Cost of Replacing Polybutylene Pipe

Cost of replacing polybutylene pipes may be different in your area. Piping has become a significant concern for all homeowners since ages immemorial. Of course, we all aspire to have a functional and smooth-running plumbing system in our homes and business areas. But since permanent houses may last over 100 years, we often find ourselves buying older homes.

Building a house from scratch proves expensive to most people. The struggle involved in the construction process may push most of us into settling for an already built house.

One challenge that older homes presented was the plumbing issue, especially those made in the mid and late 20th centuries. During those days, most current plumbing products were not available.

Between 1970 and 1995, most home builders used Polybutylene (PB) pipes in their plumbing systems. Your home would have these pipes supplying water and running the sewer system too.

At the time, Polybutylene pipes got viewed as the savior of the plumbing system. They had replaced most copper pipes, and most people found them the perfect replacement.

Most of America, Britain, and Asian countries used PB pipes in their construction projects. These pipes gained popularity and shared a liking in the people who wanted to invest in good houses. But as we often say, time has a way of defining things.

In 1996, these beloved pipes were no longer the desired plumbing solution that people anticipated. The problems that arose in the plumbing industry led to people looking at ways of replacing these PB pipes. And this brings us to the discussion in this article:

What is the cost of replacing Polybutylene pipe?


As we try to answer this question, you might be wondering what was wrong with these once loved pipes. Why were people all of a sudden in a rush to replace the PB pipes?

As the pipes entered 1996, people started experiencing massive plumbing failures. It was so bad that insurance companies were in trouble with homeowners.

It got favored in the late twentieth century because at a temperature of 109 degrees Celsius; it could be compressed, molded, or even welded easily. It could last for a long time, and since it was stress-resistant, most people found it the perfect copper pipe replacement.

Polybutylene has other uses apart from piping which includes the following:

  • Hot Polybutylene works perfectly as a melt adhesive. Hot Polybutylene serves as the perfect adhesive in the construction industry, being oil and mineral resistant.
  • Polybutylene forms the best plastic packaging. It does not react with oils and other additives, so the structure remains stable and ideal for a wide variety of packaging items.
  • Polybutylene will get used in water heaters with zero downtimes. Although these pipes could wear out after some time, they accommodate high water temperatures. Therefore, if you feel you may later replace them without issue, they serve long in the water heating system.
  • Polybutylene serves as a perfect electrical insulator. Since in plumbing, Polybutylene gets affected by chlorine found in the water, you may use it in the electrical system. In addition, these pipes will insulate your electric wires effectively, offering durability and easy affordability.
  • It makes rigid compounds flexible when used with these compounds during manufacturing processes.
  • Polybutylene has for years served as a great shoe sole product. Since it lasts longer, insulates against electrical shock, and may be affordable, most shoe companies find it a perfect sole for shoes.

What was the Polybutylene pipe lawsuit deadline?

Since Polybutylene pipes got installed in the prominent USA and German states between the 1970s and 1995, by 1996, most pipes were leaking.

By the early 21st century, it was a nightmare for most homeowners who had Polybutylene pipes installed in their plumbing system.

Not only was the leaking problem worse, but it also brought too much damage to homeowners. Imagine having leaking pipes that could threaten your furniture, house items, and your health.

In such a situation, you could efficiently conduct pneumonia and other bacterial infections. [1]

Since these property and life-threatening accusations were illegal, a lawsuit got issued against the construction department. The Polybutylene pipe lawsuit deadline got placed on May 1st, 2009.

After that, all homeowners who had Polybutylene pipes in their homes and other premises were to file replacement claims to the consumer plumbing recovery center (CPRC), which got established by the court to cater for the PB claims that ravished many states.

By filing the claims, homeowners were eligible for a PB pipes replacement if they were experiencing any leaks. These claims would also serve those who experienced leaks in the future or before the lawsuit.

What that means, if you had bought a house between January 1st, 1978, and July 31st, 1995, found out your home had PB pipes, and filled claims, you may claim for replacement even today.

In this court order, more than six million homes needed their pipes replaced. The replacement got conducted free of charge for the homeowners. Compensations to damage to property after qualified PB pipe leaks also got issued to homeowners.

Was there a Polybutylene pipe lawsuit in Maryland?

Like many homeowners in other parts of the world, Maryland, USA, was no exception. The government issued two years for homeowners with PB pipe plumbing to file replacement claims from 1995.

As a result, the Polybutylene pipe lawsuit in Maryland ended on August 21st of, 1997.

From there, filing a claim was tougher than if you had filed claims in the two years after the 1995 massive failure of Polybutylene pipes in the plumbing sector.

Should I buy a house with PB pipes?


After reading the following historical events surrounding the Polybutylene pipes, one could wonder:

“Should I buy a house with PB pipes?” Again, we try to answer this question more rationally.

What are the disadvantages you face after buying a house with or using Polybutylene pipes?

After some years, the pipes disintegrate and cause plumbing failure.

Just like we have seen on the historical events following the wide use of these pipes, you may also experience the same. Most of our homes have a chlorinated water supply. Chlorine and other water chemicals react with the Polybutylene pipes.

