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  1. #1
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    Thailand Plumbing - Blue Pipes

    A thread for your Thai plumbing in bathrooms and kitchens, things don't get more exciting than this.

    The lovely blue Thai pipes come in 4 meter lengths, if you only want a meter most Thai hardware stores will cut you a piece off, it is extremely cheap, ie 1/2 pipe is about 50baht for 4 meters, waste pipes come in 2 thicknesses, ie thin and very thin, your local Thai plumber will try to save you some money by buying the cheap nasty stuff but probably won't mention or pass on the savings to you, the threaded end pieces there are 2 versions for feed pipes, plastic threaded which are about 5baht each for 1/2 inch or 25baht each for (I assume copper) metal threaded fittings, so quite a price difference and the plastic ones are pretty crappy.
    Nipples are also available in lead if you miss the old days and need to dumb yourself down a bit to fit in with the locals.

    In bathrooms your feed pipes will generally be laid on the floor and then the wall where they need to run up to your taps and shower etc will be channeled out, so its not a good idea to drill holes under say your shower tap, normally the pipe will go straight down to the floor, occasionally if the tile height to be doesn't allow the pipes to be laid on the floor the wall will be channeled out near floor level with "T" pieces to take your feeds up to where you need them.

    Thai blue pipes are easy to cut, the small stuff just needs a hacksaw blade, the big thick 4inch stuff you can use an angle grinder but it does seem to be a bit over the top, although I tend to use an angle grinder if one is to hand.

    The bits that you are going to glue just need a roughing up with some sandpaper, although I doubt if you will ever see that being done and the only main benefit of that is getting the loose bits off the pipe and maybe getting any moisture or oils etc that have come off your hands during the cutting or handling of the pipes, not really sure if on a clean pipe roughing it will help in the bonding process or help build a better bond, I suppose it does as the glue would have more surface area to bond to with it being roughed up, but still, I doubt if you will ever see that being done in Thailand.

    Applying the glue, now this I am open to suggestions, the normal Thai way is to use your finger, this isn't a good idea for a couple of reasons, 1, if you have a cut on your finger the solvent burns like buggery. 2, all the oils etc on your finger gets mixed in with the glue which isn't a good idea, so suggest away.

    So lets start with the glues available, the green Thai Pipe glue is the cheapest and is most likely what your plumber will turn up with, that will teach you to negotiate the price down when your house gets flooded due to a broken joint in your water pipes, actually if used properly the stuff works ok, but why not spend that little bit extra on the elephant brand solvent cement, it works out a bit dearer, but how much will it cost to smash out tiles in your bathroom to find a leak and then have to replace the smashed out tiles with something that doesn't match as your tiles are no longer available, well worth the extra 50baht I reckon, I know people that would rather have their bathrooms completely retiled rather than have an odd tile near the floor, so that leak could prove damn expensive.

    The glue in the tube is the most expensive, I think it is called Tangine or Tangini, this is worth using on your feed pipes but I don't think I would go to the expense of using it on waste pipes, although obviously if you get a waste pipe leaking under your house you have to think about what could happen, ie soil erosion under your footings or something like that, not very likely and would take years for any damage to show, but just a thought



    The only tools you need for running your blue pipes are a hacksaw or hacksaw blade, PTFE tape, sandpaper and something to spread the glue with, bit of plastic rubber banded to the end of your finger? although that tends to melt after a while.



    Wonder why you have no pressure from your tap or shower or bum gun? Unscrew it and check the PTFE tape aint blocking it up, also a good time to shake all the sediment out of it aswell.

    With Thai plumbing fitments, ie taps and stuff, without PTFE tape they will wobble about like anything when attached, the threads don't fit snuggly at all, no idea why that is or why there is so much tolerance in the fittings, but 10 wrap rounds with PTFE tape seems to be the norm to make them a snug fit.



    On the left is a flexible pipe, now if I remember correctly these start at 10 inches in length and go up to 36inches, this one has a nice fitted in rubber seal and is steel braided on the outside, costs more than twice the amount of the normal ones but they seem to last forever, also with the seals like this they only need pinching up and they won't leak, just need to give it a bit more of a turn so if people accidently knock the pipe or whatever it doesn't come loose, worth paying that little bit extra for.




