Replace Polybutylene Plumbing with a PEX Repipe

5 min read

Are you considering replacing your home's polybutylene plumbing system? If so, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of polybutylene vs PEX. PEX pipe has become a popular choice for homeowners due to its cost effectiveness, durability, and easy installation. On the other hand, Polybutylene pipes can be problematic over time due to their tendency towards corrosion or cracking. In this blog post we will discuss the advantages of PEX pipe versus Polybutylene in order to help you make an informed decision when considering a repipe.

Advantages of PEX Pipe

PEX pipe is quickly becoming the preferred choice for homeowners looking to replace their old polybutylene piping. It offers several advantages over its predecessor(s), including durability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

Durability: PEX pipe is much more durable than polybutylene. It can withstand temperatures up to 200°F and pressures of 100 psi or higher without breaking down or bursting like polybutylene can. This makes it an ideal choice for hot water lines as well as outdoor applications where temperature extremes are common. Additionally, PEX pipes are resistant to damage from chlorine and UV rays which can cause premature deterioration in other types of pipes.

Flexibility: One of the biggest advantages of PEX pipe is its flexibility compared to rigid materials such as copper, CPVC, or galvanized piping systems. The flexible nature of PEX allows it to be bent around corners with ease while still maintaining a strong connection at each joint point - something that would not be possible with traditional metal piping systems. This makes installation much easier and less time consuming than with other types of pipes, saving both money and effort in the long run.

Cost-Effectiveness: Another great benefit of using PEX pipe is its cost-effectiveness when compared to other materials such as copper or CPVC piping systems. In addition to being more affordable upfront due to its lightweight construction, it also requires fewer fittings which helps reduce labor costs associated with installation making it a great option for those on a budget who don’t want to sacrifice quality when replacing their plumbing system..

Overall, there are many advantages that come along with choosing PEX over traditional material options when replacing your home's plumbing system. These include increased durability and longevity, improved flow rate and pressure levels, as well as reduced risk factors associated with leaks or bursting caused by poor connections or corrosion buildup in older pipelines.

PEX pipe offers a variety of advantages, such as durability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. However, it is important to understand the disadvantages of polybutylene pipe before making a decision on which type of pipe to use in your home.

Key Takeaway: PEX pipe offers several advantages over polybutylene, including increased durability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Benefits include:

• Improved flow rate and pressure levels

• Fewer fittings required for installation

• Reduced risk of leaks or bursting due to corrosion buildup

Disadvantages of Polybutylene Pipe

Polybutylene pipe is a type of plastic piping that was commonly used in residential plumbing systems from the late 1970s to mid-1990s. Unfortunately, it has since been discovered that this type of piping is prone to leaks and bursting due to its poor flow rate and susceptibility to damage from chlorine and UV rays.

Prone To Leaks And Bursting: Polybutylene pipes are particularly susceptible to leaking or bursting because they can become brittle over time due to their low melting point. This means that when exposed to hot water, the pipe can easily crack or break apart, leading to major flooding issues in your home. In addition, polybutylene pipes have a tendency towards pinhole leaks which can be difficult for homeowners to detect until significant damage has already occurred.

Poor Flow Rate: Another disadvantage of polybutylene pipes is their relatively low flow rate compared with other types of piping materials such as copper or PVC. This means that water pressure may not be sufficient enough for certain fixtures like showers or toilets which could lead to problems with weak flushing power. Additionally, if you have multiple fixtures connected together on one line then the overall flow rate will decrease even further as more water must pass through each fixture before reaching its destination.

Susceptible To Damage From Chlorine And UV Rays: Lastly, polybutylene pipes are also highly susceptible to damage caused by chlorine and ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure over time. Chlorine found in tap water can corrode the inside walls of these pipes causing them to weaken and eventually burst while UV rays from sunlight can cause them to degrade faster than normal resulting in frequent repairs being needed just to keep them functioning properly long term.

Another disadvantage is that when home inspectors are checking homes for sale, purchase or insurances, all insurance companies do not allow Polybutylene to be in their insured homes. This means that in order to get insurance you must repipe, eliminate the Polybutylene or have an exclusion on your policy eliminating any water damage to be covered.

