With the trend for exposed bathroom pipework on the rise, SharkBite Brand Director, James Bell, discusses the metal push-fit innovation that’s easily enabling plumbing installers to help pipes and fittings to really shine.

Exposing high-end design

Current interior design trends have led to a rise in homeowners introducing a high-end ‘industrial-chic’ feel into their homes, from exposed brick in the family kitchen/diner to polished copper or chrome pipework and Victorian cisterns in the bathroom.

With these design choices becoming increasingly popular and affordable, it’s crucial that plumbing installers are equipped with the tools that will help them to deliver a quality installation and the customer’s desired look.

Following design trends can often come at the expense of practical considerations such as ease of maintenance and simplicity of installation. Yet thanks to recent developments in today’s metal push-fit fitting technology, exposing pipework and fittings can now deliver both great aesthetic effect and essential practicality wherever they’re installed.

Practical push-fit

In recognition of these changing trends and in response to customer demand, we’ve extended the innovative range of SharkBite metal push-fit fittings. The Chrome fittings are electroplated prior to the o-ring being inserted which ensures the fitting is free from any harmful residual chemicals and prevents potential component degradation.

Not only does this provide a great looking end result, the simple push-fit technology also enables a quicker, easier and neater installation compared to other traditional fitting methods such as compression. All fittings are also easily demountable, making maintenance and repairs more simple to do than ever before.

Furthermore, the combined use of modern fitting technology with no plastering required to conceal pipes behind walls, makes front-of-wall installations readily accessible, naturally leading to easy and quick maintenance when required. This provides benefits for both plumbers and end-users when it comes to minimising downtime.

Easy maintenance

Commercial premises often have the luxury of more space, but many domestic bathrooms or cloakrooms can be more limited in terms of room and ease of access – another area where front-of-wall installations can win over conventional behind-the-wall methods. The same goes for making repairs – in space-limited areas, squeezing tools into behind-wall spaces and maintaining the visibility needed to carry out a repair can be difficult – by bringing pipes and fittings to in front of the wall, access becomes much simpler.

When working in tight spaces, today’s metal push-fit fitting solutions are the ideal tool. Unlike soldering and compression methods, push-fit fittings need minimal amount of space to be installed and can even be pre-assembled prior to final installation.

Fitting with tradition

Although we might be seeing a rising trend for exposed bathroom plumbing in domestic situations, we shouldn’t forget that behind-the-wall systems and traditional bathroom suites are still very much the norm. Interestingly, these installations will also benefit from the same developments in metal push-fit fitting technology.

By looking for fittings with a slimline design, that can be rotated and are easy to insulate, installers will find the perfect solution for difficult to access spaces, as they. Also, being metal as opposed to plastic enables them to be easily detected in case of any future works.

However, one of the biggest benefits for behind-the-wall installations is the inherent flexibility of using one range of fittings for five types of pipe (Copper, Chromed Copper, PEX, Carbon Steel and Polybutylene). This enables installers to make easy transitions between the most common pipe types, permitting plastic pipe to be more readily used either to reduce costs or provide greater flexibility for difficult installations.

Everyday use

To deliver everything that installers need, we’ve ensured that our fittings are WRAS approved and include male and female, straight and 90 degree threaded connectors, couplings, elbows, tees, female threaded branch tees and end stops.

Using metal push-fit fittings provides many other advantages for installers and their customers. All fittings in the range are fully demountable and can instantly be re-used, further reducing time, cost and waste. In addition, installers require no extra tooling as they would with press-fit solutions and no solder, flux or heat to create joints as they would need with end-feed fittings, negating the need for a hot works permit and providing a major advantage from a health and safety and insurance perspective. With so many benefits, metal push-fit fittings have advanced to be one of the most flexible and reliable solutions in an installer’s everyday armoury.