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What are the Different Types of Pipe Joint?

By Matthew F.
Updated May 17, 2024
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A pipe joint is a key component to any successful plumbing system, and it can be used nearly anywhere to help withstand the pressure of each pipe. There are three categories of these joints, with several areas within each category. The first set focuses on flared and sweated joints, and copper pipe is most commonly associated with both of these. When flaring a pipe, it is formed into a funnel shape, resulting in the piece of pipe being threaded and held into place by the next piece, creating a line. Sweated joints use soft solder instead of threads.

Cast iron pipes have their own set of joints. Ball-and-spigot and mechanical joints have cast iron plumbing pipes and fittings for water mains. Mechanical joints are metal rings that are bolted into place and fitted rubber sealing. When galvanized pipe comes into play, the male and female ends of pipe are threaded together to form a bond.

The other type of pipe joint is found in plastic pipes, where there are five different types a plumber can use. Solvent welded joints typically use a solvent cement of some sort to stick the two pipes together. In such a case, the two pipes being connected must be thermally balanced, or have similar temperatures. In fillet welded joints, a welding rod is used for the bond. This is typical of repairing leaks to thermoplastics.

Fusion welded joints use gas or electricity to weld the pipes together, and the two pieces of pipe essentially melt together and form a bond. For pipes which are dislodged frequently, flanged joints are used most often. Threaded joints are for the quick, temporary fix, and these joints are typically used in low pressure pipe situations.

Other, less used varieties of pipe joints include those in glass piping, malleable iron pipe fittings, flanged joints without gaskets, and joints in lined metallic piping. Joints to be covered can be permanent or temporary, and while the joint has been around for many years, it is continuing to become more evolved and better produced.

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Discussion Comments

By titans62 — On Jun 29, 2011

Are there certain requirements or standards for what kind of pipe is used for each project? I've also looked around hardware stores, and it seems like there are a ton of different types of joints.

I wouldn't know where to start choosing the right equipment for a project. Does anyone here have any comments or suggestions?

By kentuckycat — On Jun 28, 2011

For anyone who is slightly inclined toward do-it-yourself projects, fixing some piping problems in your home is more than feasible.

A couple years ago, the pipe running to my dishwasher broke and flooded part of the kitchen. Finding the PVC pipe and joints was very easy, and the whole project only took a couple of hours and saved over a hundred dollars.

PVC pipe is extremely easy to work with since nearly everyone has a saw that can cut through the material, and you can simply use a special pipe joint compound to join the pieces together.

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