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Disadvantages of Pex Plumbing

PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material and is popular, along with copper, as a choice for piping in homes and for potable water. Problems with lead pipes and other materials led to many people choosing PEX over others. PEX has a lot of advantages such as 60% cheaper than copper for projects and it is flexible. Unfortunately, as with most things there are disadvantages.

What are the disadvantages of PEX plumbing? Since it is a plastic material, rodents seem to like to chew on it. Also, it can’t be used outdoors because it doesn’t like the UV rays or the cold weather, as well as it can’t be recycled (although you can paint the portions that are exposed to sunlight). Additionally, it cannot be connected directly to a water heater and must have a copper line to attach itself to.

Let’s take a look at why you need to know about these pipes, the advantages, the disadvantages, other options, maintenance, and when to call a professional.

Why Knowing About the Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing is Important

In life, we have a lot of choices to make. Some of them are related to our home, while others may be what we want to buy at the grocery store or what kind of car we want to drive. However, when it comes to piping inside the home, there are choices.

As mentioned earlier, the two most popular are copper and PEX. If you are looking for outdoor plumbing or worried about rodents getting a hold of your pipes, then PEX is not for you. We will discuss the advantages but also disadvantages of PEX plumbing and then you can decide for yourself what is best for you.

Advantages of PEX Plumbing

There are several advantages to PEX plumbing. Let’s take a look:

1. Adaptable and Easy to Use

It is a flexible material that can be used in long pipe runs, doesn’t require as many fittings as other pipes, and can make 90 degree turns without elbow fittings. It also has an advantage over rigid plumbing in that if there are freezing temperatures, then the pipes can expand and making it less likely to burst. Many new home construction and existing home contractors like this material to use. It can even be used in the exterior of a home that is cold if it has foam insulation wrapped around it.

2. PEX Connection is Easier

PEX can be connected easier than copper or PVC. While copper requires soldering and PVC requires glue, PEX uses a crimping tool.

Shut off valve on PEX

3. PEX Has a Shut Off Valve and More Resistant to Chemicals

Another advantage of PEX is the material is less likely to corrode from a humid environment. Unlike copper, which can corrode in salty environments and eventually leak.

4. Lead Free and Can Be Used in Hot and Cold Water

Not only is PEX lead-free, but it has the ability to be used in hot and cold water. Other materials don’t always perform well in both temperatures of water. Additionally, it can have an adapter attached to it to connect to the existing copper or PVC pipe.

Mouse in a pipe

Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing

As the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to talk about these.

1. The Material Does Not Work Outside in Freezing Temperature Climates

PEX plumbing is fine inside the walls of a home, no matter the temperatures as it can be covered with insulation. However, one of the disadvantages of PEX plumbing is it cannot be used outdoors in cold climates as there is no way to cover them and protect them from freezing temperatures.

2. Rodents Like the Plastic Pipes

Depending on where you live, your neighborhood may have a rule that says you can’t use PEX pipes. This is often seen in rural areas or in cities as trash around the city can lead to a large number of rodents.

The rodents then look for ways into a home and often chew through pipes like these. The good thing is you can call a professional to get rid of rodents before they cause too much damage. This is something to think about if there is a problem in your area.

3. Some Pex Types Have Had Issues

It is not entirely confirmed yet, but some professionals do not like Pex as it too closely resembles polybutylene. Ultimately, Pex is still relatively new so it has some time to officially prove itself as reputable piping.

Copper pipes

Other Options for Materials: Copper Pipes and CPVC

Copper and PEX are the two most popular materials for pipes, but ranking up there too is CPVC.

Here is a great video that compares Copper, PEX, and CPVC

Copper Pipes

Fifty to seventy years is a long time for pipes, but copper pipes can last that long, depending on the type of pipe. There are three types: Type K, L, M. Type L is used in residential homes and is more cost-effective than the other two. It has medium thickness and best for carrying drinking water. Also, it is highly recommended by plumbers and perfect for residential homes. Lastly, it also can last sometimes up to 100 years in ideal conditions.

There are two types of copper pipes:

Rigid Copper– this is a material that is used for the water supply in a house or building. It is cut into pieces and can be soldered together.

Flexible Copper Tubing – it is malleable, used in short runs, and is flexible.

Copper Versus PEX

Copper is different than PEX in that the pipe material can be recycled. However, the disadvantages are that it is expensive. This type of material costs about $285 for 100 feet of piping compared to PEX which is $30 per 100 feet. That is a big difference in price!