  2. #2
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    I use an old toothbrush for putting the solvent on.
    Works well especially for getting inside fittings

  3. #3
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    Thats a good idea, never thought of that.

  4. #4
    Member globin's Avatar
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    PVC water pipe for domestic use comes in two wall thickness' 8.5 (thin) and 13.5(thick), I advise the use of 13.5 in all cases where pressure is involved, 8.5 for drainage use where it is not exposed to potential damage. Always use PVC brass insert female threaded fittings for faucets, stop cocks or valves etc. The Dog refers to lead but I think he means galvanized iron, these types of fittings are fine for farm irrigation projects but ugly and prone to corrosion.
    Piccies of the teflon tape blockage are a great example of the typical plumbing problems one will encounter here, the next most common is the failure to use solvent/cement to glue pipes. Jack hammering holes in walls is a frequent passtime in renovations to fix mysterious leaks that are invariably caused by stressed pipes or NO friggin glue in the joint.
    ~Glennerd~

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by globin
    Jack hammering holes in walls is a frequent passtime in renovations to fix mysterious leaks
    Been there done that, really hacks you off...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thetyim View Post
    I use an old toothbrush for putting the solvent on.
    Works well especially for getting inside fittings

    agreed, but does she complain?

  7. #7
    Tiger Bay
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    nice one Thetters, chicken feathers are the standard hereabouts.

    There's always one to hand.

  8. #8
    I am in Jail

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    By one can of this glue from Home Pro

    Applied DB // Products - Adhesive, Sealant, DIY (SPARKO ®)

    Couldn't get it to show a picture. It comes with a professional dauber which is of poly/cotton material in a nice ball shape on the end of a piece of wire fastened to the can lid, once you run out of this glue if you find it too expensive (which it really isn't given it's much better quality)refill with the other glue as long as you don't let the glue dry out it'll last for years and you get nice smooth coverage every time.. A cheap hair bristled paint brush works well too most others don't have enough give in the bristle to coat evenly and sufficiently, and certain plastics bristles obviously melt in the glue becoming hard and matted. The primary problem with a paint brush is it's one use only, the bonus about the other is it is closed tightly in the can for future use.

    I don't have any qualms about using too much glue either if it's being hidden under some fascia for example as glue is far cheaper and less work than redoing a leaking fitting or tearing out new tile jobs for the sake of a few bahts worth of glue, glue is always cheaper than PVC too...

    Plus apply enough glue so that it doesn't become too tacky before joining as it acts as a lubricant and slides in easier and more complete for the best seal, incomplete joining almost always leaks if not immediately, eventually.. Even if the pipe will be showing it's all about technique as if you use plenty of glue and then after joining hold the pipe so that the overage drips off until it gets tacky instead of running down where/when ever possible you get a nice clean bead around the joint and not all over the pipe or fittings.

    If you buy 2 cans you fill the second one with the PVC cleaner AKA pipe primer you should be using before you glue to prime the pipe properly as all PVC pipe has a silicone residue (especially fittings) on them which is used as a release agent from the molds and it prevents a strong bond between pipes and fittings that's why some rough them up but really it should be cleaned thoroughly with acetone PVC cleaner, hence the reason there is so many leaks here in Thailand (no one does)..Sanding to rough up is a serious pain in the ass especially if you have a fairly large job, but using nothing it is certain you'll eventually be tearing out that nice tile job in time..

    In the case of the threaded fittings the steel ones being mistaken for lead are actually galvanized and rust like crap as it's poor quality galvanizing, the other plastic hybrids are brass not copper and the reason none of them fit properly is that the Thais haven't figured out that they need to taper the threads on their fittings yet or haven't yet learned how to do that with plastics or most plumbing metals..

    The over use of PTFE tape is also a major cause for future fractures and cracked fittings as putting 10 or so wrappings just serves to expand the pipe fitting and put pressure on the joint which eventually WILL split. Anyone who has repaired one will have noticed this and asked themselves why or cursed the PVC quality.. This is also a problem with using galvanized nipples into plastic fittings as eventually the galvanized nipple will rust and swell splitting the PVC fitting, another major source for pipe leaks in Thailand and why the have those hybrid fittings in the first place..

    http://www.permatex.com/products/Aut...d_sealants.htm

    Again couldn't copy just the picture but any one of the above is what you should be using, preferably the white Teflon sealer but currently that isn't available here in Thailand though the black is but should not be used with ABS plastics as it has a chemical reaction which causes the ABS to crack eventually. Since Home Pro and other local shops too carry the Permatex black if enough people were to request the white they could easily add it to their inventory as they already carry an entire Permatex line.

