The Evolution of Plumbing Materials: From Lead to PEX

A Journey Through Time: Plumbing Materials

At WNY Plumbing, we’ve seen countless changes in the industry over our 60+ years of service in Western New York. One of the most significant transformations has been in the materials used for plumbing systems. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the evolution of plumbing materials.

Lead Pipes: The Ancient Solution

Ancient civilizations, including the Romans, used lead pipes for their water systems. While effective, we now know the dangers of lead in drinking water.

Cast Iron: The Victorian Era Favorite

Cast iron pipes became popular in the 19th century, known for their durability and longevity. Many older homes still have functional cast iron drain pipes.

Galvanized Steel: The Mid-20th Century Standard

Galvanized steel pipes were widely used from the 1930s to the 1980s. They were more resistant to corrosion than their predecessors but still prone to rust over time.

Copper: The Reliable Classic

Copper piping gained popularity in the mid-20th century and remains a favorite today due to its:

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Durability
  • Ability to handle high temperatures

PVC: The Plastic Revolution

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes introduced a lightweight, cost-effective option for drain lines and cold water supply in the 1950s.

PEX: The Modern Marvel

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing has become increasingly popular since the 1990s. Its benefits include:

  • Flexibility
  • Ease of installation
  • Resistance to freezing
  • Cost-effectiveness

At WNY Plumbing, we’ve witnessed and adapted to these changes firsthand. Our expertise in working with all these materials ensures that we can handle any plumbing job, whether it’s in a historic home or a modern building. Trust our experience to keep your pipes flowing smoothly for years to come!