Types of Steel and Other Metal Types Used in Piping

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Types of Steel and Other Metal Types Used in Piping

steel metal types piping

In part one of this two-part blog series, we compared plastic products like PVC to metal options when it comes to piping needs. Both these materials might be utilized in varying situations, and each comes with its own set of specific benefits.

At Wasatch Steel, we’re proud to stock a huge variety of steel pipe options among our variety of steel products. Steel is by far the most common metal chosen when it comes to piping needs in plumbing, construction and other industries, due to its strength, durability and natural resistance to corrosion and rust. In today’s part two, we’ll go over some of the steel formats that are most commonly used for pipe, plus a few other metals you may see used here and how they compare.

Stainless Steel Pipe Grades

When it comes to moving liquids around within a piping system, few materials are as valuable or widely-used as stainless steel. This product has fantastic corrosion resistance, and is also resistant to thermal and electrical conductivity. It’s extremely strong, especially compared to its light weight, and is easy to fabricate and clean.

The most common grade of stainless steel chosen here is grade 304, though others may also be used. This grade is non-magnetic and can be hardened using cold working.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel, on the other hand, is a type that’s coated with zinc to add to its corrosion resistance capabilities, as well as buildup of mineral deposits. Galvanized pipes are the single most common types found in plumbing situations, as they tend to cost a bit less than stainless options and have comparable strength and often an even longer lifespan.

Black Steel and Black Iron

Black steel pipe is similar to galvanized steel in that it’s protected by a coating, only in this case the coating in question is an iron-oxide that’s dark in color. This is a different kind of protection than galvanization, and black steel pipe is often used for transporting water, gas, steam and air. One frequent use is within sprinkler systems, for instance, because it resists heat very well.

Now, it’s vital not to confuse black steel piping with black iron piping. The latter was more common back before the 1960s, a form of steel that’s more malleable and is made with different materials. Black iron pipe, however, is not corrosion resistant and therefore is not good for most water-based applications.

Brass Options

Finally, older brass materials might be used for certain water supply or drain lines. It’s great for corrosion resistance and does fine if a lead-free alloy is included, and also does well with a tight seal that prevents leaks.

For more on the kinds of steel and metal pipe often used in popular applications, or to learn about any of our steel products or services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.