PEX: The Pipe of Choice
Although I've successfully worked with CPVC, I've recently
started using PEX (short for cross-linked polyethylene) because
it's easier to install and holds up in almost all conditions.
PEX is flexible and can be repeatedly bent as it is pushed and
pulled during installation. PEX requires no solder or glue, so
there's no danger of igniting a fire and the installation is
free of noxious fumes. If a PEX line gets a kink in it during
installation, heating it up with a heat gun returns the
material to its original shape.
PEX also saves money - especially on new construction, where
it goes in very quickly. But even on more labor-intensive
repiping jobs, where cutout and drilling costs are the same no
matter what material is used, there are still modest savings
compared with copper because there are fewer connections and
because the material is easier to snake through finished walls
Over the years,
I've found that estimating repiping jobs is as easy as counting
the number of fixture drops and accurately assessing the degree
of difficulty for each one. I use a straightforward estimating
scheme, charging between $250 and $500 per drop depending on
how hard it will be to get from the primary run to the fixture
The author uses this
simple worksheet to count fixtures and fittings and estimate
the total cost of the job.
A straight shot through easily accessible wall and ceiling
bays goes for $250 a drop, while a time-consuming run through
an inaccessible attic area or a long detour to avoid damaging
fancy wallpaper costs $500 a drop.