Poly B Removal/Drywall Repairs

When was the last time you thought about what kind of plumbing your home has? Well, you probably haven't, unless you have had a leak. Did you know, however, that if your home has Poly-B (or Polybutylene) you may already have had to make some repairs or replace it through-out your home. You might have heard of this piping if you have run into an insurance company that will not insure your home if you have this type of plumbing material. Or maybe you know that you have this piping and you have never had a problem.  No-mattter where your knowledge falls you may still have some questions.  To start with you may want to know what Poly-B piping is, what it looks like, and why is this such an important issue? Some of your questions are answered below. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us.  

What is Poly-B (Polybutylene) Plumbing?

So how do you know if you have Poly-B? Let us give you the low down on this piping material. Poly-B is a gray plastic pipe that was installed for hot and cold supply piping in homes built between late 1970's and late 1990's.  It can easily be identified by it's light grey color and the permanent markings on the piping. At the time it was considered a great material to use, and it was cheaper than copper.  In time homes with Poly-B plumbing began to spring leaks, and at times these leaks would go un-detected behind the drywall.  You can imagine that this causes water damage to many areas, and not only water damage, but hidden mold as well.  There are many homes in Calgary that have this Poly B plumbing. 


Now that we have you thinking I bet you would like to know how you can find out if you have this type of piping.  Follow these steps to find out:


1) Determine when your home was built. If it was before 1974 and the home hasn't had any major plumbing renovations than you can stop now, you don't have this type of piping.


​2) In an unfinished area of your home where there are exposed water pipes, look for flexible grey tubing. (for example, in the bathroom under the sink, in your basement connected to the water meter or to a hot water tank, in your kitchen under the sink.) It would be a good idea to check a few different places as you may have copper piping in some areas and Poly-B in other areas.

Now what if you have found out that your home has Poly-B pipes and they look fine to you.  One of the issues with Poly-B piping is that it can be slowly deteriorating from the inside yet look fine on the outside. It could burst without any warning. 

You may wonder what causes these pipes to deteriorate and burst.  Well, there are many factors, but some of the main issues have been that it cannot handle high water pressure, hot water or chemicals like chlorine very well and this causes the break down of the piping material. 



What should you do when something goes wrong?

If you haven't had a problem yet it is very difficult to tell what condition Poly-B piping is in just by looking at it, as the damage generally starts on the inside where you can't see it.  Until, of course, it bursts and you are lucky enough to see that there has been some damage, or a lot of damage.  


It is recommended that you replace Poly-B pipes with something else (like PEX or copper). Our plumbing partners generally use PEX.  Not only might a leak happen without warning but having Poly-B pipes could make it difficult for you to get insurance coverage.  Also, if you are thinking of selling your home, potential buyers can take this into consideration and offer you much less for your home.


How long is Poly-B plumbing supposed to last?

Some reports have Poly-B bursting as early as the mid 1980's.  According to the Government of Alberta "Poly-B piping is no longer listed as an acceptable plumbing piping material in the current National Plumbing Code of Canada 2005." (see www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/documents/ss/STANDATA/plumbing/polyb-bulletin.pdf)  

I've decided to take the step to replace my Poly-B, what do I need to know?


There are many Plumbers out there who replace Poly-B with a more superior product. What you need to know before you choose your contractor:


1) Are you responsible for finding someone to fix the holes that are created when the plumber replaces the pipes? (We happen to have reputable plumbing partners that replace Poly-B, the repairs are handled in house by Triple H Interiors)

2) Will the plumber use Sharkbites at all? (These are meant for temporary fixes, NOT permanent) 

3) How long will the replacement take? (It is good for you to know that you should not enter your home during this process. You may have to stay somewhere else until the job is done.)  Our team can take about 5-10 days from start to finish, depending on the size and complexity.

​4) If the contractor asks for a deposit make sure that they are Provincially Insured, don't pay someone without knowing this first.  (We are provincially insured so we are accountable to you and the Government when it comes to your money)

5) Does your contractor use Air Scrubbers to remove up to 80% of the dust created by the remediation process? 

6)  When the holes are repaired there will be a lot of residual dust.  Get a new furnace filter and have some patience, it will pass.


​Please do not hesitate to call us for a free consoltation and quote......(587) 432-5601