Burying copper pipe in wall: Copper pipes concealed in wall

Copper pipes concealed in wall

We had a new condensing boiler fitted earlier this year in our loft (the most ideal location for our property- we explored many other options!). The result of this was to run exposed copper pipes up a first floor bedroom wall, alongside a RSJ, connecting to pipework running to the loft conversion. The builder we regularly use was adamant that we conceal them in the wall rather than box in, and we (perhaps naively in hindsight) went with this suggestion. The work was done earlier this week and we have been woken up by incessant tapping (which I understand to be the pipes expanding and contracting when the hot water comes on in the morning) and where the pipes are buried, the wall is very hot to touch. Am I worrying about nothing, or is this a disaster waiting to happen? Any advice would be much appreciated, particularly how we take this one forward and what questions we ought to ask the builder who did this work for us (i. e. could these issues have been avoided if the work was carried out in a certain way?) Many thanks.


Thanks so much for the responses- very helpful. An additional question: if we were to get this work undone (i.e. go for the option where we uncover, re-expose and box in) what sort of quote would be reasonable? Floor to ceiling the pipes are about 2.5m in length?

Also what would cause the pipes to burst? If they needed to expand beyond the channel which they’re in?

Thanks again.


4 Answers from MyBuilder Plumbers

Best Answer

Pure – Kitchens, Bathrooms, Plumbing & Tiling

Churchill • Member since 31 May 2010 •

100% positive

Its not a problem to have the pipes buried, the wall is hot to touch because the pipes are heating up the area of the wall where they run. The problem in my point of view is the tapping, these pipes haven’t been clipped down or covered where they pass the RSJ, so as you rightly say when the pipes heat up they are causing the problem. Solutions would be to expose pipes and clip and cover them, then repair work where uncovered, or uncover them and box them in as you originally proposed.


Answered 31st Jul 2011


Barnsley • Member since 1 Jun 2008 •

98% positive

the pipes have not been clipped to the wall,it is not advisable to put pipes in the wall (wouldhave been better boxed in) you could possibly get problems later ie bursts which would be costly to fix.


Answered 31st Jul 2011

Dyno-Plumbing Anglia

Peterborough • Member since 9 Jun 2011 •

80% positive

Any copper pipes embedded in walls need to be sheathed to ensure they are not subjected to corrosive elements in the plaster, the expansion your hearing is due to lack of clipping and the pipes running too close to adjacent structures and rubbing as they expand. I would expose them and have them run correctly and then boxed in with plenty of insulation if your going to hide any kind of pipework its always best to be safe as being sorry costs more than just the material damage.


Answered 3rd Aug 2011

Pipe Dreams Plumbing Services

Bournemouth • Member since 9 Sep 2009 •

100% positive

You are right that the noises are pipes expanding. The usual reason why you hear it, is because the pipes are not clipped in tightly to the wall, as sounds like they are in a void/channel. Ideally these days most plumbers will avoid hiding pipe work in walls, partitions for several reasons. It also sounds like the pipe work is not lagged either in the wall to protect it from re-acting with the cement/plaster, etc. I think that you should have gone with your initial instincts and have the pipe work exposed and then just box it in!!!!


Pipe Dreams Plumbing Services


Answered 31st Jul 2011

Can You Plaster Or Cement Over Copper Pipes

If you have doubts about whether it’s okay to put plaster or cement over your copper pipes so that they are discreetly hidden from view, you’ve come to the right page. We’ll help enlighten you. We’ve researched if this is acceptable, and here’s what we found out.

Yes, you can cement or plaster over copper pipes. It is a common practice among plumbers to hide pipes from sight. However, they should be covered properly so that the pipes aren’t in direct contact with the cement or plaster. The constant friction between the two surfaces can cause corrosion and premature wear of your copper pipes without the extra layer of protection.

Keep on reading so we can tell you more about putting plaster or cement over your copper pipes and if they can cause copper pipe corrosion. We’ll also share with you how long copper is expected to last underground and teach you how to secure your pipes to a wall to reduce movement. Let’s get started!

Can you cement over copper pipes?

If you’re having some pipework done in your house, you might have heard the words chasing pipes from your plumber. It basically refers to the wall that’s being built around the pipes so that they are concealed from one’s view. This is why plumbing pipes are usually located behind the walls, floorboards, and ceilings.

The installation of a pipe chase over copper pipes is best left to the professionals, but it still helps to be familiar with everything that’s going on. It’s your house, after all.

Pipe Chasing

A pipe chase is important because it can influence the performance of your pipes. For example, when it is located in an exterior wall, it can subject the pipes to extreme weather conditions and cause them to freeze during the winter. This can be an issue because the pipes can burst and cause major damage not just to your plumbing but to your home.

