Does your home have Polybutylene plumbing?

This Blog update will be bringing you current and relevant issues for the purchase, renovation, and resale (sale) of homes in the Virginia Beach area.

Did you know there are many homes in the Virginia Beach that STILL have Polybutylene plumbing? Whole neighborhoods were built with this plumbing and only a small number have had them replaced. When you sell a home the Home inspector will know which neighborhoods have them.  The inspector will specifically look to see if they were replaced. Polybutylene plumbing was used extensively in the area for water supply piping starting around 1978 until 1995. Polybutylene plumbing and piping is a form of plastic resin that was inexpensive to use. It also had/has lots of problems and many homeowners don’t even know they have it. If you are selling a home and the piping is found most likely the new buyer will want them replaced. This is a maintenance effort that will cost between 5k and 10k (lots of factors involved). No plumber will give you a quote without looking closely at the job.

polybutylene Pipes
picture of polybutylene Pipes

Information online

If you google this you will find a whole lot of data and many of the articles. The problem is they talk about it but will not spell out how bad this is. So, let me put it in simple terms. If you have polybutylene pipes in your plumbing, they are deteriorating from the inside out from the day they were installed until they fail. Yes, basically it ends up being when and not if. A lot of people get into big discussion about phase 1 or phase 2 piping. The difference is basically the connectors used to assemble your plumbing system. The phase 1 connecters were installed INCORRECTLY more often than not and this was the original problems with bursting. Phase two connectors are much better. The pipes themselves are simply deteriorating in place and will eventually fail and cause a major leak. However, every pipe on the market today is basically deteriorating from the inside out, some deteriorate from both the inside and outside making problems easier to see.

Professional Help

I am in the rehab business and see lots of homes where the pipe failed and only a small section was replaced; the area with obvious problems. As a homeowner you should know what type of piping you have in your home, and you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of pipe used for your main water supply. Yes, each type of pipe has its advantages and disadvantages so you should ask your plumber the pluses and minuses of each type. Why do I recommend a plumber for his/her opinion? These are the professionals that do daily repairs to homes in your area and KNOW from first-hand experience what works and what does not, believe me they know more than just the CODE for a proper installation. While I consider myself a handyman that can do lots of different home repairs the opinion of professionals is very valuable. A local professional has most likely worked in your Virginia Beach neighborhood multiple times, and he/she can easily tell you how often they see problems from this type of piping.

This is Tim Blogging to you from Pink Pearl Real Estate hoping to pass on some useful information.

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