Pros and Cons of Alternative Waste Line Piping


Pros and Cons of Alternative Waste Line Piping

While PVC — poly vinyl chloride — is the material of choice for plumbing lines today, alternative waste line piping materials are still available.

The two most common types of alternative piping are cast iron and galvanized. Although it is rare to find these materials used in new construction, it is not uncommon to find them in older homes. Both types of pipe and their related fittings are still available for purchase. Both cast iron and galvanized steel are suitable for homeowners as alternative waste line piping.

Cast Iron Drain Pipe

Cast iron drain piping has been in use for well over one hundred years. Known for its durability — lasting fifty years or longer — the material is available in diameters ranging from two to six inches for residential applications. Older methods of installation required connecting the pipe sections with melted lead. However, most modern cast iron sections today connect with rubber or plastic fittings.


  • Long lasting, durable material that can exceed 50 years in some applications
  • Reduces or eliminates the typical sounds of running water — sewage — as it passes through the plumbing system


  • Cast iron is very heavy, making it difficult to transport and work with
  • The very hard material is difficult to cut and requires special tools such as a snap-wrench or metal cutting saw
  • Chemical drain cleaners can wreak havoc on a cast iron drain pipe system causing it to deteriorate by cracking or developing holes

Galvanized Pipe

Galvanized pipe is iron or steel pipe that has been plated with a corrosion-resistant zinc surface. Sections of the pipe connect together using threaded fittings and sealed using thread tape or pipe dope. Although the pipe and its fittings are still available, it is primarily for repair of existing galvanized plumbing systems and outdoor applications.


  • Long life span ranging between 40 to 50 years
  • Rust resistant
  • Extremely durable and long-lasting


  • Because they are made of iron or steel, the pipes are heavy to handle
  • Compared to PVC, galvanized piping is expensive
  • Prone to blockages as the pipes age and begin to deteriorate
  • Damaged sections should be replaced to maintain the pipes integrity

Installing or repairing residential plumbing boils down the design and specifications of your original plumbing or new project. It is always best to consult with a professional plumbing contractor before beginning a major plumbing project.

For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image source: Flickr