PER and multilayer: their strengths and their faults

Copper, PER and multilayer: their strengths and their faults

PER, copper or multilayer, these three materials allow the use of mechanical connections and perform a complete installation without welding. They are therefore easy to implement, but each has advantages and disadvantages.

The three types of feed tubes

The type of installation (apparent installation, recessed installation, etc.) determines the choice of one of these three materials...

CopperPERmultilayer
Weight-++
Easy installation+ -++
Malleability+-+
Stability to expansion+-+
Risk of scaling-++
Anti-oxygen barrier--+
Soundproofing-++
Global cost-++
Hydrocached installation-++
Laying in apparent+-+
UV insensitivity+-+
Usable for gas+--

1 The implementation of different water supply materials

Copper and multilayer offer very similar characteristics.
Both are packaged as a recessed ring or rigid bar for exposed installation. During bending, they retain the shape given, unlike PER (reticulated polyethylene), which itself immediately resumes its shape. To circulate it along a specific path, it is necessary to use guides (exit of screed, insulating slab with stud...).
The operation is not complicated but it is wasting time on a large site.

2 The rate of deformation

PER is undoubtedly the most sensitive to dilatation. A weak point to consider at the facility.
Indeed, a tube 5 m long can lengthen by 5 cm when hot water circulates. In comparison, a copper tube will take only 4 mm and a multilayer tube a little more than 6 mm. For this reason, the PE tube must imperatively be sheathed when it is embedded in the ground.
To dampen the expansion, it is also advisable to lengthen the distance between two points by creating a curve.
The risk of a completely straight pose is that the dilation tube pulls on the fitting to make it leak.

3 The hydro-cabled distribution

The PER and the multilayer are ideal to realize a hydrocable installation.
The principle is to distribute sanitary appliances in one room from two collectors: one for hot water and another for cold water.
Each manifold is fed by a tube coming from the water supply of the house (for cold water) and from the domestic water heater - balloon or water heater.
This is the type of installation requiring the most linear tubes, but the least connections: it is therefore the fastest to implement.

4 The pose in apparent

Sold in rigid bars, copper and multilayer can appear in apparent.
It is enough to cut the bars and to assemble them by means of mechanical connections (or possibly to weld, for the copper). They are then attached to the walls by necklaces. The PER, however, should in no case be laid in apparent because it is sensitive to UV.
The tubes must imperatively be recessed or concealed behind a doubling or construction void.
During the construction, the PER pipes must be stored away from the sun.

5 The most suitable for beginners

The multilayer combines the advantages of copper and PER.
Limited equipment is sufficient to complete a complete installation, since some more expensive tools such as crimping tool or bender are rented.
In addition, no particular skill is required, the risk of error is minimized, provided to follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter...

6 The cost

The PER is the least expensive material: a crown of 10 m tube 16 mm diameter costs about 10 € DIY superstore. It takes about 20 € for the multilayer and not less than 50 € for copper. The price of the fittings is substantially the same from one material to another.

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Video Instruction: How to Choose Water Supply Piping - This Old House