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September 17, 2018

Steel Pipes vs. Plastic Pipes: Which is the Better Construction Material

What factors come into play when choosing between steel pipes and plastic pipes for construction?

  1. Understanding steel pipes
  2. Knowing the uses of steel pipes
  3. Understanding plastic pipes
  4. Knowing the uses of plastic pipes
  5. The size and scope of a construction project

Pipes are primarily used in plumbing and a lot of other things that need a path for some sort of liquid or any other material to flow through. As with any other construction material out there, they can be made out of plastic or steel. In the Philippines, there is a great deal of difference for each application of the two—and as it stands, steel pipes and plastic pipes have their own separate uses, but they can sometimes be interchanged depending on the project.

With that in mind, which of the two is better for the big projects — the projects which would need specific properties in order to work?

Steel pipes have been in use since the industrial revolution when the steel industry boomed. But the rise of plastic pipes has posed a threat to steel pipe manufacturers particularly because they can be used in some applications where steel is not the best option.

So if you are looking for some piping, take a look at the difference between the two to find out which one of them is the better construction material!

Steel Pipes

As mentioned above, the primary use of pipes is for the transport of liquids. Steel pipes are no different. There are many different classifications of steel pipes such as copper, stainless, and a multitude of alloys which are manufactured for a specific task at hand. These times have produced improvements in the steel industry, making steel pipes one of the go-to products for specific applications.

Uses of Steel Pipes

Uses of Steel Pipes

There are two main uses for steel pipes—structural and transport. When it comes to construction, steel pipes are more commonly referred to as steel tubes. These steel pipes are used to provide additional reinforcements to foundations, form works among others. A more specific purpose is piling where steel tubes are inserted deep into the ground or sea before any kind of foundation is laid so as to provide stability and security.

Steel pipes are also used as guard rails and scaffolding poles in most construction sites.  This is because these pipes can be customized to look aesthetically pleasing as well as be connectable with each other. In some cases, steel pipes are also used as bollards to cut off an area from vehicle traffic to protect buildings, infrastructure, and of course the people on the other side.

Steel pipes are used for the transport of products such as water, oil, gas, and sewage because of its relatively high strength and durability. Some low-pressure applications don’t need particularly strong pipes because they aren’t exposed to any significant stresses. There are also steel pipes which require incredibly high durability and strength, as well as high wall thickness to support the flow of some hazardous products.

Plastic Pipes

Humans have made it their goal to make an ideal material that can be useful in almost all aspects of living. And so far, plastic is the result of this scientific experiment. Plastic pipes have been around since the mid-90s and have become a staple in plumbing systems ever since. Only recently, with the many advancements that it has gotten has it become a viable alternative to steel pipes for the transport of more hazardous and high-pressure goods.

Uses of Plastic Pipes

Uses of Plastic Pipes

As mentioned, the primary use of plastic pipes, for now, is as the plumbing system for most establishments. Though it is also being used for the transport of materials and moldings, steel still has a small edge over it mainly durability over the long term.

Plastic pipes are the preferred kind of pipe to be used in plumbing systems because of its lightweight and very flexible structure. It’s also corrosion resistant and easier to install in many areas of a building. Hence for water transport, plastic pipes have a following.

Steel Pipes Over Plastic Pipes

When it comes to construction purposes, steel pipes—being something that is already being used regularly—is the better choice over plastic pipes. Although plastic pipes are the better option for smaller applications that require flexibility to it, they still don’t have the strength or durability to match what steel pipes give to construction projects.

Both steel pipes and plastic pipes each have their own strengths. However, in applications that require a more concentrated strength of materials to withstand pressure, anti-corrosive properties, and longevity, steel pipes are the best. For some electrical moldings and other non-critical applications, plastic pipes are a great choice.

Key Takeaway

In the Philippines, steel pipes and plastic pipes are both manufactured to cater to different applications. Though they are both pipes, they can be used in different ways which take advantage of their innate characteristics. If you’re looking to use pipes for construction, plumbing, or for a DIY project, make sure you choose the right kind of pipe!

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