Flexible (roll) copper for bathroom supply lines?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Flot, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Flot

    Flot New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    Is flexible (roll) copper going to be a safe choice for supply lines to a bath?

    Quick situation: remodeling house, and have some limited attic access. Houses in the neighborhood (built in 1960-63) have started having copper pinhole leaks, fitting leaks, etc.

    I have an easy way to repipe most of the house before I hit those same issues. However I have one bath which is 50' away from the rest of the plumbing.

    I have not run across a local plumber that is confident in PEX. I would prefer not to use copper pipe or CPVC as that would leave me with 5-6 fittings inside my attic ceiling - attic is not accessible from above, but is accessible from below right now while i'm remodeling.

    One plumber has suggested flexible copper roll. Aside from the prohibitive cost of materials, I like the idea of a continuous run of pipe through the attic for leak resistance. Anything else I should be aware of with this approach?
  2. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Use copper and trust the fittings.

    I trust the fittings I sweat myself more than the pipe.

    Do your best to protect it from freezing though.

    Consider putting in an access panel before you seal everything up.

    I use them a lot.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    There is no real problem with soft copper in rolls. If it is more expensive, then it is because the plumber is using a lighter grade copper for the "straight" runs with fittings.
  4. Flot

    Flot New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    Appreciate the reply - copper pipe is going to be very difficult in my attic - almost impossible to get rigid 10' sections up there, 20' sections would be completely out of the question.

    My big question is, is roll copper dramatically different than rigid copper? Is roll copper a "bad thing" or almost as good overall considering the install benefits?
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The only difference is one is hardened and the other is not. The major difference is that soft/rolled copper does NOT come in grade "M", which is much cheaper.
  6. Flot

    Flot New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks. My comment on cost was more of cost of copper (any type) vs plastic (any type).

    He threw out a number around $250 for a roll of 50' (I think 3/4") copper. Not sure I really need 3/4 although there is a hose bib on the outside wall of that bath where it would be nice to get the extra flow.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,323
    Location:
    New England
    If people are getting pinholes in their copper, why would you want to replace the existing with copper? Some places just have water that is nasty to metal pipes. Pex is also more tolerant to freezing, but any pipe run in an attic should be on the ceiling side of the insulation. If you wanted, you could conver to copper in the walls.
  8. Flot

    Flot New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    Copper is lasting 50 years in my neighborhood which is fine by me. No freezing issues here in south Florida. Biggest worry might be heat gain from attic but I think I could live with that, our "cold" water is 80 degrees anyway.
  9. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    You don't honestly plan on not having a hatch to get into the attic later on, do you?
  10. Flot

    Flot New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    I "upgraded" from one access hatch to 3 hatches. There is still ~50% of the attic that is effectively impossible to access. At its highest point there is about 2' of room in the attic. Add in 12" A/C ducting, plumbing, conduit, etc - and it's very difficult to do anything. That's why I prefer to have as much of a continuous run of pipe as possible, any leaks will only be detected/fixed by ripping out the ceiling.
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,323
    Location:
    New England
    to get pinholes, you're drinking copper since your water is disolving it.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Plumbing copper does NOT come in 50' rolls. It is either 60' or 100'. The only copper that comes in 50' rolls is ACR refrigeration tubing and that is too thin to use for plumbing.
  13. Flot

    Flot New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    I can't seem to find a lot of information on the differences, in fact a couple of websites reference refrigeration copper and plumbing copper being the same thing, with the exception that one is measured ID and one OD. Another said refrigeration grade was thicker/better than 'plumbing grade.'

    What would I be looking for in terms of marking on the pipe? (it's already a done deal, came this AM and installed when I couldn't be home)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I.d. is nominal and o.d. is actual. ACR tubing is about equal to type "M" plumbing copper, the difference being that it is in a 50' roll rather than 20 straight lengths.
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