Chasing pipes is a technical job. The cut-outs and placement of the pipes should be precise to avoid problems with the wet wall later on. Chases are usually done on walls made of concrete and plaster.

The plumber cuts a horizontal or vertical opening on the wall where the pipes can pass through. Once the pipes are in place, the opening needs to be covered again by cement or plaster to hide them from plain sight.

Protecting Covered Pipes

So, this answers the question of whether you can cement or plaster over copper pipes. Yes, you can do so, and this has been common practice among plumbers as the need arises. However, there is a proper way of doing this to protect your copper pipes from corrosion.

Experts discussing this topic in an online forum recommended that you cover your pipes with electrical insulation tape, duct tape, or pipe sleeves so that they are not directly in contact with the cement and plaster.

These tactics will also shield the pipes against cement or plaster as they expand and contract depending on the weather.

Check out this link to find this electrical insulation tape on Amazon.

Does copper corrode in plaster?

Plaster is a construction material that’s made from mixing sand or cement with lime and water. It is used over ceilings, walls, partitions, and other structures. What starts as a soft mixture turns to a hard surface upon drying. It is very durable; that’s why it is used for various applications in home construction.

As mentioned above, plaster is also used for chasing copper pipes. Previous studies have shown that plaster in itself does not contribute to copper pipe corrosion.

However, the internal walls can become damp over time, which is conducive to corrosion. That’s why plumbers still recommend that you put a barrier or protection over your copper pipes when you’re covering them with plaster to help prevent corrosion.

How do you secure a pipe to a wall?

Pipes should be stable and secured to avoid movements when they are in use. These constant movements can put unnecessary stress on the pipes and cause premature wear, tear, and corrosion. Aside from this, they create an irritating noise each time you use your water lines.

That’s why you should make sure that your pipes are anchored to the wall. You can fasten them to the surface with the use of pipe clamps which should be placed at regular intervals so that the pipes are supported all the way.

There are pipe clamps that are readily available in the market. You can use them on different surfaces such as wood, concrete, and metal. They also come in various sizes, so you just need to measure your pipe to get the right size.

Once you’ve purchased the right clamps for your pipes, here’s how to install them:

  1. Position the clamp over the pipe and flush it against the wall. Mark where you should drill the screw holes.
  2. Put on your safety goggles before you begin drilling.
  3. Pre-drill the holes.
  4. Use the appropriate size of the drill bit on your power drill for the screw holes. The depth should be slightly longer than the screws that you’ll be using.
  5. Make sure the holes are properly aligned.
  6. Install the pipe clamp by screwing them in place.
  7. Install the rest of the clamps. The ideal interval is one yard apart. You can also put added reinforcement around corners and fittings.

There you have it! You now know how to hold your pipes in place so that they have proper support.

How long do copper pipes last underground?

Copper pipes have always been a popular choice for underground water lines installation. This is because copper is known to have antibacterial properties and strong resistance against corrosion from different types of soils. This metal element is also extremely durable.

Experts say that its lifespan can be around 50 years or more. But there are pieces of evidence that copper used 5,000 years ago is still in existence until now!

However, various environmental conditions can still cause copper pipes to corrode. This can be due to acidic water, dissolved solids, soil composition, direct current flowing through the ground, and faulty installation.

Once corrosion happens, it can lead to pinhole leaks on the pipes, and since they are underground, you would need to call for professional assistance to have them repaired. This can be costly since it involves digging or drilling to be able to reach the pipes. After repairing the pipes, the hole on the concrete or ground also needs to be patched up.

Copper corrosion can happen regardless of the age of your copper pipes. It is important to have the leaks fixed immediately, or else you risk water contamination and foundational damage.

Final Thoughts

Copper pipes are usually encased in plaster or cement to ensure that they serve their purpose while being safely hidden from your view. But it’s best if the pipes are covered with tape or sleeves to give them added protection against corrosion. You don’t want to give your pipes a reason to be damaged and require costly repairs, do you?

If you want to read more about copper pipes, you may visit the following links:

How To Paint Behind Copper Pipes [And Behind The Radiator]

How To Detect Copper Pipes In A Wall

Annealed and unannealed copper pipes

Copper(Cu) is a metal that has a uniform structure and has low chemical activity and high thermal conductivity. Widely used in various industries. It is used in the production of pipes for water supply, heating, gas, cooling systems, as well as electrical cables, parts for refrigerators, household appliances, electronics and much more.

