What Material Should Your Commercial Pipes Be Made From?

pipe Material

When a commercial building is complete, it will have used pipes for numerous applications. There are plumbing, signposts, the foundation, and other structural areas that require the strength and durability of steel. Steel pipe comes in diameters ranging from 4 1/2 inches to 30 inches, and it comes in many lengths, People having commercial buildings built should ask their architect and building contractor where steel pipes are best used.

Built to Last

Since a commercial building is a very large investment, it needs to last as long as possible for the owner to get the financial benefits planned. If using steel pipes instead of plastic, wood, or other elements makes a building last longer, the extra cost is well worth it. Steel has great load-bearing capabilities and is impervious to the elements. Steel is a good choice for any construction happening below grade and in foundations.

Building contractors want to build lasting structures to enhance their reputations as builders. They may use steel pipe instead of wood or other materials because it will last longer. Some advantages of steel pipe include:

  • Fireproof. Steel pipe will slow the spread of fire.
  • Below grade use. Steel is good for below-grade applications because it will not rust, rot, or be eaten by insects.
  • Load Bearing. Steel pipe has a good load-bearing capability.
  • Strength and durability. Steel pipe is strong and lasts for decades in both indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Steel pipe comes in numerous diameters and lengths and has secure, leak-proof joints.
  • Rigidity. This is important because rigid pipes allow greater spaces between hangers.
  • Low coefficient of thermal expansion and can handle high temperatures and pressure.

Engineers and architects specify steel pipe because it is cost-effective, strong, and rigid. Steel pipe comes in different weights such as schedule 40 or schedule 80 steel pipe. Steel pipes can be carbon steel, stainless steel, or galvanized steel depending on the use. Steel pipes are heavy and may require extra workers to transport them.  Galvanized steel pipe has the benefits of steel pipe and the additional benefit of better corrosion resistance.

Stainless steel pipes are considered impervious to all corrosion. There are several grades of stainless steel pipe including the 200 series alloys, the 300 series alloys, and the 400 series alloys. Each grade is good for different uses.

Other Pipe Materials

There are several popular pipe materials. Architects and engineers choose the material that is best for the end-use of the pipe so one commercial building may have several kinds of pipe material.

  • Copper pipes
  • Copper is a piping material that is durable and resistant to corrosion. It is a softer material than steel. Copper pipes need to be soldered together and might require more fittings.
  • PEX piping
  • is a flexible plastic piping used for indoor applications in small businesses and residential buildings. It has limited uses in large commercial structures.
  • PVC plumbing pipes
  • can be used for cold and hot potable water and for sewage applications. PVC pipes come in different thicknesses and configurations.
  • Brass plumbing pipes
  • Brass pipes are rust-resistant and are made of 67% to 85% copper. Brass pipes are easier to thread and work well for applications such as hot-water and large water distribution systems, pump fittings, water tanks, and wells. Brass pipes and fittings last longer than other materials.

Though there are multiple pipe materials, most are more limited in usage than steel pipes. Steel pipes can be used inside and outside for plumbing, structure, foundations, signage, culverts, fences, gates, steel bollards, bridges, flagpoles, and more. Steel pipes are cost-effective and long-lasting for commercial use.