ABS Pipe vs PVC: Which is The Best For Your Project?


What’s the Difference Between ABS Pipe and PVC?

Generally, plumbers and homeowners use the ABS and PVC pipes whenever they are working for their plumbing works. These pipes have numerous advantages, including low cost, ability to resist corrosion, and less weight. Additionally, they do not collect condensation as it is with other pipes, and also they can retain hot water for a long time. However, both ABS and PVC have some differences regarding where to and not use and other aspects. Are you having an ongoing plumbing project? Or have one coming up? Wondering What’s the difference between ABS and PVC pipe? Are you looking for the best pipes to use in your project? If so, read on to understand ABS Pipe vs PVC for the ideal type of pipe for your projects.

ABS Pipe vs. PVC

ABC typically stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, while PVC stands for Poly Vinyl Chloride. Generally, the primary differences between ABS Pipe vs PSV are usually situational. But however minor the difference may seem, it could mean a lot in residential plumbing work.

For instance, the ABS pipes are made of BPA while PVC is not. BPA is a hardening chemical used with ABS pipes. This chemical is used in hardening many chemicals and poses no risk to human health.

Some states have set guidelines on which type of pipe should be in use for sewage, drainage, among other plumbing work. But, most local governments allow build and plumber to choose for themselves. So, be sure to check with your local area before commencing your plumbing project.

What’s the Difference Between ABS and PVC Pipe

Apart from the physical qualities like the ABS color (typically black) and PVC (typically white), there are other qualities to consider as a plumber. For instance, ABS is shock-resistant and more robust, while PVC pipes are more flexible.

Additionally, ABS are met to handle frigid temperatures and can wrap when exposed to hot weather. On the other hand, PVC is ideal where you want to reduce the sound of flowing water. The two types are generally priced the same in most areas. However, there can be a significant difference in some areas as a result of higher shipping fees.

ABS or PVC Pipes

The primary difference when working with either of these types is the steps used when connecting them. PVC pipes usually involve two steps, while ABS pipes only have one step connecting process.

Additionally, PVC pipes require some purple primer applied before you apply a special bonding cement. On the other hand, ABS pipes can be perfectly bonded with an instant application of the particular cement.

It is worth noting that the purple primer is usually messy, and hence you must allow it some time to dry before proceeding to the next step. However, this makes ABS pipes a less costly option even with the high cost of the pipes themselves than the PVC pipes.

Joining ABS Pipes and PVC Pipes

Joining PVC and ABS is not recommendable in most states. Generally, most plumbing codes restrict joining the two types of pipes. For this reason, you must find out what your local regulations are before making that decision.

However, some states have no restrictions on joining the two types, and if so, you can join PVC and ABS together using various available fittings. Note that joining PVC and ABS is not done using glue or cement. Instead, PVC and ABS are usually joined using a rubber sleeve with a metal jacket, which helps clamp the connection.

Place the sleeve in position (between the two pipes ends) to join them. Then use the metal sleeve to clamp the already pre-positioned rubber sleeves in place. It is advisable to use designated coupling while joining the two pipes.

When to Use PVC vs. ABS

Typically you can use either ABS or PVC in your commercial and residential plumbing. However, understanding the difference between the two will help you make the right decision for your plumbing project.

PVC pipes might be ideal when used for indoor plumbing work as they offer soundproof elements. ABS, on the other hand, works best for underground projects. This is because they withstand cold temperatures, and again they are easily damaged by direct sunlight.

Ensure to check with the local area codes to make sure you are working with the suitable pipe. Specific regulations require you to use an already decided piping system for specific plumbing projects.

Where to Use PVC Pipes

It is crucial to use the proper piping system for a particular plumbing job. There many areas where PVC pipes can be effectively installed. You can use PVC pipes for various applications like:
· Water service lines
· Sewers
· Numerous industrial installations

Water mains
· Irrigation
· Conduit
PVC pipes have the advantage of being durable and also versatile, a choice of most plumbing professionals.

Advantages of PVC Pipes

· They require fewer joints hence reducing leakage chances and also facilitates adequate flow speed
· PVC pipes consist of ideal elastic properties
· They have rust-resistant as a feature
· Great earth movements adaptability
· PVC pipes are tough, light in weight, available in various lengths, and can resist corrosion due to chemical attack
· They significantly reduce the transportation, handling, and installation costs
· Having less friction will help you save some energy in water distribution

Disadvantages of PVC Pipes

· Their strength reduces with high temperatures
· PVC pipes usually crack easily
· The non-decomposing feature makes PVC pipes not ideal with high temperatures

Where to Use ABS Pipes

Are you looking for a cost-friendly option for your residential and commercial projects? If so, ABS pipes will offer you precisely that. It will not peel, dissolve, leak, flake, rot, or even fade. Generally applied for outdoor, underground, ideal for cold weathers away from direct sunlight.
Typically used for:
· Vent piping systems
· Drain systems
· Waste systems
Additionally, ABS pipes can be ideal for electrical insulation and sewer systems.

Advantages of Using ABS Pipes

ABS pipes have several advantages, including:
· Easily bonded with a good gloss finish
· Reasonably tough
· Easily processed

Disadvantages of ABS Pipes

Some of the disadvantages with ABS include:
• Poor bearing properties
• Have to be protected from sunlight as they have poor UV resistance
• High smoke evolution.
• Fatigue resistance and Poor solvent


Before you decide whether to use ABS and PVC piping, it is recommendable to first check out with your local government. This will help you to know what they might have already decided regarding piping in your area. Additionally, be sure to hire a professional plumber to help you with your plumbing system.

Gold Star Plumbing & Drain offers professional water heater servicedrain clearingtoilet repair and other expert plumbing services in GilbertPhoenixMesaChandler and the neighboring communities. Our trained, licensed and unifored Gilbert plumbers are standing by to assist with all of your residential and commercial plumbing needs, day or night. Each of our technicians enjoy serving our community to our gold standard. Our commitment to providing a Gold Star experience allows us to build long lasting relationships with our customers based on trust, quality service and fair pricing. To us, that’s what it means to be a superior Gilbert plumber.



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