What Materials Are Underground Drainage Pipes Made From?

What materials are underground drainage pipes made from?

drainage pipe materials
drainage pipe materials

Been told by a plumber that your old drainage pipes are damaged and need replacing?

Deciding where to purchase replacement pipes from is hard enough – let alone choosing the right size and material.

There is no one single pipe material used in drainage systems these days. Various materials have been used to construct pipes for all manner of purposes and locations.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the different materials that drainage pipes are made from – including metallic and plastic underground drainage pipes – to help you make an informed choice for your application.

5 common drainage pipe materials


Clay is one of the oldest pipe materials, still found in some drainage systems.

Although these pipes are resistant to chemical degradation and won’t be affected by acids, plumbers often prefer to replace them with more durable plastic pipes. For example, clay pipes are significantly heavier, harder to cut, and more difficult to transport than their PVC counterparts.

Something else to bear in mind about clay pipes is that they are fragile and more susceptible to tree root intrusions, as a result of them having joints. Roots can enter, grow, and eventually crumble the clay.

Cast iron

Cast iron pipes are usually a staple in older properties.

These are favoured for their tensile strength, longevity, and resistance to abrasion. They make a sturdy option for your drainage system and also boast excellent acoustic properties, which is great for apartments and other high-rise buildings.

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Unfortunately, though, this material is prone to rusting and corrosion – meaning you’ll likely need to have cast iron pipes regularly inspected and repaired, if not replaced with modern alternatives.


Copper is one of the more expensive drainage pipe materials on the market today – requiring skilled cutting and professional installation.

This metal is highly resistant to corrosion, making it useful for domestic water supply pipes.

It’s durable, versatile, sturdy, and long-lasting, too.


Though a pricier option, plastic piping has become the industry standard for waste systems – including PEX pipe.

This is a multi-layer pipe, made from high-density polyethylene, which is often used for domestic and commercial hot and cold water installations.

Both durable and flexible, it offers several advantages over more rigid options. For instance, it is easier to cut and install, has fewer connections and fittings, and is resistant to rust and heat. 


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes are typically the go-to choice for domestic installations in the UK, widely recognised by their terracotta orange (brown) colour.

The popularity of this type of plastic piping is mostly down to its excellent flow rate, low density, and affordable price tag compared to other drainage pipe materials.

PVC underground drainage pipes are generally much lighter and easier to handle. They’re not as fragile as other materials, such as clay, and they can easily be joined to existing pipes with plastic fittings.

Ready to purchase drainage pipes?

If you’re looking for replacement drainage pipes, it pays to go to a reputable supplier with an extensive range of products to choose from.

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Take, Build Plumb Plastics, for instance.

They stock only the best plastic underground and land drainage pipes from renowned brands, including (but not limited to) Brett Martin, Naylor Drainage, and Polypipe. Despite offering some of the highest quality products on the market, they guarantee some of the most competitive prices – allowing you to benefit from long-lasting pipe materials without spending a fortune. 

If you’re spoilt for choice or need an expert opinion, their team can assist you in choosing the best drainage pipes for your application, too.

suraj verma

As a highly skilled and experienced content writer, I have a passion for creating engaging and informative content that connects with audiences and inspires them to take action. With over 1 year of experience in the industry, I have honed my writing skills to craft content that is both effective and SEO-friendly.