    To apply properly you first apply a nice bead of sealer around the threads and then though it will want to slip you then apply the T tape around holding the loose end with one finger while wrapping it, at first it's a bit tricky, like sex, practice makes perfect, for some anyway. Make sure you hold the fitting in your left hand as that way you are guaranteed of wrapping in the proper direction so that when you screw the pipe in the joint you don't unwrap the T tape. You only need to wrap about 3 to 4 times this way..And to avoid going off the edge like the picture and blocking flow just begin back a few threads no need to cover them all the first ones are in the deepest anyway..

    Then when you screw it in initially this compound will be tacky but eventually it will dry almost hard but it remains pliable even when dry and the beauty is that it will hold well allowing for pipe vibration and expansion from cooling and heating without damaging the seal which is what happens to most and why fittings should be tapered in the first place.

    As well the compound will act as a lubricant allowing you to screw it in much easier and without forcing anything, use no tools only your hand and try not to bottom out the fitting try to stop in the right position before you get all the way in if it needs to be positioned a certain way..

    Anyway, for most common PVC plumbing here the black is more than suitable and readily available. By applying the T tape over the compound you get a double seal and the T tape squeezes the compound in the threads for effective coverage and makes it a nice neat job without oozing too much on your hands or on the surrounding pipe joints, that brings up another point while you're applying the T tape pull it up tight and slowly, but not too tight to rip it but just enough to make sure it isn't a sloppy wrap the compund will help in pulling it up tight..

    PVC cleaner is available here from the same Thai brand as mentioned above as well..

  9. #9
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    Have to admit I assumed the nipples were made of lead, I really try to avoid using them as the threads are really crap on them, even worse then the plastic threaded plumbing bits, also they react badly when connected to stainless steel water tanks.

  10. #10
    I am in Jail

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    no problems, don't blame you, they're just really crap galvanized steel poor quality all the way around like most everything else manufactured here and in China.. They rust way too soon here within days of installation and good quality galvanized steel wouldn't do that for years even in far greater corrosive chemical environments than just minimally chlorinated water..

    But realistically they shouldn't even have to mix steel nipples with PVC, every where else in the modern world they've advanced to the point of having PCV nipples in varying lengths and sizes and it makes life and installations a dream going directly from male threaded to female slip and not only does it save space but it saves time and money as you can almost always get 2 uses out of one nipple by cutting it and using both halves..

  11. #11
    Member Up2U's Avatar
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    Elsewhere in the civilised world these blue pipes are supposed to be used only for potable water.

    Wherever I go in SE Asia I find them being used for all sorts of foul water as well. Thus losing the whole purpose of having colour coding. Black, brown and green pipes are readily available elsewhere to take care of sewage, storm water, irrigation water, sea water and so on.

  12. #12
    Member biggrtiggr's Avatar
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    Is copper pipe ever used in LOS?.... Must admit that I have never seen it, but maybe that's because I nevr see HiSo places.

    Hope to be doing my own plumbing soon and that plastic looks terrible wherever it pokes out from the walls.

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    Member Deck Ape's Avatar
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    This thread's gonna give me nightmares. Blue plastic time bombs in the middle of my walls. Although.... the guy who installed all our pipes is around today. He laughed and said 'mai pen lai, si keeow di maak' so I guess everything is okay.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggrtiggr
    Is copper pipe ever used in LOS?.... Must admit that I have never seen it, but maybe that's because I nevr see HiSo places.
    I use it in my house, which is not HiSo, between the hot water boiler and the taps.
    Bought it in 5m rolls together with copper adapters, copper nipples, and foam insulation in the nearby hardware shop.
    Installed by the aircon guy, he has the gas soldering equipment and knows how to insulate the copper pipes.
    I do not have Twitter or Instagram so instead I walkabout in the streets. shouting to randomly selected
    people what I've eaten, drunk, and what my home looks like.
    It is after all important to build networks.
    So far I have 3 followers, one is apparently a doctor and the others are policemen.

