Drain pipe, PVC or ABS?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Holeshot, Nov 10, 2021.

  1. Holeshot

    Holeshot New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2015
    Location:
    California
    Hello, which 4" drain pipe would last longest and without issues? I see a lot of foam core with a thin wall, it doesn't seem good. I'm guessing running a snake down a foam core can damage the thin wall.

    ABS doesn't flex much? And if there's seismic movement, the fittings can fail?

    ABS temp range is 40-170
    PVC temp range is 33-140
     
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  2. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    No Hub Cast iron, quiet, non toxic ,has long radius fittings
     
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  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Since you're in seismic territory check your local jurisdiction. Supporting the pipe and bracing can be part of the local codes. FYI, all drain pipe is schedule 40 minimum. It's not thin wall.
     
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  5. Storm rider

    Storm rider Slave to rentals

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    They both work. Seems like ABS is more prevalent on the west coast and PVC is popular on the east coast.
     
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  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    While I agree, CI is the premium product, the choice of plastic often depends on what you can get locally and, it's not a good idea to mix them in the same system. Some applications don't recommend foam core pipe, but it is cheaper if it works for that application. With CI, you don't see as much leaded hubs as it takes more skill, hubless stuff works well, too.

    There are industry guidelines on how to lay out the plastic piping. The plastics require a bit more planning especially if you have longer runs, as they change length MUCH more than CI piping does. Too much expansion/contraction can put huge stresses on the pipe, and can cause it to literally tear itself, and often make some noises...it's hard on the fittings, too. Expansion fittings to accommodate length changes tend to also be expensive if needed.
     
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  7. John Gayewski

    John Gayewski In the Trades

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    Iowa
    PVC is better drain pipe than cast iron. The smoothness alone makes it a better choice it also last longer than cast. Between abs and pvc I'd choose pvc because that's what's available here and that's what i am used to working with. People quit using abs here in the 80's. I've twisted abs fitting off of pipe with my bare hands.
     
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  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
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    New England
    Quiet operation and fire codes can dictate CI is better and required in some situations. While PVC is self-extinguishing, in a multi-story dwelling, a fire in one unit could make all of the floors above uninhabitable if the pipe was damaged. That rarely would happen with CI. There's a place. The CI pipe in the house I grew up in is still in fine shape as I found when I needed to do some modifications during a remodel. That's like 70-years now.
     
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  9. John Gayewski

    John Gayewski In the Trades

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    Iowa
    The cast iron in some of our buildings is around 100 years old. It clogs. The fire thing, is what it is. That doesn't make it better drainage pipe. It makes it fireproof not better for drainage. Sound should be mitigated. If you don't mitigate the sound cast iron pipe is still noisy. So since we're mitigating let's use the better pipe for the job. Selecting a pipe for a secondary purpose doesn't make the first choice worse, just not applicable in that specific instance. Most times you only need cast iron on fire walls or in plenums. In those instances we're try to use sections of cast iron.

    I've since many projects in cast iron and don't have a problem with it. I actually like running it. It's just not better drainage pipe.
     
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  10. Mr tee

    Mr tee In the Trades

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    Location:
    Montana
    Use whichever plastic is more available in your area, probably ABS. Cast iron is much more expensive and requires tools you may well never use again. If you need to meet fire code, such as through the wall into a garage, a couple shielded bands and one cast iron fitting is normally all that is necessary.
     
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  11. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York

    "it's not a good idea to mix them in the same system"

    Many times I have used PVC for venting and connection to the NHCI with no hub couplings

    Knowing sewer and drain fumes can corrode CI and other ferrous metals then plastic is a better choice for venting especially true when some areas now ban the use of a building house trap

    PVC does not have as much of a bearing load as CI so under ground use is limited on applications

    PVC should never be exposed to direct sun light

    As I stated before CI is the QUIET pipe besides offering decades of trouble free service

    Over 90% of my roof drains were installed using a caulked joint and 3' x 3'
    x 4 PSF sheet lead.

