John Guest: Plastic vs. Copper (Part Two)

John Guest: Plastic vs. Copper (Part Two)

JG Speedfit guides us through the benefits of using plastic plumbing products over copper.

Plastic fittings are quickly becoming the norm for modern plumbing methods, offering faster installation times over alternative materials.

Not only do plastic pipes and push-fit fittings deliver enhanced flexibility and improved handling qualities when compared with copper fittings, but they also require no specialist tooling to fit, with fewer joints required.

However, with so many plastic fittings available to plumbers, it can be confusing to understand which type of material is best suited to certain applications. In this article, Nigel Sanger, Technical Manager at JG Speedfit, looks at some of the options available to plumbers.

Changing methods of building construction are driving greater adoption of plastic fittings throughout the plumbing industry, as professionals look for a more flexible and simpler alternative to copper.

While PEX and Polybutylene are perhaps the most commonly specified plastic pipe of choice for many plumbers, there are a number of options when choosing your pipework. Key to specifying the right pipe for the right project, is understanding in detail the range available and what makes each pipe different.

Barrier Pipe

Our barrier pipe is manufactured and kitemarked to British Standard BS7291: Part 3: Class S.

The pipe is made of five layers, the centre of which is a blue coloured oxygen barrier which prevents the ingress of air into the system, reducing the effect of corrosion on metal components, and protecting against build-up of sludge within the pipe over a period of time.

Whilst the contamination caused by the flow of oxygen remains relatively small, by eliminating this risk, plastic barrier pipes prolong the overall life of a heating system.

Red, white, and blue

While PEX pipes come in a selection of coils, ranging from 10mm to 22mm, and in many different lengths, there is also the convenience of straight lengths. JG Speedfit offers straight lengths in 3m and 6m options and this option is often preferred for use in areas where pipework will be exposed such as airing cupboards.

In addition to this, JG 6m PEX pipe also comes in a red or blue version, used where easy identification of hot and cold, or flow and return pipework is important, or just for added convenience.

Layflat – a more flexible alternative

Introduced to the market in 2013, JG Layflat barrier pipe is manufactured using polybutylene to provide even greater flexibility, without compromising on material strength.

Manufactured differently to PEX, by using different equipment, Layflat is specially designed to be “laid flat” once in use.

Layflat pipes are manufactured differently, with little inherent memory, enabling the pipes to remain flat.

The result is a pipe that is ideal for long runs and easy handling, where a softer pipe material is an advantage, for example, when cabling pipes through joists. It also enables plumbers to carry fewer materials on site

It is both the convenience and flexibility of plastic barrier pipes that are fast making them the number one requirement for any plumber’s toolbox.

Furthermore, as JG Speedfit continues to supply the largest range of plastic pipes to the UK plumbing industry, our UK manufacturing base will continue to deliver pipes and fittings that aid first fix plumbing installations, keeping plastic at the forefront of the industry.

For more information on JG Speedfit click here.

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