PEX vs copper: Is the true price difference double for copper?

Help Support Plumbing Forums:

Arby

Active Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
6
Location
idaho
I don't want this post to turn into a thread of how great PEX is and why it would be foolish to consider copper.

I'm just curious if the true price difference is double for copper in new construction...as a rule? Some local plumbers have expressed their distaste for working with copper. Due to that, I'm wondering if some jack up the price excessively in an attempt to discourage home owners from using it? I have gotten the distinct impression this is the case with at least one local plumber. Some folks have told me one reason plumbers like PEX is that they can get in and out of a job quickly and on to the next...ultimately leading to more profit.

Thoughts?
 
Last edited:

GReynolds929

Professional
Professional
Joined
Jun 16, 2018
Messages
149
Reaction score
94
Location
WA
According to my supply house website 1/2” type M is $3.05 per ft. 1/2” AquaPex is $0.56 per ft. That’s almost 5 1/2 times the price for cheap copper.
 

Hamberg

Professional
Professional
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
92
Reaction score
43
Location
Horsham PA
I don't want this post to turn into a thread of how great PEX is and why it would be foolish to consider copper...

Thoughts?
Same discussion 30 years ago with cast vs. PVC, no?

Any one here stocking Oakum and pouring lead?
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
466
Reaction score
175
Location
North Carolina
The last 100’ roll of PEX I bought was $29. Yes it’s considerably less costly than copper, per foot. And as others have pointed out here labor is considerably less costly as well. Since most of the actual installation of the pipe is done by apprentices and other workers, not the licensed professionals or master plumbers— there probably isn’t the skill set involved with good soldering.

My experience over the years indicates that contractors of all kinds will price things absurdly if it’s something they don’t want to do Or don’t know how to do. The builders here in North Carolina are absolutely clueless about what a basement is or how to build one; when pricing our new home the up charge for a basement was beyond ridiculous. They really just didn’t want to do it. They wanted a $1500 up charge for installing a single hot water return line, so I could have circulating hot water. There was maybe 100 feet of tubing involved in this; The reality is they simply didn’t want to do it because they didn’t understand it. I had to explain thermosiphon to master plumbers...

So we do not have a basement and we do not have a return line... because the builder couldn’t wrap his head around this stuff and really didn’t want to do it because it was out of his comfort zone.
 

Arby

Active Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
6
Location
idaho
The last 100’ roll of PEX I bought was $29. Yes it’s considerably less costly than copper, per foot. And as others have pointed out here labor is considerably less costly as well. Since most of the actual installation of the pipe is done by apprentices and other workers, not the licensed professionals or master plumbers— there probably isn’t the skill set involved with good soldering.
That brings up another thing I've been wondering about: Finding someone with good soldering skills. Is it becoming a lost art, so to speak? Or is it something that doesn't require a lot of skills to do a good job on?
 

Twowaxhack

Professional
Professional
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
716
Location
United states
Same discussion 30 years ago with cast vs. PVC, no?

Any one here stocking Oakum and pouring lead?
They stock oakum here, not sure about lead. I keep the old lead from the cast iron I remove. Break the joints open.

Might need to reload some ammo if push comes to shove. 😬.
 

Geofd

Moderator
Staff member
Professional
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
2,645
Reaction score
502
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
That brings up another thing I've been wondering about: Finding someone with good soldering skills. Is it becoming a lost art, so to speak? Or is it something that doesn't require a lot of skills to do a good job on?
 

Geofd

Moderator
Staff member
Professional
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
2,645
Reaction score
502
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
Soldering isn't something you just pick, to make your soldered connections look neat theres a teqnique, and practice,,practice,practice
 

Twowaxhack

Professional
Professional
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
716
Location
United states
The art of soldering is in heat control.

Not too hot and hot too cold and it must be even. You master heat control and you’ve mastered soldering IMO. You can make pretty joints without wiping much of at all
 

Hamberg

Professional
Professional
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
92
Reaction score
43
Location
Horsham PA
That brings up another thing I've been wondering about: Finding someone with good soldering skills. Is it becoming a lost art, so to speak? Or is it something that doesn't require a lot of skills to do a good job on?
@Geofd - practice, practice, practice! 👍👍👍

Problem is; it's only the trades that notice this stuff. We walk into a job and critique the joints or how neat the wiring is but the consumer only cares that it isn't leaking or the switch works.
 

hukre

Active Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2018
Messages
32
Reaction score
9
Location
,
Talked to a guy at a distributor who loaded a whole bunch of copper tube onto his pickup rack. He said none of his six employees know how to solder. He only does Pro Crimp and says it cuts down installation time considerably.
 

JG plumbing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2021
Messages
243
Reaction score
61
Location
Iowa
Personally I solder a lot. Commercial and industrial mostly. Pro press is great, but I question the strength and longevity. Pex adds up. It needs to be supported every 18"by code, fittings are brass (unless you go super cheap) and expensive. Rings, expander, 90° sopprts, sleeve,butterflies.

I do any kind of pipe and depending on the situation I use what I think is best. But I like to solder and forget.
 
Last edited:

Twowaxhack

Professional
Professional
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
716
Location
United states
Water quality decides what pipe and fittings I recommend.

Price usually decides what choice the customer picks. That means it’s usually pex for new installations.

The custom homes I’ve done are always copper.
 
Top