Whether or not you should replace your home's clay pipe system may be a difficult decision because of the cost or the inconvenience or both. But if you have enough information about clay pipes and other options that are available - it may be an easier decision for you.

Are Clay Pipes Bad?

Many older homes (originally built before and including the 1930's) in the Atlanta, Georgia area were built with clay sewer pipes. This was not unusual at the time but since then, we have developed newer and better types of pipes that can last longer.

Clay pipes are not necessarily "bad" but there are much better options today that can lost longer and cost less.

Pros And Cons Of Clay Pipes

Generally speaking, clay pipes are "bad" - there simply are better options available today. But here is a list of the pros and cons if you are considering replacing your clay sewer pipes.

Pros - clay pipes are...

  • environmentally friendly
  • generally resistive to chemical erosion

Cons - clay pipes are...

  • generally more expensive
  • brittle
  • very heavy (so they require more manpower to work with)
  • prone to attracting and being broken into by roots

How Long Do Clay Sewer Pipes Last?

On average, clay sewer pipes have a lifespan of anywhere from 50 to 60 years. When you compare that to other types of pipes - clay falls somewhere in the middle as far as lifespans of pipes go.

Here is a list of the normal lifespan of other types of pipes for comparison.

  • Clay - 50 to 60 years
  • Polybutylene - 10 to 15 years
  • Galvanized Steel - 20 to 50 years
  • Pex - 40 years
  • Brass - 40 to 70 years
  • Copper - 50 to 70 years
  • PVC - 75 years
  • Cast Iron - 75 to 100 years
  • Lead - 100 years

If you do end up deciding to re-pipe your home, your plumber can discuss with you the pros and cons of each of these different types of materials and of course, the cost difference.

When Should Sewer Pipes Be Replaced?

Most homeowners replace their sewer pipes only if they have to and that can rely on two main issues.

  1. The age of the pipes - as you can see above each type of material has a different lifespan and if your sewer pipes have reached or exceeded their expected lifespan then it seems it would be prudent to replace them.
  2. Chronic problems - if your sewer pipes are giving you chronic problems then it may end up costing you much less to replace them than to constantly repair them.

If you have any questions about clay sewer pipes or are considering replacing them, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.