Do you pros use flexible supply lines? Any tips?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by SteveW, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    In the "toilets" section, Cass gave what I thought was a great tip - if you use a flexible stainless steel water supply line to your toilet, use a longer rather than a shorter line, so that you can gently loop it. I would not have thought of that!

    So, got me to wondering. Do the pros on this site use braided steel lines, or conventional "hard" supply lines to toilets and faucets?

    If you do use flexible lines, any other great tips you'd like to share?

    Thanks in advance.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2008
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,387
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I'm not a pro, but I'm pretty certain the pros always use flex lines with the braided stainless steel covering.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Some guys take a real " old school " approach, which is fine. But the price and labor savings of the flexies are hard to ignore. And in my mind, they are light years ahead of the old integral corrugated metal valve/flex combos, which licensed plumbers all over the country installed by the millions in new construction, because they were cheap and quick. I'll take an SS flex any day.
  4. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I prefer the flexible PVC supply lines.

    IMHO, they resist "knotting" and "kinking" better than the SS lines when tightening down the compression nuts.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2007
  5. TMB9862

    TMB9862 New Member

    Messages:
    206
    I default to chrome supplies, flexes only get used when I have some kind of reason not to use chrome. Hard lines are a little cheaper then flex lines so it's really just the labor. Once you get the hang of bending it only takes a couple minutes to install a hard line which in my opinion it is a much more finished and professional look then a thick braided line with a loop in it that anyone with a wrench can throw on.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2007
  6. I started off using the soft copper chrome supplies, hated it and they are hard to remove as much as they are hard to install at times, especially when you have a really strange offset leading to a toilet. Out of all that I've seen and removed........? They all show signs of leaking at some time given the greenish corrosion at the 3/8" nut, you can tell the difference between a leak and condensation dripping back.

    I've seen many of the hard ones indirectly supporting a fixture like a wall hung sink or a toilet.

    I use Fluidmaster or Watts stainless steel flex supplies only, ONLY with the brass barb inserts that connect to the crimps that hold the supply lines on.


    Verdeboy on those that you are using,

    If those have plastic barbs holding the nuts on, they break over time and that vinyl braided plastic gets hard a freaking rock. I've replaced a few of those for splits either on toilet supplies, faucets, then leading down to washing machine hoses.

    I bought them because they was cheaper but I got away from the liability.

    Watts has the tightest mesh pattern of stainless steel webbing around the vinyl tubing; Fluidmaster is wider which I don't appreciate but I appreciate the quality they use on the connections and the brass barbs for the crimps.

    Stainless braided isn't foolproof, but it makes for a more less time consuming task. They do make a corrugated stainless tubing but isn't popular amoung plumbers yet.

    I really wish someone would come out with a 7/8" chrome brass nut for toilet supplies in flexible stainless; I don't trust plastic and those nuts break all the time on stock supplied nuts that require your own hard supply line.
  7. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,348
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I prefer solid copper tubbing but I have used flex.
  8. smellslike$tome

    smellslike$tome Plumbing Company Owner

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    I wanted to post a picture but don't see how to do it on this forum.

    I have seen flex line with ss braid that blew nearly completely in two. This was a dishwasher line that flooded a kitchen on into a dining room. Big mess! It was definately something new to see for me but there it was, nearly all the way around the circumference of the ss braid was just curled back on either side as if a little bomb went off inside the line. Wish I could post the picture!
  9. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    To Post a pic click on:

    Manage Attachments/Browse/Upload
  10. smellslike$tome

    smellslike$tome Plumbing Company Owner

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    I tried but the file size is way too big. I'm showing my ignorance I know but isn't there some kind of way to compress the file size so that I can post it?
  11. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

    Messages:
    551
    Location:
    exurban Chicago
    Check out the Brasscraft "innoflex" no one has them in my area yet, but I can't wait!
  12. JeffH

    JeffH New Member

    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    California
    Let's be flexible about this....

    First off, yes, I use SS flex. Watts & Fluidmaster. Stay away from cheap bargin bin hardware!

    To loop or not to loop? It really comes down to the distance between the stop and and toilet connection. Looping is good. A loop to tight will kink. If it looks like it will kink...adapt your application.

    Copper tubing has it's applications, but typically not worth the $time$. Some Customers like the aesthetic qualities. Does on last longer? Not really. IMO, here in sunny cal, where earthquakes are a real possibility, flexibility definitely has it's pro's. Go with SS.
  13. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    This is what I use:

    http://www.download.com/3000-20-10607499.html

    it's freeware, and a small/fast program, works great.
  14. smellslike$tome

    smellslike$tome Plumbing Company Owner

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  15. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
  16. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    S.E. Idaho
    I have primarily used both Polybutylene and PEX risers over the last decade. I use them with the delrin ferrules and that means that there is no rubber to rot at either end. The fused end that attaches to toilet or sink is solid material and the delrin ring isn't subject to shrinking or rotting.

    But these days, I'm switching to some of the "no-burst" braided connectors. I carry a variety of sizes so they don't look looped or amateurish. I only use the ones with real stainless steel braid - no faux plastic. The ones like the pic above made of vinyl will expand over a period of years until they burst. I've seen scores of them more than double their original size.

    The problems with the no-burst are primarily that some of them can be twisted internally and cut off water flow. (I've had service calls where all I needed to do was loosen a nut and untwist to restore flow.) Also, I've seen overtightened nuts split and blow off in the middle of the night. Rubber seals are not required to be cinched that tight. The new Fluidmasters seem to be quite resistant to twisting.
  17. What is the status now (in 2009) with:
    --flexible vinyl mesh supply lines
    --flexible braided steel supply lines

    for hot water lines in particular?
    (Water heaters, instant hot water, dishwashers, washing machines)

    David
  18. I'm constantly taking those white vinyl ones out because they swell twice their size over time, and they have those plastic barbs that break.


    I am called to many of them where they leak.
  19. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    If you get into the habit of reading the fixture datat sheet and rough the supply exactly where it says to then you can use solid supply tubes without having to either cut or bend them. For things that you had no control over I use the flexi lines.
  20. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    A question for plumbers who use stainless braided supplies:
    If you put one (quality like Watts or Fluidmaster) in your own house, after how many years would you replace it?
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