In conclusion, polybutylene pipe was once widely used in residential plumbing systems but has since been deemed unreliable due to its propensity for leaking and bursting, poor flow rate, and susceptibility to corrosion caused by chlorine and UV rays exposure over time. As such, it is an unsuitable choice for any new installations today.

When considering the disadvantages of polybutylene pipe, it is important to consider alternative materials such as PEX pipe for installation and replacement. In order to ensure a successful installation with PEX, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration.

Key Takeaway: Polybutylene pipes are prone to leaks and bursting, have a poor flow rate, and can be damaged by chlorine and UV rays. Therefore, it is an unsuitable choice for any new plumbing installations today.

Installation Considerations for PEX Pipe

Preparation and Planning: Before beginning any installation, it is important to plan out the layout of the pipes. Additionally, it is important to consider any potential obstacles or obstructions that may interfere with the installation process. This is why it is recommended to have a professional like Repipe Experts install your piping system.

Connecting the Pipes: PEX-A is assembled using cold expansion meaning it is expanded to allow the fitting to be inserted. PEX-B are often connected together by pushing them into one another until they fit snugly and then using a clamping ring to hold it in place. It’s important to make sure that there are no leaks at any connection points before moving on to testing the system.

After all connections have been made, air testing ensures proper installation of your PEX pipe system. If everything looks good then you can move forward with finishing touches such as insulation and covering exposed piping with protective sleeves if necessary before putting your new plumbing system into use.

Installing PEX pipe is a relatively straightforward process, but it's important to have a professional take the necessary precautions. The advantages of using PEX over copper pipe make it an attractive option for homeowners and realtors alike, so let's look at those now.

Benefits of Replacing Polybutylene with PEX Pipe

Replacing polybutylene with PEX pipe offers homeowners a variety of benefits. The superior construction materials used in PEX pipes provide increased durability and longevity of the system, improved flow rate and pressure levels, as well as reduced risk of leaks, bursting or other damage.

The first benefit is increased durability and longevity of the system. Unlike polybutylene pipes which are prone to leaking and bursting due to their brittle nature, PEX pipes are made from cross-linked polyethylene that is highly resistant to corrosion, temperature fluctuations, UV rays, chlorine exposure and other environmental factors that can cause damage over time. This makes them much more durable than traditional copper or PVC piping systems with a lifespan up to 50 years when properly installed – significantly longer than most other types of plumbing systems on the market today.

The second benefit is improved flow rate and pressure levels due to their flexible design which allows for easier installation around corners or tight spaces without having to make additional cuts or connections along the way. This also reduces potential water loss during installation since there are fewer joints required compared to rigid piping systems like copper or CPVC pipes which require multiple fittings at each turn in order to maintain proper water flow throughout the entire system.

Key Takeaway: PEX pipes offer increased durability and longevity, improved flow rate and pressure levels, as well as reduced risk of leaks compared to polybutylene. Benefits include:

• Increased durability & lifespan up to 50 years

• Improved flow rate & pressure levels

• Reduced risk of leaks & bursting


Is PEX better than polybutylene?

Yes, PEX is better than polybutylene. PEX piping offers superior durability and flexibility compared to polybutylene, making it a more reliable option for homeowners. It also has a longer lifespan and can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down or corroding. Additionally, PEX is easier to install than polybutylene due to its flexible nature, which makes it an ideal choice for repiping projects. Ultimately, the decision between the two materials comes down to cost versus performance; however, when considering long-term reliability and overall value for money, PEX clearly stands out as the superior choice.

How can you tell PEX from polybutylene?

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) and PB (polybutylene) are two different types of plastic piping used in residential plumbing systems. PEX is a flexible tubing made from high-density cross-linked polyethylene, while PB is a rigid pipe made from medium to high density polyethylene resin.

The easiest way to tell the difference between PEX and PB pipes is by looking at their color. PEX pipes are usually red, blue or white, while PB pipes are gray in color. Additionally, PEX has an "S" shape embossed on its surface whereas PB has markings of ASTM 03309 PB2110 on it. Finally, you can also feel the difference between the two materials; PEX will be softer than PB when touched due to its flexibility.

Are PEX and polybutylene fittings the same?

No, PEX and polybutylene fittings are not the same. PEX is a type of plastic tubing that has been used in plumbing for decades. It is strong, flexible, and resistant to corrosion. Polybutylene fittings are made from a different material than PEX and have been known to fail over time due to their susceptibility to chlorine-based cleaners. Therefore, it is important for homeowners to use the correct fitting when replacing pipes or making repairs in order to ensure long-term reliability of their plumbing system.

