Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is strong, durable, and can handle hot as well as cold water. It is approved for interior plumbing in many areas of the country -- especially the South -- and is gaining acceptance elsewhere.
PEX is an installer's dream. It is easily cut and flexible enough to make gentle bends around corners. To join compression fittings, no special tools or materials are required -- just a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench. More permanent fittings require a special crimping tool (see Steps 2 and 3). Where approved by local codes, PEX is an ideal material if you want to replace old galvanized pipes because it can be snaked through walls.
PEX systems can use a manifold fitting (Step 2), which allows you to install one water supply line to a location and then add branch lines to various fixtures.
About an hour to run and install about 50 feet of pipe with five fittings
Drill, plastic tubing cutter or plastic-pipe cutter, crimping tool, reaming tool, adjustable wrench
Understanding of supply pipes
Bore holes for running pipe through joists or studs
PEX tubing, compression fittings, crimp rings
Holes for PEX tubing need not be carefully laid out in a straight line. PEX can be bent around corners, but don't make too sharp a bend or the tubing may kink. In most cases you can run the pipe through the holes and then cut it in place. Drill 1-inch holes for 1/2-inch tubing.