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PEX Installer Preferences

Tim_75 Member Posts: 44
For those of you that regularly install PEX systems, what is you favorite and why?

The ProPEX (ala Wirsbo/Uponor) type of reinforced expansion/memory compression fittitng has been around for quite a while. Easy and quick. What is the reliability?

I was impressed with the Rehau pressed brass sandwich setup. Seemed indestructable, but don't see it around much.Why is that?

Looking at installing an all AquaPEX domestic system in a renovation product and interested in the Professional Installers' likes, dislikes, comments and input.


  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314

    It is in stock and consistent. I like the Stainless rings which I feel are more stable than the brass or copper ones. Just make sure it is something you can get a fitting for locally. It would stink to wait a week for a fitting because you ordered in an off brand to save a nickel.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Tim_75
    Tim_75 Member Posts: 44

     Thanks Charlie. Ever use the ProPEX expansion type of fittilings?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    No I have not

    When pex was finally allowed by Mass code for potable water I went to several wholesalers in my area and checked what was in stock. I also prefer compressing the joint as opposed to having it compress itself. But I also try to not use PEX if I can.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • James Day_2
    James Day_2 Member Posts: 191

    I personally love the propex.  Alot of manufacturers in my area stock it.  I have been to there facility in Minnesota and the way they produce it and test it is amazing.  I like there fitting because from the day you make the expansion connections that joint is always getting stronger, where as with any crip style connection it will continually get weaker. Just my opinion.   
  • meplumber
    meplumber Member Posts: 678
    I am a Propex guy myself.

    I have been using the propex stuff for a long time.  I like the ep fittings on domestic water up here.  We are 85% well water with low TDS and it eats copper and poor quality brass.  I have personally had good luck with it.  I also prefer Wirsbo/Uponor hepex as well.  Although, I have had some great luck with Watts tubing on heat.

    A note.  There are times, ie, really cold weather, when the propex is slow to setup.  If it is one of those times, when it is cold and you need it to hold pressure fast, then we keep stainless crimp rings and fittings on the truck.  The Wirsbo tubing works fine with them.

    I think the reason you don't see more Rehau is poor availability and the cost of the tool.  The tool cost was what did it for me.  The propex tool is expensive but the rehau tool was too much.  You start putting them on 4 or 5 or 6 vans and wow.  It adds up.

    I agree with Charlie.  Go with what is locally available. 
  • Brian_19
    Brian_19 Member Posts: 115
    costly tools

    This is the one thing I hate about pex. Most manufactures have their own proprietary system for joining fittings.  It  would be nice if companies sold the tools at cost to the pros. Remember the cost of the tools comes out of my pocket.
  • Karl_Northwind
    Karl_Northwind Member Posts: 139

    I have been really happy with the propex system.  The tube quality control is top notch, and I like that they put a second layer of pex over the O2 barrier to protect it.  I've seen lots of the cheap stuff peeling off at customer's houses.

    the tools are pricy, but the battery expander is worth its weight in gold.  and there are new less expensive ones made by milwaukee now (lower profile too) so check them out.

    we can rent tools from our supplier for big projects or stuff we don't work with too much.

    The EP fittings lower cost makes up for the more pricey tubing, and there for those of you in Ca. the plastic is guaranteed lead free.

    my $.02

    MNPLUMBER Member Posts: 28
    Viega Barrier Pex

    I've been using Pex since it came out in the United States. I started with Uponor but fount it too slow and as someone else said in the winter it's hard to work with. I switched over to Viega and love it. The stainless steel cup sleeves are great and will not weaken in time. I also like the bronze fittings, better than brass. I use the hand tools and I'm fast with them, sort of like extensions of your hands after a while. You plumbers know what I mean, just like channel locks.

    I can do multiple joints in the time it used to take me to do one wirsbo joint.

    If you're using it for heating make sure you use the "Barrier" pex.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086

    Started selling these products back in 1990 when the others were not even a twinkle in the Pex Momma and Fathers, well you know where. One poster referred to tools at cost. I don't think that is a mfg issue. I think that becomes a wholesaler issue. I do not make money on the tools. I give them at a price to cover my carrying cost. The goal is for you to purchase the product on a consistent basis. 

    Here's a little helpful hint with those expander rings. Go to the local hunters store and purchase a hand warmer pouch. Works wonders. Heat gun helps also.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
    MNPLUMBER Member Posts: 28
    Don't have the time

    Good tip but that's one of the reasons I switched to Viega. I don't have time to warm up all the sleeves and the pipe. I live an hour north of Duluth, cold up here.
  • scott markle_2
    scott markle_2 Member Posts: 611

    Viega's stainless rings and tools are excellent, and they periodically sell them at a promotional prices.

    Occasionally it's difficult to get the tool into a tight space, the expansion system does allow for making connections in confined spots.

    As far as temperature is concerned I kind of remember Viega stating a minimum recommended pressing temperature, colder than uponor, but not way below freezing if I remember correctly.

    I have some concerns about the plastic uponor fittings becoming brittle over time, especially where they are exposed to high temperatures. I'v seen overheated (but probably not over 180) heat-link manifolds that were totally degraded and I could break apart with my hands.
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
    type of pex

    the Viega fostapex is a great pipe for use on heating systems. can run from the boiler out to the baseboard, cast iron radiators & baseboard, duct coils, kick space heaters, unit heaters, radiant headers ect ....... comes in 1/2" - 3/4" - 1" in rolls of 150' or 20' lengths. This pipe has a aluminum barrier that works as the oxygen barrier. when running hot water thru the fostapex pipe it does not sag and it does not grow. uses the bronze insert fittings with the stainless cup sleeves. these fittings also work in Viega regular radiant pex and also their potable pex pipe. Great fitting system. Hand tools and heads that fit in the propress tool.
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