How to Determine If Your Renovation Project Has Galvanized Pipes

Very Old Corroded and Blocked Steel Household Pipes

Could Galvanized Pipes Affect Your Fix and Flip Budget and Timeline?

Our house flipping team recently purchased a bungalow home, built in 1942, in Denver, Colorado. After the initial walkthrough, we quickly realized that the house contained galvanized and copper piping. Below, we will share with you how to determine if your renovation project has galvanized pipes. 

What are Galvanized Pipes?

Galvanized pipes are steel pipes that have been dipped in a protective zinc coating to prevent corrosion and rust. Most commonly found in homes built prior to 1960, they were invented as an alternative to poisonous lead pipes for water supply lines. However, we now know that decades of water exposure causes galvanized pipes to corrode and rust on the inside leading to a set of health problems and concerns.

Why are Galvanized Pipes Considered a Red Flag?

If you are buying an older house (built prior to 1960), beware of old water pipes. Specifically, galvanized steel. These pipes easily build up with sediment and rust, making the inside diameter of the pipe smaller and smaller over time. Eventually, the water flow becomes unusable and the sediment can become toxic.
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How to Determine If Your Renovation Project Has Galvanized Pipes.

On an initial house walk-through, check for galvanized pipes with a strong magnet. If the magnet does not stick, you are in the clear. If it does, you likely have galvanized pipes. A magnet will not stick to plastic, copper, pex or lead pipes.

A couple other factors to keep an eye out for. If you scratch an old galvanized pipe connection, you can spot corrosion because the material will flake. Also, look out for any leaking or stopped water flow. If it happens, you have a big problem.

In our fix and flip education program, we strongly advocate for a professional inspection of the plumbing prior to purchase. This helps you avoid a costly oversight during a remodel, which can put you behind schedule and over budget.


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What is Our Plan for This Property?

Fix and flip property from the Fixters' renovation team featuring galvanized and copper piping.

We plan to remove all galvanized piping and copper connection piping due to obvious and non-obvious corrosion. Our plumbers recommend and use flexible “Pex” pipe. Pex is easy to work with and cost-effective. This modern, pipe erosion solution does not react to acidic water or freeze when exposed to cold water.

Questions like ‘what to do with galvanized pipes if you find them in a potential fix and flip property’ are great for our Fixters’ coaches. They are here to remove the fear from flipping by providing end-to-end education and advice for all stages of a house flip.

Have a question like the one above? Contact a coach by calling 855-960-3547 or scheduling a time here.

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