Because no single pipe material is perfect, today's plumbers tend to use different types of piping for different applications. For example, clay pipe, which is fairly uncommon today in water supply pipe systems, is still used relatively often as a main sewer line. If you have clay sewer pipes in your yard or are considering getting some installed, take a look at some of the pros and cons of this material.
As one of the oldest pipe materials and one that has been popular for hundreds of years, clay has plenty of precedent in its favor. But what are the benefits of using modern-day vitrified clay pipes in contemporary times? The many advantages of clay pipes include the following:
- Clay doesn’t rust like metal pipes do.
- Clay isn't susceptible to erosion from the chemicals and acids which proliferate the dirty sewer water.
- Clay is a natural substance. Not only is it eco-friendly to use, it’s also eco-friendly to produce, as the manufacturing process isn't energy-intensive.
- Clay is recyclable. In other words, the entire life cycle of clay pipes is green and can minimize your ecological footprint.
- Clay is long-lasting. Though it can be disposed of in an eco-friendly way, because it lasts for hundreds of years, you aren't likely to need to discard it.
- Clay won’t leach heavy metals or chemicals into your water like metal and plastic pipes will (although this is less of a concern if you're only using the pipe for wastewater).
- Clay is resistant to abrasion and can thus withstand frequent high-pressure cleanings.
These points show that clay piping has many significant benefits when it comes to wastewater applications, giving it a distinct advantage over other types of pipes.
Although there are many advantages to using clay pipes for your sewer lines, there are also some cons.
To start with, because clay pipes aren't one of the most popular options for applications beyond sewer lines, they can be difficult for the average homeowner to find. This may be a problem if you are looking to do a DIY project. Having said that, if you are determined to use clay pipes, you’ll probably be able to find some on the internet. Of course, if you hire a professional to do the job for you, they should also be able to find clay pipes.
However, there are other downsides to the use of clay piping, some of which have allowed other types of pipes to surge to the top of the heap in popularity. Metal pipes and plastic pipes, for example, are most often used for water supplies in modern homes. Here are a few of the reasons clay pipes fell behind:
- Clay pipes, though they're resistant to corrosion and abrasion, are relatively brittle, which can occasionally result in the pipes breaking or shattering The solution to this brittleness can include adding a layer of concrete around the outside of each pipe, but this greatly decreases the labor-efficiency of the project.
- Clay pipes are like pianos; they can be difficult to transport because not only are they relatively fragile, they are also quite heavy and unwieldy.
As you can see, this durable and eco-friendly material has a couple of Achilles' heels that let other types of pipes overtake it in popularity and practicality.Whether you're looking for alternatives to the popular but not-very-eco-friendly pipes your plumber is offering or you're having problems with your clay sewer pipe and need to have it diagnosed or replaced, Brad's Plumbing is here to help you out. Contact us with any questions about piping material or for more information about our services.