CPVC

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride also known as CPVC is a lot like PVC except that CPVC is chlorinated and allows it to be able to deal with the extreme hot and cold temperatures that PVC cannot.

CPVC has a long life, is easy to use, and cheaper than copper at $1.24 per foot. It can also tolerate up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for the temperature of the water. The only negative is it is not flexible like Pex.

water leak in ceiling

Maintenance Around the House

We all spend a lot of time in our kitchen so when you are in there, check to see if there is a leaking kitchen sink drain. Often we don’t know unless we hear water or we reach under the sink and there is a puddle or the cleaning supplies are wet.

Check around the home for water leaks in the wall. If you see wet spots or mold or mildew or hear water running, you may have a water leak and need to call a professional.

Take a look at your homeowner’s inspection report to see what type of pipes you have. If they are polybutylene, then you need to replace the pipes. These will wear out quickly and cause leaks or they will burst.

Consult your water bill and check your yard for any signs of leaky pipes. Signs would be your bill is higher than usual, also that there may be cracked pavement or sinkholes.

Go over to your water heater and flush it every six months to make sure it stays clean. You will also want to adjust the temperature and reset.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you have questions about the type of pipes to use, what kind you have in your home or any other issues. They know what will work well in the home. If you hire someone with experience and has the credentials, the pipes should be installed correctly.

Conclusion

Knowing about the piping in your home is important. You want to know what what you have or plan to get is appropriate for where you live. Talk to a professional for recommendations. Waypoint Property Inspection East will inspect your plumbing system during your home inspection in South Florida and Boca Raton, FL.

Cost to Build a Boat Dock : What You Need to Know

Houses by the water are amazing and the view is beautiful. If you are looking for a home by the water and there is a dock, you are lucky! If not, you may need to build one. What is the cost to build a boat dock? It depends on the material that is used and the difficulty to install. They range from $1000 to $75,000. Maybe the home has a boat dock already? If it does, that is great! However, you do want to have an inspection before purchase. If you find there are a lot of issues, you may need to build one again.

Let’s take a look at why you need to know the cost to build a boat dock, types of boat docks, building your own boat dock, an inspection of the boat dock, what is checked, cost of the inspection, what the environment does to the dock, maintenance, the seller of waterfront property, other areas to check, and when to call a professional.

Why You Need to Know the Cost to Build a Boat Dock

It is important to know the cost of a dock so you can see if it fits in your budget. There are various materials that can be used for docks and also companies in various parts of the U.S. will charge different rates. Also, before starting any project, check with zoning boards to see if the type of dock you want to install is allowed in your area. Take a look below at the various types of docks.

Floating dock
Floating Dock

Types of Boat Docks

There are several types of docks with various materials. Let’s take a look

Floating Docks

A floating dock is decking that is over airtight barrels or drums. They float in the water and best used in lakes or where the water is still and moves up and down. They are not good in places like rivers or the ocean because the water is continuously flowing. It is easier to maintain, costs about $25-35 per square foot.

piling dock

Piling Docks

These are built with wooden pilings and very sturdy. Unlike the floating dock, they stay in one place and held together with wooden beams. They are aesthetically pleasing to look at. Ranging from $20-40 per square foot, they can be even higher with features added on. More difficult to install than a floating dock, but they allow the owner to add electrical components to it for a boat lift or moorings.

Pipe Dock

This resembles the piling docks but uses plastic piping instead. It is best for shallow water and uses a prefabricated pipe. They range from $1000-2000 but that doesn’t include the installation which may add on another $1000. A pipe dock is better for those looking to have a fishing dock or a place to lounge. It is not ideal for a boat.

Crib Docks

This type of dock uses a large container with rocks and then has decking put on top of it. It is good to use in water less than 10 feet. The most expensive type of dock as it is depends on the size, boardwalk, decking, and installation. A wooden underwater frame holds it all together and it looks like a man-made island. In some environments, it can last many years and never need replacing.

Suspension Dock

A suspension dock is like a suspension bridge and hangs over the water. A professional or homeowner will find it to be complicated and take a long time as it needs plans drawn by an engineer. The positives of this dock are it has a low environmental impact and is aesthetically pleasing. The negatives are that they are expensive and difficult to build. They work well in areas with an underwater ecosystem that is fragile and also with lower water levels.

