Apr 6, 2024

Don't let this blind-side your deal.

It's in a lot of homes in our area. What is it? Why do you need to know about it?


As you embark on the journey of purchasing a new home, there are many factors to consider, including the materials used in its construction. One such material that has garnered attention in the home inspection industry is polybutylene piping. In this blog post, we’ll explore what polybutylene is and why it’s significant if your home inspector discovers it during the inspection process.

1. Understanding Polybutylene:

Polybutylene (PB) is a type of plastic resin that was commonly used in residential plumbing systems from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. It gained popularity due to its low cost, flexibility, and ease of installation. However, over time, concerns arose regarding its durability and susceptibility to deterioration when exposed to certain water conditions and chemicals.

2. The Significance for Homebuyers:

If your home inspector identifies polybutylene piping during the inspection, it’s essential to understand the potential implications. While not all homes with polybutylene piping will experience issues, there is a higher risk of leaks, cracks, and ruptures compared to other types of plumbing materials. These issues can lead to water damage, mold growth, and costly repairs.

3. Factors to Consider:

When assessing the significance of polybutylene piping in a home, several factors should be taken into account:

Age of the Plumbing: The age of the polybutylene piping and its exposure to water conditions can impact its condition. Older piping may be more prone to deterioration.

Location and Installation: The location of the piping within the home and the quality of its installation can influence its performance. Improper installation or exposure to extreme temperatures can exacerbate issues.

Disclosure and Insurance: In some cases, homes with polybutylene piping may have difficulty obtaining homeowners insurance, or insurance premiums may be higher. Additionally, sellers are typically required to disclose the presence of polybutylene piping to potential buyers.

4. Options for Homebuyers:

If polybutylene piping is discovered during the home inspection, there are several options for homebuyers to consider:

Negotiate Repairs or Replacement: Depending on the extent of the issue, you may negotiate with the seller to address the polybutylene piping as part of the sales agreement.

Factor in Repair Costs: If repairs or replacement are needed, factor in the associated costs when determining the overall value of the home.

Consult with Professionals: Seek guidance from plumbing professionals or contractors to assess the condition of the piping and determine the best course of action.

Here are some facts about Polybutylene on the Outer Banks;

  1. the further south you travel, the more likely a home from this era is going to have PB supply lines

  2. on occasion you might find a jacuzzi tub with PB supply lines in a home built after 1996 because the tub was manufactured when PB was still used and the tub was installed years later

  3. it is rare that a home with PB has not had any leaks or repairs/patched sections

  4. all supply line materials are going to have a service life, especially when a home is on municipal water supply

  5. I have not found PB in a home built after 1996 anywhere in Dare or Currituck Counties


Polybutylene piping can be a significant finding during a home inspection, potentially impacting the safety, functionality, and value of the property. As a homebuyer, it’s crucial to be aware of the presence of polybutylene piping and its implications for the home you’re considering purchasing. By understanding the significance of this material and exploring your options, you can make informed decisions and ensure a smooth transition into your new home.

We do Inspections.

All rights Reserved 2024

Hawk Home Inspections

We do Inspections.

All rights Reserved 2024

Hawk Home Inspections

We do Inspections.

All rights Reserved 2024

Hawk Home Inspections