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Get a grip on your Pipes – Drainage Pipe Materials

Get a grip on your Pipes – Drainage Pipe Materials

Hidden away beneath gardens or driveways, it can be easy for homeowners to overlook the importance of their drainage system. In actual fact, these pipes ensure all wastewater is flushed away from the property into the nearby sewers to prevent the risk of leaks and flooding, so their functionality is indispensable.

That said, nothing lasts forever, so you should be prepared to replace your current pipes if they become damaged or old. Over time, pipes can corrode, rust or deteriorate, which can render them useless.

As such, this article will discuss the different types of pipework materials and the pros and cons of each, so you can learn more about the pipes in your home, and when they might need replacing.

Stacked up clay pipes for drainage

Most Common Materials

Depending on the purpose of the drainage pipe, there is a comprehensive range of materials available. These are:

  • Steel
  • Copper
  • Plastic
  • Cast iron
  • Clay

Most modern pipes are typically made from copper or plastic, so if your home has old iron or lead pipes, now’s the time to have them replaced.



Widely used for domestic waste pipes, most modern homes have plastic pipework. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes have thicker walls to withstand the pressure, proving it to be a reliable, durable solution.

In terms of the installation, plastic pipes can be moulded into the required shape so the functionality of the system is not compromised. That said, plastic pipes are unable to withstand high temperatures, as the heat can cause the strength of the pipes to reduce.



Along with plastic, clay is one of the most popular materials for pipes in UK homes. Utilised for their durable, robust qualities, clay pipes can retain their high structural strength for decades, proving they can stand the test of time.

Whilst clay pipes can withstand pressure from the weight of the soil surrounding it, the clay itself is a heavy material compared with alternatives which can make it more difficult to handle.



Widely used for pipework in the latter half of the 20th century, benefits of copper include:

  • Durable
  • Rust and corrosion resistant
  • Relatively non-toxic
  • Can withstand high pressure and heat without losing strength or shape

However, it’s worth noting that unlike iron or plastic, copper can burst if it freezes over so it must be well insulated.


Cast Iron

Utilised for its robust qualities, cast iron was most commonly used for pipework before 1960. Due to its susceptibility to rust, cast iron has since been replaced by modern materials, such as plastic.

If your home features cast iron pipes, they must be suitably lined to prevent corrosion and will require regular relining as part of scheduled maintenance.


Express Clear

Regular maintenance on your pipes will identify any problems before they escalate, ensuring any damaged or old drain pipes are quickly replaced to avoid leaks or flooding. From minor damage to collapsed drains, here at Express Clear, we offer a comprehensive repairs service in which we can identify the root cause of the problem and fix it as quickly as possible.

To find out more about any of our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team.


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