Now you know the type of dock that sounds good to you. However, think about the climate, the depth of water, if flooding is possible, and your budget. These factors may make your decision easier or more difficult.

Building Your Own Boat Dock

If you are thinking about building a dock on your own, here is a guide. However, we do recommend using a professional.

boat dock

Inspection of the Boat Dock

Why and what is a boat dock inspection? A dock is subject to the environment and weather makers and it is hard to tell what is going on with it structurally without an inspection. It is different than a home inspection and requires a different inspector. A dock inspection also involves looking at structural components, utility systems, and appurtenances. An underwater inspection is also needed. A home inspector can do a visual inspection but a more extensive one will need to be done by a marine inspector.

Why do you need the dock inspected? It needs inspecting in order to close out the permit and for safety issues. If you live in a home that already has a dock or looking to buy a home with a dock, an inspection is important.

What is Checked in a Boat Dock Inspection

A major dock inspection should be every five years and a visual inspection every year according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. The areas that are checked as mentioned above are the structural components, utility systems, and appurtenances.

A home inspector will view the dock from the ground, instead of from the water. Here is a list of what the inspector will look for. It is worth your time to go to the inspection so you can find out what needs fixing or what to monitor. If it is found there may be more extensive damage, an inspector will recommend you find a marine inspector to take a look more thoroughly from the water.

Cost of a Boat Dock Inspection

A dock inspection can cost $50 -100 if combined with a home inspection. If it is separate, it can be a few hundred dollars. Later in the blog we talk about how to find a good home inspector and when you are looking for one, ask if they do dock inspections to save you some money.

What the Environment Does to the Boat Dock

The environment and mother nature can wreck havoc on a dock. Here are some examples:

  • Undermining caused by natural erosion
  • Hydrostatic Pressures
  • Poor Drainage
  • Soil pH Balance
  • Wood Boring Insects
  • Wear and Tear Suffered During Hurricane Season
  • Inadequate Original Installation
  • Corrosion from Water and Sand
  • Rot and General Deterioration

Maintenance of the Boat Dock

Yearly Maintenance

Yearly, take a look to see if the dock needs repainting. Doing this can help extend the life of the structure. Also, it helps with rot resistance as rot can wear down a deck or any structure faster.

Wood decking requires more maintenance than aluminum decking. It has oils and tannins to keep the insects and decay from moving in but also needs a good power washing every year. This is especially true if it has a lot of bird poop on it as well. Every three to four years it will be a good idea to stain the wood. In addition to rotting, unfortunately, this type of material can warp, decay, and twist if not taken care of.

Aluminum material seems to do well and requires very little maintenance.

Waterfront home

When You Are the Seller of Waterfront Property With a Dock

If you are the seller of waterfront property with a dock, you can do a pre-listing home inspection. As stated above, the home inspector can do a visual dock inspection, but you can also hire a marine inspector to inspect the dock more thoroughly. This will be a win-win for you as the seller and for the buyer.

What is the benefit of a pre-listing inspection? You find out the areas that need fixing as they will come up in the buyer’s home inspection report and you can decide if you want to fix them or not. Additionally, it often makes the process of selling a home go faster, and there are no negotiations. Lastly, you will also find out what needs fixing or to monitor on the dock from the marine inspector.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

Not sure how to choose a home inspector? Take a look here at what makes a good one!

If the home inspection report shows there are necessary repairs for the home or the dock, you can walk away.

sea wall

Other Areas to Check

If you have a seawall, you will need to check that to make sure it is intact and doesn’t need replacing. Also, many homes on the water also have a swimming pool. If you notice you are losing 1/4 inch of water or more per day, you need to perform the bucket test with the directions here. You may notice soggy grass or pooling water so it is important to check it before summer so you can fix any issues.

The soggy grass or pooling water or even sink holes in the yard can signal a water leak underground. Get this looked at immediately as there can be other issues lurking.

When to Contact a Professional

Contact a professional if you need a dock inspected, notice any issues around the dock, or want to build a dock. An inspector with experience will be beneficial to you.

Conclusion

If you are one of the lucky ones to have a dock with a home, you want to preserve it as long as possible. It is expensive to repair or replace so keeping an eye on it and maintenance is the way to go. We can inspect a dock while doing a home inspection in the Boca Raton and surrounding areas. Think you might need our services? Leave us a reply below!