What is Poly B (Polybutylene) Pipe?



What is Poly B Plumbing?

Poly B, also referred to as Polybutylene, is a flexible grey pipe used in hot water systems and residential plumbing. It was manufactured in between the years of 1978 and 1998 because of its flexibility, low cost, and ease of installation. It is estimated that in Canada alone there are over 700,000 homes that have had this piping installed prior to it being discontinued. Each and every one of these homes is at risk of poly b issues happening.

Poly B was the first plastic plumbing pipe manufactured to be used as an alternative to a more expensive copper piping. The fact that is was inexpensive and easy to install made it very appealing to plumbers and contractors throughout the US and Canada including Calgary, AB. In Canada, the use of poly b piping was originally tested and certified by the Canadian Standards Association and approved for potable water systems. Although there has been a lot of controversy over the use of poly b, these water systems have acted without failure in many homes for extended periods of times that range from 10 to 15 years. Following this time frame, almost in all instances, poly b pipe failure has happened. It is not a matter of if the pipe will fail but how long until the pipe fails.

See some “Poly B Photos” to help you identify if you have this piping in your home.

Poly B Calgary Contractor

Problems with Poly B Piping

Although there may be homes that have not experienced damages to a home the fact is that the pipe was discontinued for a reason. Eventually and over time the pipe begins to leak and cause damages to homes. One or more of the following are the reasons you may be experiencing poly b issues in your home:

  • High levels or free chlorine exist in the water supply causing leakage throughout the piping system.
  • Improper installation of the piping in homes where fitting were installed too right causing hair line cracks eventually ending with leakage and damages to homes.
  • Improper installation of piping to be bent and put under stress causing leaks and damages to homes.
  • Installation near high heat areas including hot water tanks, in the attic, and other areas of extensively high temperatures.
  • The use of acetal (white or grey) fittings to connect pipes rather than the preferred metal fittings.

See our “Poly B Lawsuits and Home Insurance” page for more information about home insurance claims and lawsuit information. Poly b issues with home insurance and law suits have been around for many years and the chances of receiving a claim or having your home insurance policy cover the costs are very minimal.

Costs for Replacing Poly B

The cost of replacing the poly b Plumbing system in your home depends on the size of your home and the contractor doing the work for you. Replacing the system is almost always invasive to an extent. There are many professionals that have have devised quick ways of re-mediating poly b and getting your home back into the condition exactly as it was before. There are many factors that can dictate the price of a job.

  • Materials
  • Labour
  • Re-mediation
  • Interior Access
  • Size of the House
  • Number of Bathrooms
  • How much drywall needs to be removed to access pipes

Cost is always a deciding factor when considering to replace poly b. In general these jobs are not cheap. Depending on these factors the price can range quite significantly. We have found the average price between $6,000 and $15000. This price should include complete removal of poly b with PEX piping and all repair to walls and ceilings during the poly b re-mediation process. A typical poly b job takes about a week to complete the plumbing aspect of things and then up to another 2 weeks to complete the drywall process.

The investment however is a a good one none the less. You will have peace of mind that you will not be a victim of a leaking water system and avoid the costs that come with an unexpected pipe failure.

See our “Choosing a Poly B Contractor” page for information about hiring a contractor and getting the job done properly.

We have many people who write us asking for a contractor and we refer our inquiries to a Calgary based company called Urban Piping Ltd. They have a great reputation for getting the job done quickly and efficiently leaving your home in the same condition as it was prior to finding Poly B piping throughout your home. They can offer different solutions and cost effective approaches for anyone dealing with Poly B issues.

Poly B Calgary Contractor