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How Long Do Drainpipes Last?


Drainpipes come in a few different materials and those materials play a role in how long a pipe can last. The best way to know how long drainpipes last is to understand when the house or building was built and what kind of pipes were used. We’ll help answer these questions by looking at what a drainpipe is, the different types of pipes, and how long we can expect each type to last.

What’s a Drainpipe?

Our homes have different pipes with different functions. The drainpipes remove water and liquid waste away from a building. If they’re overlooked and not taken care of, drainpipes can backup, presenting a problem for the building they’re connected to.

Older Homes

If your home was built before 1960, there’s a good chance your pipes are made of cast iron. Cast iron is a tough material, but everything corrodes after time. Cast iron deteriorates after around 25. If you do the math, your old cast-iron pipes likely aren’t in good shape.

Today’s Pipes

The most common materials used for drainpipes today are PVC, chromed brass, chromed copper, and copper. Let’s take a look at each one.


PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is white plastic. Today, it’s the standard pipe in most homes and handles the removal of waste materials. PVC is a strong material that’s resistant to both heat and chemicals, making it tough to corrode. It also cuts easily and is often used to repair pipes made of older material. CPVC (chlorinated PVC) is similar to PVC and is used for hot and cold water supplies.

Chromed Brass

Chromed brass has a shiny, chrome polished look and is also easily cut. It’s used in place of PVC when the pipe is in sight and appearance is important.

Chromed Copper

Chromed copper is also shiny and polished. You’ll often see chromed copper where water lines are exposed and appearance is important.


Regular copper has a dull finish rather than a polished one. It comes in two forms: rigid and flexible. Copper is a great material because it’s soft, making it easy to work with, and withstands corrosion quite well. However, it’s expensive, and many plumbers prefer to work with PVC or CPVC to keep costs down.

When It’s Time To Repair

When we ask the question, “How long do drainpipes last?” the answer depends on the amount of corrosion and damage. Pipes that are taken care of and maintained regularly can last for decades.

So, how do you know when it’s time to repair a pipe or pipes? Some obvious signs are water or sewage back-up, slow or clogged drains, unexplained leaks, and unusual odors coming from a drain. Through the years, corrosion from regular use, heat, chemicals, waste, and invasion from things such as tree roots all lead to eventual damage of the pipes. Many plumbers recommend a health check-up of all pipes every two years. Call your plumber if any suspicious issues arise between those check-ups.

Perma-Liner Technology

Perma-Liner Technology, which requires very little destruction of property and saves on time and cost, is a cured-in-place process that restores corroded pipes so they become like new. Using this method, pipes are repaired quickly with less mess and cost or the need for new pipes.

Taking care of our pipes is important. Just as with all maintenance of a home or building, it’s best to have regular maintenance performed and catch small problems before they become bigger ones. Here at Sewer Renewal Specialists in Portland, we’re the trusted sewer and drain specialists for Portland and all surrounding areas. We offer the unique Perma-Liner Technology to keep costs and destruction of property, down. Contact us and let’s get your drainpipes working like new again.