In response to the reactions, the pipes and fittings become brittle and burst, causing massive plumbing failure. Since every one of five homes in the 1970s to 1990s had Polybutylene, the collapse of the pipes caused the unimaginable loss.

Plumbing failure leads to property damage


When the pipes burst, they may temper with the building infrastructure. The water chemicals react with the building material and may lead to more damage if the house collapses. Water alone may seep into the bricks and wood material, causing tremendous damage.

If water, especially sewage from sewer drains, leak into your house furniture and other products, it may cause damage. In addition, replacing the furniture and other water-destroyed products may prove expensive.

Plumbing failure may lead to electrical shock.

Do you know that the electrical circuit and plumbing system might be in close installation routes? If these installations were close to each other, plumbing failure might cause these two routes to cross.

If water leaks into the electrical passages, it may cause shock to anyone using appliances in the house. In some other instances, fires and destruction of property may result from such incidences. The risk of loss of life remains high with electrocuting.

It may prove expensive to replace

Although these pipes were cheap to install, the replacement caused CPRC in the USA an expensive budget. Now consider that you find them affordable to install, and after a short period, you have to replace them all with a more expensive option. [2]

Not only will you have wasted resources, but you will also have wasted your time. The cost of installing and removing these pipes, plus the cost of purchasing the pipes, might be costly. PVC and PEX will make a perfect choice if you need replacement options.


Have you ever walked into a flooded home? You find that water has flooded all your floors and carpets without knowledge.

This scenario may not be a surprise, especially if you have Polybutylene pipes fitted in your home. If these pipes burst, you may find a situation you will not forget in your home.

As the water destroys and soaks everything in your home, flooding puts in the greatest electrocuting danger. You don’t want to die from your plumbing failure.

If heating makes the most significant point in installing these pipes, remember that CPVC pipes will allow any water heating in your home without fear of hot water failure. These CPVC pipes will withstand high water temperatures and guarantee durability and minimal bursting incidences.

Many insurance companies don’t insure against PB pipes.

Since the lawsuit instances, most insurance companies stopped insuring against plumbing failure if you chose a house with a PB plumbing system. So buying a home with a Polybutylene piping system will deny your house insurance.

In addition, insurance companies find these pipes expensive to replace and maintain. So, instead of buying a house with PB pipes, you may consider one with CPVC, PVC, or PEX pipes. Please don’t install the PB pipes in your housing project, too, because they might limit you when you seek to sell them.

So, should I buy a house with Polybutylene pipes?

After looking at some of the disadvantages of buying a house with PB pipes above, we may recommend you stay away from homes with PB pipes. They will cause a threat to your property the house itself and also put you at the risk of electrocution.

How do I replace Polybutylene pipe under the slab?

Now, if your sewer system went under the slab, or you had some pipes under your slab with Polybutylene pipes, you may get more disappointed.

If these pipes burst, water may start seeping into your floor, and you will find wet spots in places you couldn’t imagine finding water. If this happens, you get tasked with the duty to replace these pipes under the slab.

This replacement procedure may be the most challenging thing you face with your PB pipes. Follow through the following steps to increase the chances of a successful replacement.

  • Remove the floor of the area you notice the leaking. This process may involve digging through the slab to get to the pipes underneath.
  • Be very gentle to minimize chances of more plumbing damage
  • Use the house plumbing blueprints to determine the location of various pipes in the house
  • You may have to dig through walls and more floor areas to get to the main pipes supplying the under-slab pipes
  • Remove old and busted pipes while installing new ones
  • You may consider using the help of a professional plumber to help you navigate some plumbing challenges
  • After removing and reinstalling new pipes, you may repair the slab and the walls you pulled and dug through.
  • While at it, consider replacing the entire plumbing system using better and more durable pipes to prevent future floor leaks.

Can I replace Polybutylene pipes with PEX?


Do you want to find the best PB pipes replacement? PEX pipes will guarantee you a spectacular replacement experience. You will no longer live in fear of pipe failure, and you will qualify for most house insurances. While replacing the pipes, the following tips will be of importance.

  • Cut all the Polybutylene plumbing pipes in the house.
  • Remove these pipes carefully to maintain the pipe pathways.
  • Install new PEX pipes following the original PB routes in the plumbing system.
  • You may repeat this procedure under the slab too.
  • Open back the water and sewer supply after installing the new PEX pipes.
  • Run a test to ensure that all pipes function properly
  • Cover any damaged areas and enjoy the most durable and practical plumbing system.

Read Also: PEX vs Polybutylene

Final Thought

Polybutylene pipes got widely used in plumbing systems between the 1970s and 1995. Due to the massive plumbing failure experienced in homes using PB pipes, they came to a sudden plumbing stop.

Now, if you find a house with Polybutylene pipes, don’t invest in it. It may cause several plumbing issues that may cause life-threatening risks.

Polybutylene pipes may get used in other sectors comfortably, but we say no to these pipes running your plumbing and sewer systems. If you accidentally bought a house with these pipes without your knowledge, you may sue the housing company for plumbing replacement.

Remember that a professionally piped house with the appropriate pipes will make a happy and comfortable home.