Welcome to Plbg.com
Thank you to all the plumbing professionals who offer their advice and expertise

Over 655,000 strictly plumbing related posts

Best online strictly PLUMBING help, advice, dyi, and informational forum. Questions and discussions about toilets, sinks, faucets, drainage, venting, water heating, showers, pumps, water quality, and other exclusively PLUMBING related issues. Please refrain from asking where to purchase a product, or business, pricing, or legal questions, or for contractor referrals, or any questions not related to plumbing. Keep all posts positive and absolutely no advertising. This site is free, ad free, pop-up free and made possible by:  

Post New
Search
Log In
How to Show Images
Newest Subjects
 ABS versus PVC for DWV
Author: davefoc (CA)

I was curious about the tradeoffs between PVC and ABS DWV pipe. I went looking around the web for a comparison of the two and didn't find anything. So which is the superior product for the typical house DWV system?

I spent a little while going through old posts on this site. What I learned:

1. PVC seems to be used almost exclusively in at least several places on the east coast. ABS is used predominantly on the west coast.

2. There was a suit that claimed that defective ABS pipe had been built by several different manufacturers. This site has a list of the manufacturers of the suspect pipe:
[www.codecheck.com]
It seems that in fact quite of bit of defective pipe made its into houses between 1984 and 1990 from some of these manufacturers.

3. There may be some local codes which prevent the use of ABS.

4. ABS can be joined to PVC using a special glue but this is not necessarily approved by all building codes. The special glue is not the same as the dual purpose glue that works on ABS or PVC.

5. There is some kind of ABS pipe that has a foam type wall. I don't think I've ever seen it and I wouldn't have heard of it except it was mentioned in some of the posts in this site.

My own observations
Repairs to the building I own have only used ABS. I have seen some failures due to punctures and due to fitting pipes too tightly through holes. I have never had a clog in a repaired section of pipe that used ABS and it seems on the whole to be most more reliable than the 80 year old (1 1/2 and 2 inch) cast iron and galvanized pipe that was used in the original DWV of my building. The three and four inch cast iron pipe that was used in the original DWV is still working flawlessly and has not had one problem in the twenty years that I've owned the building. Local hardware stores and home centers around here stock only small amounts of PVC DWV material if they stock it at all.



Edited 2 times.

Post Reply

 Re: ABS versus PVC for DWV
Author: redwood (CT)

I consider PVC to be much better than ABS.
If you pick up a piece of ABS and the same size piece of PVC you will notice the PVC is quite a bit heavier than the ABS. It is also much more rigid. I often see ABS kitchen sink drains with sags between supports.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]

Post Reply

 Re: ABS versus PVC for DWV
Author: birddoggiest (ID)

I think PVC is a better product, but I never use it for DWV. It isn't the norm where I am so it is hard to get material. In CA we used it for wineries because it can take 180' water, ABS is only good for 140'. Both are good and will last. I would put ABS in my house.

Post Reply

 Re: ABS versus PVC for DWV
Author: davefoc (CA)

Thanks for the replies. It seems like there might be a general consensus on this forum amongst the professional plumbers that PVC is superior to ABS for DWV but that if you live in an area where ABS is the norm the advantages of PVC in most situations don't override the advantages of using ABS when it is the standard product for DWV.

In trying to find comparisons of PVC and ABS on the web I came across this article extolling the benefits of cast iron.

[www.abifoundry.com]

Based on my experience the guy is full of crap for the smaller diameters. A good part of the maintenance on my old building is dealing with cast iron pipe. It is significantly obstructed with lime buildup and it has failed in numerous places where it runs under the building from rust. Of course I have a stilted view of the world in that the oldest piece of ABS in the building is probably around thirty years old and all the iron pipe is about 80 years old. I have also seen the galvanized pipe used as part of the DWV system completely rusted through, even when it is contained entirely within the walls. But as I mentioned above the larger diameter cast iron pipe is nearly flawless and going strong even after 80 years.

Post Reply

 Re: ABS versus PVC for DWV
Author: redwood (CT)

XH cast is the good stuff! Its probably the 80 year old stuff you have. Cast Iron is a lot quieter than plastic pipe.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Since 1995 (3 years before Google started) PlumbingSupply.com has been THE best plumbing supplier on the web. Please visit our sponsor [www.PlumbingSupply.com]

Post Reply

 Re: ABS versus PVC for DWV
Author: jimmy-o (CA)

From a practical standpoint, you may have to use what is prevalent in your area. One type or the other will be the norm, and trying to find all the pipes and fittings you need in the other type may be problematic and expensive. In So. Calif. ABS predominates. There is plenty of schedule 40 PVC around used for water supply, but drainage fittings are not so common, and sch. 40 PVC costs more than ABS.


Much of the ABS is cellular foam core, which makes it lighter and less expensive. I don't think it affects the performance.

I avoid mixing types. There is an approved transition cement, but I would use a mechanical joint.

Post Reply





Please note:
  • Inappropriate messages or blatant advertising will be deleted. We cannot be held responsible for bad or inadequate advice.
  • Plbg.com has no control over external content that may be linked to from messages posted here. Please follow external links with caution.
  • Plbg.com is strictly for the exchange of plumbing related advice and NOT to ask about pricing/costs, nor where to find a product (try Google), nor how to operate or promote a business, nor for ethics (law) and the like questions.
  • Plbg.com is also not a place to ask radiant heating (try HeatingHelp.com), electrical or even general construction type questions. We are exclusively for plumbing questions.

Search for plumbing parts on our sponsor's site:




Special thanks to our sponsor:
PlumbingSupply.com


Copyright© 2020 Plbg.com. All Rights Reserved.