Copper Bond Epoxy - Opinions?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by MG, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. MG

    MG New Member

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    Illinois - Near St. Louis
    I am close to finishing our bathroom remodel and need to install new shutoffs for the hot / cold water at the sink. I have room to sweat fittings on here but I've been seeing / reading some about epoxy for copper. Anyone use this? Its supposed to be good under pressure and ok for potable water.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2014
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    Solder or compression...forget the epoxy. If you ever need to replace it, you're stuck with epoxy, and you'll have to cut it off. Then, you probably will need to add some on, tearing the wall up so you put the joint far enough back so there is room to put a new one on...
  3. MG

    MG New Member

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    Illinois - Near St. Louis
    Good points. I do recall from my experience in a paint manufacturers lab that epoxies melt when heated - so removing them might not be too bad.

    I'll probably go with sweat fittings - they are currently just capped.
  4. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    The pro's on this site seem to prefer compression connections at the shut-off valve. Sweating a connection here can a) burn the wall b) melt the valve works c) cause the eschutcheon to turn blue. (Not being a pro, I've done all of these things.)
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,790
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Compression is the way to go if you are installing shutoffs for the lav faucet.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2005
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    I would never put a compression fitting in an enclosed space, nor use the epoxy material to join the copper.
  7. dx

    dx General Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Michigan
    As a builder, I prohibit my plumbers from using compression fittings. In my own previous house, I had a compression fitting at the kitchen sink that was leak-free for 5 years. Then it let go while I was out of town. I came home to a flooded house. I also agree with the postings recommending against sweat or epoxy.
    What I do like is sweat-on threaded nipples. I put the escutcheons on, then sweat the nipple on using a flame blanket against the wall. Then cap it with a regular threaded cap. After paint, flooring, fixtures, etc. are in, simply srew in the shut-off valves. This method is simple, the valves can be easily serviced and there is no possibility of catastrophic failure.
    I use the same procedure with pvc/cpvc supply lines. I actually prefer plastic to copper, but that is a whole different debate.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,790
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I've been a plumber for over thirty years.

    You may have had one bad experience with an angle stop shutoff, but that's all it is.

    I haven't seen problems with compression stops under a sink.
    What can be bad, is the one-piece angle stop with the corrugated copper supply attached to the stop. The tubing can crack.
    The part that can leak, is not the compression part, it's the tubing.
    Even the threaded stops are going to use a compression fitting to supply the lav or kitchen faucet.

    I do service work all the time, I wouldn't recommend anyone soldering near a wall like you suggest. You may wind up burning down your house.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  9. dx

    dx General Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Michigan
    I beg to differ, with all due respect for your long experience. A compression connection can fail catastrophically if installed improperly. If overtightened, the pipe can be crimped beyond use and will need to be cut short. At the wall, you cannot shorten it without tearing up the wall. It is also non-replaceable for the same reason. A threaded connection is also easier for a DIY (i.e. no experience): use tape, tighten it by hand as hard as you can, pressurize, then tighten with wrench if necessary until it stops leaking.
    Around here, in most municipalities, compression will not pass inspection in new construction or remodeling. It is only allowed for repairs in inaccessible spaces, etc.
    To properly sweat at the wall, use a piece of galvanized sheet against the wall, with a hole in it just big enough for the nipple. Then put a fire blanket on top of the galvanized sheet (also with a hole in it). Then careful with the torch.
    Yes, you can scorch the drywall if not careful. But plaster can be fixed. I cannot tell you how many new houses I see with big burns in the floor joists from sloppy soldering by professional plumbers. That is structural damage and much harder to fix.
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,790
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Boy, that's a lot of ifs.

    I replace compression stops all the time, using a "sleeve puller"
    I didn't realize it was that big deal for some people.

    I don't know where you are from, but in the rest of the US, we use code approved fittings and faucets. Compression stops fit in that catogory.
    Threaded fittings are okay too.

    Plumbers know how to install them, and things work fine.

    Maybe your plumbers aren't as good as the ones here.
    It's not rocket science.
  11. dx

    dx General Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Michigan
    Terry,
    You are absolutely right. But most DIYers have never heard of a sleeve puller. I assume the poster is not a plumber, but a homeowner with limited experience. Around here (Michigan), homeowners are allowed to do anything, including building an entire house, without being licensed in any trade, as long as they perform the work themselves. I see no problem with that (more work for us fixing stuff), but we do see some scary stuff. The savvier DIYers realize their limitations and come to forums such as this to ask for advice. I applaud that.
  12. Compression fittings

    this is sort of a joke isnt it???


    - even with the sweat or threaded angle stops

    that are commonly installed under every sink,

    They still come usually with a 3/8 compression ferrul and
    nut that you have to tie on to the faucet.....very very common.

    Actually , you have not avoided a compression
    fitting, youi look at one and use one every time you install
    a sink. It just isnt a 100% compression fitting.

    and how come it is ok on the 3/8 side of the stop and not on
    the 1/2 side of the fitting????


