What is PEX Piping


PEX-ALUMINUM-PEX Composite, also known as PEX-AL-PEX, is a polyethylene pipe that has an aluminum lining between the inner and outer layer. A melt adhesive is used to bond the aluminum to the layers of the pipe. PEX-AL-PEX has been in use for over 30 years in the European market and is preferred by many due to its flexibility and ability to withstand high-temperatures. 

It is used for hydronic heating, plumbing and in ice melting systems. PEX-AL-PEX is approved for plumbing systems in the United States and Canada. In this blog, we are going to have a look at this piping system in detail while also comparing it to the PEX piping.

PEX-AL-PEX with than PEX

These two piping technologies are both ideal for plumbing systems and are approved for use in both residential and commercial piping systems. However, there are distinctive features for each of these technologies that make them stand out from each other. Some of these features include;

  • Structural differences: The PEX-AL-PEX has an aluminum layer that is bonded to both the inner and outer layer of the pipe. PEX on the other hand, is a plain extruded pipe that has no coatings or any additional layers. 
  • Difference in applications: PEX-AL-PEX piping system is used for closed-loop hydronic, heating and snow melting systems while pex pipe fittings are used for hot and cold water plumbing and open-loop hydronic heating systems.
  • Weight differences: PEX-AL-PEX pipes measure 7.0lbs while PEX pipes measure 5.8lbs. The additional weight of the PEX-AL-PEX pipes is due to the additional aluminum coating.
  • Coil memory: Coil memory is the tendency of a pipe to go back to its original shape. PEX pipes have this feature while the PEX-AL-PEX pipes do not. PEX-AL-PEX retains the shape that it is bent into throughout.
  • Difference in pressure ratings: These two piping systems have different pressure ratings. The pressure ratings for PEX-AL-PEX pipes include 160psi@73℉, 79psi@200℉ and 100psi@180℉ while the pressure ratings of PEX pipes are 200psi@73℉, 125psi@180℉ and 160psi@140℉.
  • Difference in pricing: The cost of these two pipes are different, the PEX-AL-PEX being more costly than the PEX pipes. This is mainly due to its additional features which do not apply to a PEX pipe.

Applications Of PEX-AL-PEX Pipes

As we have already stated in the section above, PEX-AL-PEX pipes have different applications that make them useful to anyone who opts for them. Some of the different ways in which PEX-AL-PEX pipes are used include the following;

  • These pipes are used in radiant water heating and cooling systems in both floors, walls, and ceilings fittings.
  • They are also used in chilled water piping systems.
  • PEX-AL-PEX pipes are used for outdoor ice and snow melting purposes.
  • Hot and cold water distribution for both residential and commercial plumbing systems.
  • They are also used for hydronic piping and turf conditioning.

Advantages Of PEX-AL-PEX Pipes

  • Resistance to corrosion and deposits
  • There are many options for joining the pipes, and no flame is used in the process
  • They are light-weight and easy to transport, hence reducing transportation costs
  • They are safe for use and can be used for a long period of time
  • They are flexible and also stiff at the same time, hence can maintain their shape
  • The aluminum layer in the pipe prevents oxygen from entering the pipe
  • They are tough and highly durable,therefore reducing long-term costs

Disadvantages Of PEX-AL-PEX Pipes

  • The cost is these pipes is a bit higher when compared to the other piping options
  • Finding the fittings for PEX-AL-PEX pipes is quite difficult as only two types of fittings are compatible with these pipes
  • The use of heat does not help with fixing kinks in PEX-AL-PEX pipes


Before settling on one particular piping system, it is best to conduct thorough research on the different options available in the market. You should also be aware of your piping needs since we have seen that different pipes are used in different ways. Also, make sure that you work with the most reliable manufacturers and suppliers so as to ensure that you get the best quality and value for your money. For more information on PEX-AL-PEX pipes and PEX piping, go ahead and check out our website.


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