What is Polybutylene Pipe? Essential Guide for Atlanta Homeowners

What is Polybutylene Pipe

Table of Contents

What is Polybutylene Pipe?

When it comes to the plumbing system in your Atlanta home, understanding the materials used can help you make informed decisions about maintenance and replacements. One material that often raises questions is polybutylene pipe. In this article, we’ll learn some more about what is polybutylene pipe, their history, and why it’s important for Atlanta homeowners to be aware of them.

Background Information

Polybutylene pipe, commonly referred to as “PB pipe,” was a popular choice for plumbing systems from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. Residential and commercial buildings across the United States, including many homes in Atlanta, widely utilize PB pipes due to their low cost and ease of installation.

How Popular Are Polybutylene Pipes Today?

Despite its initial popularity, polybutylene piping has fallen out of favor due to its tendency to fail unexpectedly. Modern plumbing systems now rely on more durable materials like PEX or copper, but many older homes in Atlanta still have PB piping, which can pose significant risks.

Beneficial Insights

The Risks of Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene pipes are prone to degradation from chlorine and other disinfectants found in public water supplies. Over time, these chemicals can cause the pipes to become brittle and crack, leading to leaks and potential water damage.

Identifying What is Polybutylene Pipe in Your Home

If you built your home between the late 1970s and mid-1990s, it likely contains PB piping. These pipes, which are typically gray, blue, or black, can often be found in basements, crawl spaces, and near water heaters. Identifying these pipes early can help you plan for necessary replacements.

Replacing polybutylene pipes

While replacing polybutylene pipes can be an investment, it’s crucial for preventing future water damage and potential health risks. Modern alternatives like PEX are not only more durable but also offer better performance and peace of mind for homeowners.

Breakdown of Key Concepts

Polybutylene Pipe Composition

Polybutylene is a type of plastic resin that was considered revolutionary in the plumbing industry for its flexibility and ease of installation. However, its chemical vulnerability makes it unsuitable for long-term use.

Common Issues with PB Pipes

The main issues with PB pipes include brittleness, micro-fractures, and eventual pipe bursts. These problems often occur without warning, making regular inspections crucial for homes with PB plumbing.

Alternatives to Polybutylene Pipes

Today, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) and copper pipes are the preferred choices for plumbing. These materials are resistant to corrosion and chemical damage, providing a more reliable and long-lasting solution.

Bringing in Data

Statistic 1: Failure Rates

Studies have shown that polybutylene pipes have a failure rate as high as 70% in homes equipped with these systems. This alarming statistic underscores the importance of addressing PB pipes in older homes.

Statistic 2: Replacement Costs

The cost of replacing polybutylene pipes in an average home can range from \$2,500 to \$15,000, depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the plumbing system.

Statistic 3: Home Insurance Implications

Many home insurance companies now refuse to cover homes with polybutylene pipes due to the high risk of failure and subsequent water damage claims.

Comparison of Pipe Materials

Pipe Material Durability Cost Installation Ease Common Issues
Polybutylene Low Low Easy Brittleness, cracking
PEX High Medium Moderate None significant
Copper High High Moderate Corrosion in acidic water

Modern Day Examples

Example 1: Atlanta Home with PB Pipes

During a home inspection, an Atlanta homeowner discovered polybutylene pipes. By replacing them with PEX, they avoided potential water damage and increased their home’s value.

Example 2: Water Damage Incident

A family experienced a major water leak due to a burst PB pipe, resulting in thousands of dollars in repair costs. This incident highlights the importance of proactive pipe replacement.


In conclusion, understanding the risks associated with polybutylene pipes is essential for Atlanta homeowners. By identifying and replacing these pipes with modern alternatives, you can protect your home from unexpected water damage and improve its overall safety and value. If you suspect your home has polybutylene pipes, don’t wait for a disaster to strike. Contact PB Pipe Guys today for a comprehensive inspection and expert advice on the best replacement options. Ensure the safety and longevity of your home’s plumbing system by understanding what is polybutylene pipe—schedule your consultation now!


Corey Hayes

Corey is a seasoned marketing professional with over two decades of experience in small business marketing, dedicating 15 years of his illustrious career to elevating brands including the PB Pipe Guys. His expertise and visionary approach have been pivotal in shaping the company's market presence and success.

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