    I would like to know in what part of the
    counrty some idiot -fool plumbing inspectors outlawed this.

    and how do they justfy outlawing the comperssion on only the inlet to the
    stop and not the outlet from the valve too.....




    .
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  13. I have been using compression straights and angles for all my kitchen sink faucet installs, lav faucet installs, laundry tub installs, toilet installs. For now 20 years.
    Never once has one blown off, leaked slightly, but never blow off. A quick turn of the 5/8" nut normally takes care of the problem.
    Soldering isolation valves creates problems down the road, meaning you have to do a drain down with no water in piping to do so........rather than a quick changeout of a compression valve that doesn't matter if water is slightly flowing through it or not.
    You can only sweat all brass valves in, meaning the stem type, short of breaking down the valve.
    I would have to see proof in writing from a michigan plumbing inspector to believe that crap. You apparently didn't tighten down your stop valve down tight enough, 5 years ago. Doesn't dictate the norm for the rest of the United States and abroad.
    A compression fitting is a compression fitting, is a compression fitting. BOTH ARE HOLDING THE SAME PRESSURE.
    On a side note: I always use those plastic chrome scussions that are cut down one side to pry on the piping AFTER you have your valve on. Never rusts, can get in the tightest of spots. Eliminates the need to install scussion first, even on old pipes.
    Thanks for the comedy central skit........I needed a good laugh. :D
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  14. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I don't have Terry's experience, but I have been around the block. I have NEVER seen or even heard of a catastrophic failure of a compression connection. Drip, yes. I also like the idea of sweating on a make adapter and using a threaded valve: but I think you will have a drip on a thread joint just as often as on a compression job.
    True, overtightening can damage the pipe. I see this all too often. Never saw it cause a leak, just hard to replace. This is where it is nice to solder on a male adapter.

    Some places are all cast iron. Here it is all ABS and the world is not coming to an end for the 10% of the entire US population who live here.
  15. captwally

    captwally New Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    Florida
    Interesting thread..... I'm particularly interested in the question raised by mark and rugged that basically asks why a stop is allowed a compression on one end, but not the other? These are proven joints.

    On an aside, I've lived in Florida most of my 39 years, but I did live in Michigan for almost 3 of them recently. Thank Heaven I'm back home, because Michigan really is like another planet, or some remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Yes you really can build almost anything without a permit. 3 years is enough time to realize that they don't think like the rest of the world does, for the most part, anyway. I've encountered some really really scary plumbing (and electrical) scenarios up there! I'm not saying that this part of the country doesn't have its quirks and stuff, but....
  16. plumguy

    plumguy New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    MA
    If I may add my two cents I also agree with the use of compression fittings. In 20+ years of experience I have never had any problems or need to try to avoid compression fittings. They are a standard,accepted and approved connection that has a great track record if installed PROPERLY... like anything else!!
  17. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I can't believe we are even having this discussion !!

    Me too. 25 years, couple of drips, NEVER a blow off . However--Had MANY a threaded nipple break off in a wall or joint while trying to replace the cutoff.That's nice,,, Hanging face first over someone's piss laden toilet trying to get some 3/8" threads out of a fitting 5" back in a wall !!

    GIVE ME COMPRESSION !!!!
  18. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    Compression

    Terry is quite right. I.ve looked at compression stops since they came out.
    They are so easy to use . Never, ever had one problem with them............
  19. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Wow - fascinating stuff.... Kind of makes up my mind on the new lavs I just finished roughing in. Got sweated caps on now till drywall.... think I'll run out and get some compression fittings for later.....

    Though it took a while to figure it out on this thread...
  20. Karen1

    Karen1 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Copper-bond epoxy

    In 1988 I replumbed my 84-year-old heart pine house with copper (less prone to splitting when frozen in our exposed crawl spaces) using Copper-Bond for the joints because soldering under a fat lighter house is not a good idea. The next year, Hurricane Hugo pushed a wall of water through my town. Not one leak, even after all that pressure, which stove in the main hard duct for the heating/ac system (it looked like a crescent moon) and not one leak since.

    As for getting into the joints, all you have to do is heat it briefly (I do use a torch for that) and the epoxy becomes brittle and breaks loose, leaving a very clean joint that can then be reglued, so there is no need to cut off the part of the pipe inside the joint as some have stated.

    By the way, I keep 40-60 lbs of pressure in my system (we're on wells, so I can read it on the pump gauge) and never have had a problem with either the Copper-Bond joints or the compression joints at kitchen/bathroom sinks. I have, however, had a problem with thin-wall PVC (the line from the pump house to the house) when it's exposed to freezing or to sunlight for years. Schedule 40 is durable.

    I'm moving the kitchen and need to replumb it, so I went looking for more Copper Bond and can't find it anywhere, nor had anyone even heard of it! What a pity, because it's so good.
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