A Contractor’s Guide to Choosing Plastic Pipes

Published October 6th, 2020 by Rose Building Contractors, Inc.

As a contractor, it is essential that you stay on top of the trends while also being up-to-date on new innovations.  

If you work on projects that require pipe installation, you want to make sure you have all the necessary knowledge to advise your clients appropriately. This means knowing what pipe materials are on the market, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.  

It also requires you to have a good working relationship with your pipe supplier and an understanding of your client's needs.  

From the benefits of HDPE pipes and fittings to the importance of your plastic pipe supplier, keep reading to learn everything you need to know as a contractor when choosing pipes.

1. Your client's needs

First and foremost, you have to take into account your client's needs. As, in some cases, your choices may be limited depending on their specifications.

When you first meet with your client, make sure to ask them specific questions to ensure that you fully understand the problem they need you to address. Often, your clients won't have the necessary vocabulary or knowledge to thoroughly describe the issue, so it is up to you to piece it together.

From this initial conversation, you should ascertain when the problem started, descriptive information, and what they have done (if anything) to attempt to fix the pipe-related issue.

In most cases, your client will want to choose the option that saves them the most money. Therefore, the more you can understand about the problem from the get-go, the quicker you will be able to provide them with potential solutions.  

For this reason, you also want to offer them several solutions that they can weigh carefully. Don't be afraid to give your opinion on the best pipe solutions, as you are an expert with plenty of experience!

2. Your options

When it comes to selecting a pipe material, there is a wide variety of types available for both residential and commercial buildings. While in the past, most pipes were made from galvanized steel or cast-iron; today, there are plenty of different material options with some of the best being formed from plastic

One of the newest and most exciting pipe materials on the market is PEX (cross-linked polyethylene). As it is sturdy enough to endure water pressure but flexible enough to weave throughout most spaces (90-degree curves are possible), this material is ideal for water pipes. Additionally, this material is easy to cut, attaches with several types of fittings, and is able to join with copper pipes. However, this material's long-term capabilities haven't been tested, and it can't be recycled

Another popular option is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a lightweight material that is much easier to work with than steel or copper. PVC pipes are excellent for longer routes (such as irrigation) and moderately easy to install thanks to their flexibility and watertight joints. What is more, this PVC is a non-toxic and safe material which is appealing to most homeowners. 

Finally, for many projects, HDPE (high-density polyethylene) pipes are the most suitable as this material is strong, durable, flexible, and lightweight. For this reason, HDPE pipes are employed in various projects, ranging from municipal to industrial, energy, residential, mining, landfill, HVAC, and agricultural. An additional benefit of HDPE is that it is the most environmentally-friendly option as the material is non-toxic, corrosion, and chemical resistant, and it boasts a long lifespan. Therefore, if your clients are concerned about the sustainability of their choices, HDPE is the best option. 

3. Your budget

When deciding between pipe materials, you also need to consider the project's budget as each type of material has a different cost associated with it. For example, rigid copper pipes and flexible copper pipes are extremely expensive, which decreases the likelihood of it being the right choice.  

On the other hand, plastic pipes tend to be the most economical options as they are much cheaper while remaining high-quality. Not only are the materials themselves inexpensive, but the installation costs are usually quite low as well. Therefore, opting for plastic pipes will help ensure that your client is agreeable to the project costs and satisfied with the result. 

Ideally, you will have an optimal relationship with your plastic pipe supplier in order to offer your client the highest-quality pipes at the most competitive price. This is how you will win more contracts and grow your business by determining a suitable profit margin.    

4. Your supplier

Once you have ascertained what type of pipe is right for the project and the amount of material required, it is time to get in contact with your pipe supplier.  

Whether you are looking for a new pipe supplier or are happy with your current one, it is crucial that you routinely conduct a supplier review

By conducting a supplier review, you can ensure that you are partnering with the right supplier, with the right products, and the current best practices. After all, in order for you to be the best in the business, you need to be working with others who are the best in their category. 

After conducting one of these reviews, you may find that another supplier is a better fit regarding how they manage their supply, service, and pricing.

When looking for a supplier, the most important thing to consider is how they can assist you in achieving your goals

The best suppliers want to help facilitate your success and demonstrate this by being aware of the market and giving you feedback on how you can improve your business. Of course, they also must have high-quality products at a reasonable price, and they must always treat you with respect.  

In other words, it is imperative that you choose the best plastic pipes supplier in your area, as they will significantly affect how well you can run your own contracting business.  

What do you think are the most important things to know as a contractor choosing pipes? Do you ever have challenges convincing your clients to make the most suitable choice? 


Sudheer TR is the Managing Director at Polyfab Plastic Industry LLC, experts in high quality, technologically advanced plastic piping solutions in the UAE. The combination of academic interest, field exposure and market experience of 15 years has given Sudheer the force to harness cutting-edge technologies in today's most rigorous construction environment.

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