  15. #15
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deck Ape
    He laughed and said 'mai pen lai, si keeow di maak' so I guess everything is okay
    Im not so sure, si keeow means green doesnt it?

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    Member Deck Ape's Avatar
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    Yes, I believe that's what you humans call a joke.

    True, they used the cheap stuff at my place, if I had known better I would've used the good stuff. That's why threads like these are great.

    I do know that all the fittings were roughed up with the sandpaper, though. And if you don't have a toothbrush handy I've seen guys just dip the end of the pipe into the glue can. That puts on a shit load of glue.

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    Member Phrakhanong's Avatar
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    It surprises me that excessive glue is used on the pipes. These are pvc pipes and I assume the glue used is a mix of tetrahydrofuran, cyclohexanone and pvc resin (ie the same ingredients used in model making plastic glue). This glue basically melts pvc and it is this melting reaction that causes the pipes to seal with each other. If too much glue is applied, it melts away the wall of the pipe, weakening it. I had this problem with my reticulation, where a pipe burst just before the joint because the excess glue had weakened the pipe wall.

    In terms of roughing up the pipe, it doesn't need to be too rough, just enough to rub off the chemicals and ensure that the actual surface that is too be glued does not have any bumps, lumps, bits of debris etc. I've found that if the joints are properly glued, they are just as strong, if not stronger than the rest of the pipe. The weaknesses are usually near the joint, where excess glue may have pooled.

  18. #18
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thetyim
    I use an old toothbrush for putting the solvent on.
    I used one and it worked nicely....until I stopped for the day. The day after is was rock hard. I had a look around and found that those little cotton buds for cleaning wax out of ones ears are quite good for the job also.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggrtiggr
    Is copper pipe ever used in LOS?.... Must admit that I have never seen it, but maybe that's because I nevr see HiSo places. Hope to be doing my own plumbing soon and that plastic looks terrible wherever it pokes out from the walls.
    yes, you have to use copper for hot water, so it is available. several threads on here
    Quote Originally Posted by Deck Ape
    This thread's gonna give me nightmares. Blue plastic time bombs in the middle of my walls. Although.... the guy who installed all our pipes is around today. He laughed and said 'mai pen lai, si keeow di maak' so I guess everything is okay.
    blue plastic pipes are good for cold water, whatever type. so no timebomb!
    Quote Originally Posted by Spin
    used one and it worked nicely....until I stopped for the day. The day after is was rock hard. I had a look around and found that those little cotton buds for cleaning wax out of ones ears are quite good for the job also.
    I use a bit of stick, just like my plumber

  20. #20
    anonymous ant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deck Ape
    He laughed and said 'mai pen lai, si keeow di maak' so I guess everything is okay
    Im not so sure, si keeow means green doesnt it?
    that's why the guy laughed. he had used "si faa."

  21. #21
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    Pipe

    I used Syler pipe on all my interior plumbing, it is galvanized pipe with PVC inside, pressure tested house at 90 PSI before they covered up the pipes in the bathroom floors, walls, etc. Made in Thailand, good stuff. I did not like the idea of a pipe leaking, have to tear out cabinets, floor, etc to fix it. Come in different colors (hot or cold) and sizes. If you use, make sure they use the fittings that go with the pipe to seal the joint correctly.
    If you want pictures, info me.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsicar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Spin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deck Ape
    He laughed and said 'mai pen lai, si keeow di maak' so I guess everything is okay
    Im not so sure, si keeow means green doesnt it?
    that's why the guy laughed. he had used "si faa."
    Yes I confirm : si keeow de kwa si faa !!!

  23. #23
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    Useful thread, thanks for that. I see blue pvc pipes in and around every house in long distance, I wonder is there no PE (poly-ethylene) in this country?

  24. #24
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    yes, you can find it, quite expensive

  25. #25
    Member HINO's Avatar
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    All different types of piping are available. The reasons most people don't see it is the cost. The cheap blue pvc gets the job done for most Thais. We farang have big ideas and have more baht to spend.
    Important factor is finding a plumber who does the work reliably. If you buy something different you had better be prepared to have the expertise available to install it and service it later cause the local Thai handi man won't be familiar with the new products.


    If you take the time to do the job right the first time you won't need to "find" the time to go back a second time

    HINO

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