Pros And Cons Of Different Drain Line Piping

Choosing the right plumbing for your home depends on the types of pipes being replaced. Pipes can generally be divided into two categories: supply or drain. Supply lines are what carries the water around your home. Drain lines carry used water and waste out of your home and to the proper disposal sites. When choosing drain line replacements, you want to go with a material that is durable with a long lifespan so that you don't have to worry about your drains failing in the near future.

What are some of the best plumbing materials for drain lines? The answer depends on what you have now and what you can afford to install as replacement.

Cast Iron

Cast iron pipes aren't used anymore so this isn't an option for a new installation. But if you have existing pipework that's cast iron, you can likely leave the pipes as they are until you are better able to fully replace the plumbing.

Cast iron can last up to 100 years thanks to the durable material. Unfortunately, this type of pipe has been used for so long that your pipes might still be near the end of their lives. If you don't have any records showing when the cast iron was installed, call in a plumber, like the ones at Midwestern Plumbing Service, for an inspection. If the pipes don't have any damage or corroded areas, you are likely safe to leave the cast iron in place until a more convenient time.


Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, piping is a light-colored plastic plumbing material that has an indefinite lifespan. PVC is resistant to damage and corrosion from chemicals and minerals in the pipes.

For drain pipes, you want plumbing that bears the stamp Schedule PVC 40. This label shows that the piping is strong enough to safely act as a drain line and carry both hot and cold water. Always check with a local plumber to find out about any additional plumbing codes in your area that might apply to PVC. Some areas don't allow PVC for advanced waste applications due to the installation nature.

PVC segments are attached by inserting one segment end into another segment end and then gluing the segments together. This fitting method is fairly stable but can come lose if not installed properly. So it's vital you call in professional assistance if you opt for PVC piping.


Copper lines can last well over 50 years due to being corrosion resistant. While copper tends to cost more than PVC and some other plumbing materials, the reliability and sturdy fittings of the plumbing keep copper among the most popular options.

For a drain line, you want rigid copper piping that meets local codes for waste lines. Call in a plumber for the installation, which involves specialized cutting and soldering to attach the pipe segments with fittings that compress the ends together.