Can I Use Polybutylene Sharkbite on Pex

Can I Use Polybutylene Sharkbite on Pex

In the world of plumbing, different types of piping materials are used to ensure proper water flow and distribution throughout a building. Two commonly used materials are polybutylene and PEX (cross-linked polyethylene). Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it is essential to understand if they are compatible when using Sharkbite fittings.

Polybutylene Piping

Polybutylene is a type of plastic piping that was commonly used in residential plumbing during the 1970s to 1990s. It became popular due to its low cost, easy installation, and resistance to freezing temperatures. However, it was later discovered that polybutylene pipes had some significant issues with long-term durability, including susceptibility to leaks and failures caused by chlorine and other chemicals commonly found in water supplies.

PEX Piping

PEX piping, on the other hand, is a newer type of plastic piping that has gained popularity in recent years. It offers many advantages over traditional copper and polybutylene pipes, including excellent resistance to freezing, corrosion, and scale buildup. PEX pipes are also flexible and versatile, allowing for easier installation and fewer connections, reducing the risk of leaks.

Sharkbite Fittings

Sharkbite fittings have revolutionized plumbing installations with their innovative push-to-connect technology. These fittings eliminate the need for soldering, crimping, or gluing, making them ideal for DIY homeowners and professional plumbers alike. They can be used with various types of piping materials, such as copper, PEX, and CPVC, offering versatility and ease of use.

Compatibility of Polybutylene Sharkbite with PEX

Many homeowners with existing polybutylene piping systems may be tempted to use Sharkbite fittings to connect PEX piping, hoping for a quick and easy replacement. However, it is important to note that Sharkbite fittings specifically designed for polybutylene pipes are NOT compatible with PEX pipes.

While Sharkbite fittings are compatible with both PEX and polybutylene pipes individually, using polybutylene fittings on PEX piping can lead to serious issues. The main reason for this incompatibility is the difference in pipe diameter and shape between polybutylene and PEX pipes.

Polybutylene pipes have a slightly smaller diameter compared to PEX piping, and the fitting designed for polybutylene pipes may not form a secure connection on the thicker PEX pipe. This can result in leaks, reduced water pressure, and potential pipe failures.

Alternative Solutions

If you have polybutylene pipes and want to switch to PEX piping, it is recommended to consult a professional plumber to evaluate the best approach. Some possible solutions might include:

  1. Complete pipe replacement: This involves removing all existing polybutylene pipes and replacing them with PEX pipes. While this is a more expensive and time-consuming option, it ensures a secure and reliable plumbing system.
  2. Transition fittings: Special transition fittings are available that allow for a secure connection between polybutylene and PEX pipes. These fittings are specifically designed to bridge the gap between the two different pipe materials.

Regardless of the solution chosen, it is crucial to consider the compatibility of fittings and piping materials to ensure a leak-free and long-lasting plumbing system.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Can I Use Polybutylene Sharkbite On Pex

Can I Use Polybutylene Sharkbite Fittings On Pex Pipes?

Yes, you can use Polybutylene Sharkbite fittings with PEX pipes. They are compatible and provide a quick and reliable connection.

How Do I Connect Polybutylene Sharkbite Fittings To Pex Pipes?

Connecting Polybutylene Sharkbite fittings to PEX pipes is easy. Simply insert the PEX pipe into the fitting until it reaches the stop. No tools or additional materials are needed.

Are Polybutylene Sharkbite Fittings Reliable For Long-term Use With Pex Pipes?

Polybutylene Sharkbite fittings are known for their durability and long-term reliability when used with PEX pipes. They are designed to provide a secure and leak-free connection.

Do I Need Any Special Skills Or Tools To Install Polybutylene Sharkbite Fittings On Pex Pipes?

No special skills or tools are required to install Polybutylene Sharkbite fittings on PEX pipes. Their user-friendly design allows for easy and hassle-free installation, even for DIY enthusiasts.


While Sharkbite fittings are a fantastic option for connecting different types of piping materials easily, it is important to note that polybutylene fittings should not be used with PEX pipes. The difference in diameters and shapes between the two pipe materials can lead to leaks and other plumbing issues. It is always best to consult a professional plumber to determine the most suitable and reliable solution when transitioning from polybutylene to PEX piping.

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