Occasionally we are asked to quote a repipe project where the owner doesn’t know which material would be best for the property. At that point it is important we inform our customer about the different options and recommend something that will be in their best interest. Because we are usually bidding against another contractor, we need to let our customer know about the quality difference in not just craftsmanship but also material. While we always aim to be the most competitive, we always make sure our projects are bid with the adequate material that will get our customers a better long term ROI. With that said, in the next t couple paragraphs I’ll discuss the types of copper you should be using on your next project.
Essentially there are three types of copper; Type M, Type L and Type K (there are a couple more but these are the most relevant). Type M being of the lowest grade and Type K being of the highest grade, So which one is the right grade for your project? If we are talking about a residential project the answer is Type L (medium grade) all the way. Most of the leaks our company repairs are on Type M copper, therefore we DO NOT install Type M. Some of our competitors will bid with Type M so they are more competitive but we know how expensive that could be for customers in the long run, so we just stay away. Truthfully we use Type L in 95% of our copper projects. I cant really think of a reason to use Type M, yes, it costs less but the cost difference is not significant enough to run the risk.
So how about K? Type K is the heavy duty stuff, it’s used more in commercial and industrial buildings. K is the only type of copper that is allowed under ground. It is good for plumbing high pressure liquids or gasses. You will probably find Type K plumbing in labs and breweries. The cost is substantially more than both the other grades so I would not recommend using it for a standard home/building repipe. I hope this brief article was insightful and gave you some knowledge about copper. My suggestion to you is, next time you get a bid for your project, review the material list and make sure you are getting quality stuff that is not going to be a problem for you soon after the install. You know the saying, “pay now or pay later”