Poly-B Pipe Replacement

what you need to know about POLY-B

Poly-B stands for Polybutylene, a grey, flexible pipe used for construction plumbing between 1985 and 1997. Considered a cheap and more easily installed alternative to traditional copper pipe, Poly-B is in over 700,000 homes in BC alone. It worked great for the first 10 years. Then things started racing downhill.

The lack of installation standards was the first problem. The preferred method of metal fasteners wasn’t mandated, and cheaper fasteners became available. The amount of allowable bending stress wasn’t determined, so installers were free to use their own judgement. The end result was hundreds of thousands of homes with poorly installed and inadequately formed piping.

Poly-B wasn’t put under real world testing before approval. They tested it for strength vs water pressure up to 70psi, but was not tested for withstanding the chemicals used to treat our water. Had they run those tests, Poly-B would have never made it to market.

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Why Does Poly-B Piping Destroy Your Home’s Value?


After 10 to 15 years in place, Poly-B piping will very likely fail.

Evidence is in the short span of time between introduction and obsolescence. A mere twelve years before the plumbing and construction industries abandoned a profitable and simple to use system.

Considering that it took the world over 100 years to ban asbestos, that speaks powerfully to the abject failure of the product.

To have Poly-B piping in your home is not only a big risk but it definitely decreases value in your investment. It may render your building difficult to sell and to refinance. Determining if you have Poly-B installed in your home is the first step toward regaining its value.

Do You Have Poly-B Piping?

The first step in determining if you have Poly-B piping in your building is the date of construction. Poly-B was in common use from 1985 – 1997. You should be safe if your building was built more than 3 years before or after that time frame. You should also verify that there were no major plumbing jobs performed during the years in question.

Poly-B piping is a mildly flexible pipe that comes in grey, black and blue coloring. Installers used grey and black without concern for the color, but reserved blue for use with cold water lines. Stamping on the pipe can further identify Poly-B piping.

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Where do you look?

The following are some advice where should you look at your piping system:

The simplest spot to check is under your sinks and along your basement ceiling, but you shouldn’t stop there! You need to pull the panels covering your shower plumbing and check at your water meter as well.

Using a stud finder, or similar device, to check for metal pipes in your walls can yield false results. The crimp fittings used with Poly-B piping are often metal and will trick the sensors. Your check, therefore, needs to be visual.

If you have a recirculating hot water system, such as in-floor heating, check the piping. Such systems used Poly-B due to its flexibility. Check the pipes entering and leaving the floor to see if they fit the color and stamping parameters of Poly-B pipe.

If you are uncertain about what you have found, hire John G Plumbing who specializes in Poly-B pipe to inspect your building. We will know where to look, and how to identify any problems with your plumbing. We will then give a report, and discuss your options.

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Chlorine in the water supply degrades Poly-B piping over time, which leads to unwanted leaks inside your walls. Bends in the piping that were appropriate at the time of installation become problem spots once the material begins to weaken and can tear in half. Even hairline fractures from overtightened crimp fittings become leaks as the material splits.

These tiny fractures will seep water into your home with no outward indication that it is
happening. These leaks can occur at any point in the piping, destroying walls and floors long before a building owner can notice that there is a problem.

By the time watermarks show up on the walls, the damage will be well advanced within your structure can take thousands of dollars to repair. All with no guarantee that it won’t happen again in another part of the building. In fact, the chances are good that it will happen again and again until you replace all the Poly-B pipe in your building.

it is an INVESTMENT not a cost!

So what is the replacement process?

The following are some of the steps to change the poly-b pipes in your home:

1. Mapping the existing domestic water plumbing system
John G Plumbing Inc will investigate and map the entire domestic water system to determine how the replacement should be done in the most cost-efficient way.

2 . Preparing for the Poly-B pipe plumbing system replacement
John G Plumbing Inc will cut sections of the drywall out so there is access created for the actual pipe replacement. The scenarios are completely different in all houses or multiple residential complexes.

3. Dry-fitting the new pipes prior to cutting the old ones out
Firstly, John G Plumbing Inc will dry-fit the new pipes before cutting the old ones out. This serves the customer as this step minimizes water interruption.

4. Connecting to new system and remove existing Poly-B pipes
We will connect the system to existing fixtures – such as sinks, shower faucet, laundry, etc.  After, the old system will be removed.

5. Finishing
Based on your preference, either John G Plumbing Inc can repair the drywalls, apply colour-matched paint, take care of tiling if necessary, or you can hire your own contractors to do the finishing.

6. We will  take you on a walkthrough to make sure you are happy with our work.
Be sure to check all your walls and flooring for detectable repairs. The job isn’t considered complete without your approval.

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Why Choose Us?

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Is Every Plumber an Expert in Replacing Poly-B Piping?


John G Plumbing Inc. has over 20 years’ experience in re-piping in general, including replacing Poly-B pipes. This experience gives us the edge to do the job right and in the most cost-efficient way.

John G Plumbing Inc. assures clients that we will provide quality and efficient re-piping services. We believe that our clients deserve to have comfortable life while staying in their own houses. When in need of our services, do not hesitate to consult us. We would love to deliver high quality and excellent services that suit your wants and needs.