ABS or PVC shower drain? which is better?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by roygbiv, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. roygbiv

    roygbiv New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    I need to convert my cast iron shower drain (meaning just the p-trap & drain, line remains cast iron) to either ABS or PVC for a new shower system I am putting in. This is for a shower stall that will be completely tiled - ceiling, 3 walls, floor - if that makes any difference. I realize this is probably a novice question. But, since I have the choice of either ABS or PVC, which is better? Thanks.
  2. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Both OK

    Most of us would probably prefer PVC but both are completely satisfactory for this type of installation.
  3. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    New York
    Shower Liner

    Aside from the drain line, what type of shower liner, (pan) will you be installing?
    [​IMG]
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    PVC vs ABS seems to be a regional choice. For example, here in San Diego, ABS is virtually in universal use; therefore PVC fittings in drainage configuration are not readily available.

    ABS pipe is not schedule 40, and therefor has no pressure rating and less mechanical strength, but is this really an issue? ABS because it is foam-core, not solid, weighs less and is easier to lug around.

    Maybe some plumbers who have used both can weigh in with their preferences.
  5. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    KS is PVC

    Thank you again jimbo for educating me. In Kansas we are almost all PVC and ABS fittings cost almost three times as much. My Dad was ABS because it looks a hell of a lot better than white pipe and purple streaks.
    Jimbo has California always been ABS? We were until PVC became cheaper a decade ago. We feel PVC is a tougher pipe than ABS. Do you paint the vents on the roof?
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    San Diego county went straight from cast iron to ABS (60's?.. a little before my time). I have never seen a PVC drain system. Now, I cannot speak for north of here ( LA County area, or LaLa land as we say) They do tend to march to a different drummer. I think they were still doing cast iron water pipes into the sixties; San Diego went copper in 1950 or so in a big way. I can tell this from the older bulidings I have worked on. I am familiar with several large appartment complexes , all built around 1951: all cast iron and copper. Then there is Northern California; we don't even talk about those people!
  7. roygbiv

    roygbiv New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    thanks all!

    I'm in No Cal and am 99% sure we are going with the Schluter Kerdi shower system (walls, tray, drain). Their drains can be ordered for either PVC or ABS. The drain in our other bathroom is ABS. So it sounds like either is fine and it's a personal choice.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,032
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Jimbo

    PVC DWV pipe is not schedule 40 either.
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks,hj ... I did not know that.
  10. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Yes - Sch 40 PVC DWV - Yes

    This is the second time I have read the statement that PVC DWV is not available in Sch 40. That's all I use. I checked with my supply house and at the Charlotte site and there is SCH 40 PVC DWV. Solid too not foam-core.
    I now replicate the markings of this 8 foot piece of pipe before me,
    "0704303B5BX 2" Cresline PVC DWV / nsf-dwv / ASTM D 2665 SCH 40 280 PSI Pr Water at 73 degrees F PVC 1120 / nsf-pw/ ASTM D 1785 PPFA".
    I'm now going to lite a cigar.
  11. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    $3.00 Cigar

    I've only let myself lite a $3.00 cigar because I remembered I started this thread out projecting, that most of us would prefer PVC when that is not true. I should not speak for others when I barely know myself.
  12. roygbiv

    roygbiv New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    thanks for the chuckle

    Lonny - Enjoy another cigar. Thanks for the help. :)
  13. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Most drains in Canada come in ABS (black) Some come in White PVC. Not sure which is better because it depends on the use and the type of drain line. In private homes you will most times see black drain pipe (ABS) form most applications.

    In multi family homes like condos and town homes they require cast iron or copper pipes - on these jobs we use a Cast Iron rough in called a Baby Blue by watts.

    One of the best drains I know of is made of PVC and is white. It's made by ACO for their linear shower drains primary drain connection to the waterproofing system.

    Looks like this.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I like that the bolts are Stainless steel. I just found a Sioux Chief drain rusting in my side yard. Just the bolts. It uses a grey PVC material for it's construction.

    I help out a lot with people in California looking for the right drain choice. ACO makes a cast iron drain for them too and for anyone needing their drain made from a non combustable material.

    Looks like this

    [​IMG]


    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
  14. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    The most frequent question I get asked from people ordering an Aco drain kit from me is

    "How do I connect the ACO PVC drain to an ABS line?"

    This is how... With a transition glue.

    [​IMG]
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    Humm, now he's responding to 10-year old posts...the man knows how to get his advertising out there!

    He complains about me, but I'm not selling anything.
  16. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    The best "Point Drain" I recommend to my clients locally is made by a California Company called California Faucets. Their "Style Drain" is made from powder coated cast iron and is the best of the best I have found.

    [​IMG]

    The one I installed looked like this...

    [​IMG]

    I tweaked the install a little....
  17. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    In this picture you can see a Watts Baby Blue under flood test with a NobleSeal TS waterproofing. Later I installed a linear drain over this drain location.

    The top collar on the Baby Blue is Grey PVC. The base is cast iron. This job in Vancouver and park of a multi family development....

    [​IMG]



    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
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