Why is polybutylene no longer used in plumbing?

Polybutylene is no longer used in plumbing due to its tendency to fail. This material was commonly used in the 1970s and 1980s, but it has since been replaced with more reliable materials such as copper or PEX piping. Polybutylene pipes are prone to cracking, splitting, leaking and bursting which can cause extensive damage to a home's plumbing system. Additionally, polybutylene is not compatible with many modern water treatment systems like chlorine-based disinfectants which can cause further damage if left untreated. For these reasons, polybutylene is no longer used in plumbing and should be replaced with more reliable materials.


In conclusion, when it comes to polybutylene vs PEX pipe, there is no doubt that PEX pipe offers many advantages over its predecessor. Not only does it provide better durability and longevity, but it can be installed more easily. Replacing an old polybutylene system with a new PEX system can offer homeowners peace of mind knowing they have chosen one of the best options for their home's plumbing needs.

Are you dealing with polybutylene piping in your home? Repipe Experts are the repipe specialists when it comes to replacing these outdated systems. With years of experience and expertise, our team can help get your plumbing system up-to-date quickly and efficiently. Don't wait - contact us today for a free consultation and start enjoying the benefits of modernized pipes!

Schedule your FREE Consultation

Repipe Experts can help assess what needs replacing, provide quality materials, and complete your project in a timely manner with minimal disruption.

White Repipe Experts truck parked in front of a house for a whole house repipe with PEX

Related Frequently Asked Questions

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What is PEX?

Homeowners seeking to replace their plumbing system should look no further than PEX piping. This resilient material is crafted from cross-linked polyethylene and can withstand corrosion, rusting, freezing temperatures – all of which make it a more reliable choice for repiping compared to copper, galvanized pipes, CPVC and Polybutylene. With its long lifespan and unrivaled durability, homeowners will rest easy knowing that PEX has them covered!

Learn more: PEX and PEX Repipe

What brand(s) of PEX Piping does Repipe Experts use?

Repipe Experts use PEX-A and PEX-B pipe manufactured in the USA. Our PEX pipe is manufactured using a quality management system which has been certified to the latest version of ISO 9001.

How much does it cost to repipe with PEX?

The cost of repiping with PEX will depend on the size and complexity of the job. Generally, it can range from a per “drop” price or a lump sum. A “drop” is a hot or cold line that feeds a fixture such as a sink or toilet. However, additional costs may be incurred if there are any complications such as accessing difficult areas, wall patching or replacing existing plumbing fixtures. Additionally, labor costs should also be taken into consideration when calculating the total cost of a repipe project. All in all, it is best to consult a qualified and licensed professional who can provide an accurate estimate based on your specific needs and requirements.

Is a Whole House Repipe worth it?

YES!, repiping a house is worth it. It can help improve the quality of your home’s plumbing system and increase its longevity. Repiping can also improve water pressure and flow issues, prevent leaks and flooding, and eliminate costly repairs in the future. Additionally, repiping may add value to your home if you are looking to sell or rent it out in the future. Overall, investing in repiping now will save you money and headaches down the road.

Why should I work with Repipe Experts?

Working with the professionals at Repipe Experts, they offer several advantages over DIY solutions or hiring unlicensed contractors. Guaranteed workmanship and quality results are among the most important benefits of working with Repipe Experts. Our professional technicians have the experience and expertise to ensure that all projects are completed correctly, safely, and in accordance with industry standards. Additionally, we use only high-quality PEX materials and equipment to guarantee superior results that will last for years to come.

Why is PEX replacing my Polybutylene?

Research suggests that polybutylene pipes are too fragile to withstand common disinfectants found in the public water supply and will quickly become brittle and crack from the inside out. Over time, once enough mini fractures have formed in the pipe, it will wear out completely, rupture, causing a leak or flooding of a home. This is why no insurance carriers will no longer cover a home with Polybutylene piping. Homes can no longer be sold in many areas without removing the polybutylene and repiping the homes water supply making it a requirement to repipe a home.

Learn more: Replace Polybutylene with a PEX Repipe

Learn more: It's Time to Replace Your Polybutylene