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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Plumbing & Waterproofing > Replacing Galvanized Pipes

Replacing Galvanized Pipes Cost


How Much Does Replacing Galvanized Pipes Cost?

 
average costPlastic Pipes: $1,500-$8,000+high costCopper Pipes: $2,500-$15,000+
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Galvanized steel pipes were common in U.S. homes until copper became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Although galvanized pipes are coated inside and out to prevent rust, they rust inside and will corrode over time, causing a build-up that restricts the flow of water, and/or the pipe may leak. Galvanized pipes are typically replaced with PEX, PVC-CPVC or copper pipes. Typically the new pipes will be installed first, the water supply transferred to the new system and then the old pipes will be drained and abandoned in place.

Typical costs:

  • Re-plumbing an average house with 1- to 2-1/2 bathrooms can cost $1,500-$15,000 or more, depending on the size of the house and the type of new pipes being installed. Re-piping costs are typically based on the number of fixtures, with each sink, bathtub, shower, toilet, etc. counting as one fixture. However, there is no standard per-fixture formula for predicting costs because there are so many factors that affect prices: the size of the house and the number of fixtures; whether it's one story or two; if the holes in the walls and ceilings will be repaired and repainted or left open; and ease of access (if there's a basement, crawlspace or slab foundation).
  • Re-piping a house with plastic pipes -- either PEX (flexible plastic tubing made of cross-linked polyethylene) or CPVC (rigid plastic plies made of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) -- typically costs $1,500-$8,000 or more, depending on the number of fixtures. The choice of PEX or CPVC tends to vary by region, with PEX more common on the West Coast and CPVC more common in the East. For example, Pete Rodriguez of Atlantic Re-Plumbing[1] in Virginia says he typically uses CPVC for re-plumbing jobs and estimates a typical a 2-1/2-bath house with 12-13 fixtures would cost about $3,700, including repairing and repainting any wall or ceiling holes. Repipe1 in California typically uses PEX, estimating a 2-bathroom home (2 complete bathrooms, 1 water heater hookup, 1 washer hookup and 1 kitchen sink) starts at $3,499, with the walls left paint-ready. For more details, see PVC-CPVC and PEX.
  • Re-plumbing with copper pipes can cost $2,500-$15,000 or more, depending on the number of fixtures and ease of access -- and prices can vary significantly over time depending on the price of copper[2] , which historically fluctuates but recently has mostly just risen. Although there have been problems with pinhole leaks in copper pipes in locations with acidic water, in most areas copper remains the premium material for plumbing pipes, and typically costs more than plastic pipes. For example, Pete Rodriguez of Atlantic Re-Plumbing[3] in Virginia says a 2-1/2-bathroom house with 12-13 fixtures that costs about $3,700 to re-plumb with CPVC would start at about $4,500 in copper, and could cost more. At Repipe1 in California, Danny Zilberberg says the 2-bath house that costs $3,499 in PEX would be more than $5,000 with copper pipes.
Related articles: PVC or CPVC Pipes, Replacing Copper Pipes, Re-Piping a House, Plumber

What should be included:
  • A contractor will typically do a thorough inspection of the house before submitting a bid. Re-piping a house takes 1-5 working days and can require cutting 8-20 or more holes in the walls and ceilings. Usually the water will be turned back on each evening and the homeowners will be able to stay in the house during the re-plumbing. Copper typically takes longer or more workers to install than PEX or CPVC pipes. For example, Repipe1 in California typically schedules one day for any re-plumbing project, but uses a three-member crew to install PEX and a five-member or larger crew for copper pipes.
Additional costs:
  • A local permit is typically required. The city of Hercules, CA, posts its re-piping inspection checklist[4] describing common code violations in re-plumbing projects. Permit fees vary, but typically cost $70-$400. This may be included in a contractor's bid or be an additional charge. The contractor may also charge $50-$150 to be present during required inspections by the local building or planning department.
Shopping for replacing galvanized pipes:
  • ProToolReviews.com lists tips for choosing between CPVC, PEX and Copper pipes[5] . Get several estimates and ask about specific experience with re-piping a house.
  • Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, or search for local companies through the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association[6] . Make sure the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed[7] ; ask for and check references; and look for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[8] .
  • A written contract should include a detailed outline of the work required and materials to be used, whether the company will be doing the work or subcontracting any of the project, and the dates within which the project will be done.
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External Resources:
  1.  atlanticreplumbing.com/CopperGalvanized/CopperRepipe/tabid/531/Default.aspx
  2.  www.mongabay.com/commodities/prices/copper.php
  3.  atlanticreplumbing.com/CopperGalvanized/CopperRepipe/tabid/531/Default.aspx
  4.  www.ci.hercules.ca.us/index.aspx?page=103
  5.  www.protoolreviews.com/news/cpvc-copper-pex-tubing/3665
  6.  www.phccweb.org/applications/ContractorReferral/search.cfm?navItemNumber=532
  7.  www.contractors-license.org/
  8.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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