Copper pipes produced by industry are of two types – annealed and unannealed. Consider what is their difference, positive and special operational qualities.


processed at the beginning
production, then, after all stages
processing, it turns out “raw copper”.
Oxygen is blown through it under a large
pressure that completely burns out
all impurities. Such a procedure gives
the ability to obtain metal, purity
of which exceeds 99%, of which
unannealed copper
During the pipe manufacturing process, the material
loses elasticity, but gains
tensile strength, while allowed
stretching of the copper pipe by 6%.


increase strength, copper pipe
unannealed subjected to thermal
processing. It is heated to 700 about C. Such
the process is called
annealed .
Then the copper pipe is gradually cooled.
This process is called
leave .
As a result, the product is given
additional property is elasticity.
The margin of safety decreases, and elasticity
increases by 1.5 times. This is how it’s made
copper annealed

copper pipe

performance of copper pipes

service 50-70 years

to hydraulic shocks.
the pipe withstands water hammer and surges
pressure up to
up to 220 – 290 kgf/cm2
(polypropylene and metal-plastic are torn
already at 15 – 25 kgf / cm2 (primarily
on hot water).

bactericidal action
does not emit harmful substances into the water,
which is very important when using copper
pipes in the water supply system for
household needs.

Virtually no interaction with
most chemical compounds
strong oxidizers are an exception.

to freezing and thawing
It allows the water supply to withstand
multiple freeze and thaw cycles
without destruction. VGP steel pipes
such cases are torn along the longitudinal
welded seam. Frozen inside the copper
water pipes will only stretch a little
walls. Typically copper plumbing
withstands 4-5 cycles without destruction
freezing and thawing. Withstands
low temperatures up to -40
about C,
and the copper soft pipe perfectly tolerates
and up to -100 about C.

to corrosion

high enough. Only in wet
environment with high levels of carbon dioxide
gas metal surface is covered
patina (greenish coating). in copper
pipes do not deposit deposits on
the walls of the water supply system due to the smooth
inner surface as opposed to
steel pipes (for PPR and MP pipes deposits

the pipe bends
With a diameter of up to 22 mm, it is sold in coils.
Flexibility eliminates unnecessary
connections at pipeline bends:

to temperature
Withstands heating up to 250 about C at
maximum temperature for the heating main
150 to C. Operating temperature limited
not the properties of copper itself (copper at
at a temperature of 250? C does not collapse,
melting point of copper over 1000
about C), and the heat resistance of the solder (at 250 about C
melting solder used for soldering
copper pipes). If the pipeline
not on soldering, but on compression fittings,
then it can be used with
300-400 about C. As connecting
parts can be used as copper
fittings and connectors made of bronze,
stainless steel, brass. Metal ductility
makes it possible to use
fitting connections on compression
fittings that are not inferior in strength
whole pipe. Sealing is carried out
due to pressure and slight
deformation of the ferrule and the

metal consumption
Preservation of qualitative characteristics
with minimum wall thickness.

not exposed to ultraviolet radiation

aesthetic qualities
they can be left open and
don’t hide.

these qualities, copper products are so
popular in the market, and enjoy
consumer demand,
despite its significant cost.
Make all communications using
only copper products are considered
reliable installation, and their positive
quality determined a fairly large
each individual material or product
has its advantages and its disadvantages.
Unannealed copper pipe, as well as
annealed is no exception.

Disadvantages (or features) of copper pipe
compared to the prices of any other
used in heating installations
and water supply.

pipes can be used for water with
chlorine content not more than 30 mg/l and
acidity pH 6.0 – 9.0.
in an acidic environment, copper begins to break down.
Therefore, it is necessary to fill in the system
or heating medium with neutral PH or
with slightly alkaline.

very afraid of contact with concrete

(oxidized). Destruction rate
depends on the composition of the wall, but in any
case, it is better to lay the pipe in a PVC sheath
or any similar

presence in the system of aluminum
elements starts active
electrochemical reactions. With direct
connection with products from other
metal destruction is fast.
To improve the situation, you can use
brass adapters and fittings.
one system aluminum and copper is better not

forms galvanic couples with aluminum
and, to a lesser extent, steel
When connecting metals in one circuit
between them there is a constant weak
current, ion migration, essentially
reducing the life of the pipeline.
need to protect the system from wandering
currents (grounding and dielectric
gaskets are required) otherwise it starts
chemical or electrochemical
it is not recommended to use steel,
or cast iron radiators.

is an excellent thermal conductor
means that when passing through it
hot water, it gets very hot,
what causes rapid cooling in pipes
hot water continuous
condensate on
cold water pipes. To solve these problems and
debugging annealed
copper pipes cover
thermal insulation
– polyethylene polymers or
polyvinyl chloride. This outer layer
protects them well from mechanical
impacts, large heat losses,
humidity, condensation.

with a professional approach
correct design and installation,
compliance with the rules of operation are solved
many problems of using copper
pipes in water supply and heating systems.
unannealed copper pipe and copper
Viega fittings
you can always in our Termosklad store,
as well as Tiemme brass fittings at affordable prices and order delivery.