    I still like to use XHCI caulked joints under ground as the
    systems I work on are over 100 years old so CI has proven long term trouble free systems

    If a CI system is properly and the ground soil conditions are not acidic and cinders for example are not used in the CLEAN BACK FILL then one can expect decades of trouble free drainage

    The reason some people push PVC is their skill level maybe
    compromised such as lead wiping which we still do on occasions some other may have no clue how to even prepare a joint or do a lead burned joint

    PVC requires a saw, primmer and glue and anyone can install it

    I love driving and while upstate NY I noticed some children installing underground drainage and spoke to the adult farmer standing by then

    He said his 7 year old daughter plumbed the house along with his 9 year old son .

    They did an outstanding job NO wet venting or cheater venting as they were working on a new home on his property as a small guest house

     
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  12. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    New York
     
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  13. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York

    Actually water temperature of 150 DEF or above is not allowed down a drainage system for several reasons

    1- It can scald workers in the sewer

    2- In the winter the non tempered water can crack the sewer piping

    803.1 Wastewater temperature.

    Steam pipes shall not connect to any part of a drainage or plumbing system and water above 150°F (66°C) shall not be discharged into any part of a drainage system. Such pipes shall discharge into an indirect waste receptor connected to the drainage system.
     
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  14. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    CA ABS far more common however recent years 10 years or so I see some PVC . When outside building by a few feet it gets called sewer and allows thinner pipe. generally inside building ABS sch 40 is used more , I can't really say why just been that way since my first day on the job I've installed very little PVC within building
     
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  15. Holeshot

    Holeshot New Member

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    Location:
    California
    I'm replacing a 40 year old under-slab cast iron pipe in a residential single story that's in pretty bad condition. The soil has a lot of clay. The original CI has a lot of back filled sand.

    Ferguson and other wholesalers only sells ABS foam core, no ABS solid core.
    The ABS schedule 40 foam core: Has 3 layers. Inner and outer solid core skins with foam core in the middle.
    Minimum solid core skin thickness: .015", 15 thousandths of an inch. That's roughly 1/2 the thickness of a credit card.
    4" ABS total wall thickness: 0.237"

    The SoFi Stadium development in Los Angeles used large diameter PVC pipe for sewer lines in the public street. I wonder why they didn't use ABS?

    In Los Angeles, what's available is ABS foam core schedule 40, PVC schedule 40 and CPVC schedule 80

    CPVC schedule 80
    4" x 20' = $379.57
    4", 45 degree elbow = $57.89
    Max temp 200F
    Min temp 33F
    Tensile strength 8200 PSI

    PVC schedule 40
    20' x 4" = $166.95
    Max temp 140F
    Min temp 33F
    Tensile strength 7500 PSI

    ABS schedule 40
    20' x 4" = $107.38
    Tensile strength 4500 PSI
    Max temp 140F
    Min temp 32F
     
  16. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York

    Is relining an option ???

    https://flow-liner.com/


    https://curaflo.com/?gclid=CjwKCAiA...UrgHBSQE4KDfJk9aLHo_tPMzupWgTwVBoCzV4QAvD_BwE
     
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    PVC schedule 40 is available in solid and foamcore. At least some of the solid is triple rated for DWV, pressure, and well casing.
     
  18. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Feb 27, 2020
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    92346
    400 a stick for CPVC I think I'd pass. I'd need a reason not to use what I been using since 87 ABS. Not saying its best just what I've used on a few thousand homes
     
  19. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Feb 27, 2020
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    92346
    btw never seen ABS on big jobs I've done big jobs In Irvine and Newport PVC sometimes I've used CPVC in lab work . homes was 99 percent I think its less maybe 90 percent ABS just drove by a 200 plus unit apartments its ABS under slab . What SOFI wouldn't sway me though interesting
     
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