Surplus or used pipe can reduce the cost of many projects. It also recycles materials that are already manufactured reducing the overall carbon footprint and could be considered a “green” application of materials. In some situations, the surplus pipe will include fittings and flanges that were part of the pipe’s previous use. Because the material is surplus, the selection of sizes and pipe types can vary depending on the season and other factors.
What is Surplus Pipe?
Surplus pipe can be available from any company that does work on pipe projects. This can vary from contractors to wholesalers and manufacturers. Pipe is considered surplus if it is not classified as usable for its original use. This can include pipe removed from wells, pipelines, or other installations but also can include newly manufactured pipe that has not passed inspection, cut sections of pipe not considered long enough for major projects, or simply manufacturer overruns. Demolition companies may also be a source of surplus pipe depending on the type of structures they have worked with.
Where to Get It
The best sources for surplus pipe can be the same sources that offer new or prime pipe. In other cases, distributers specializing in surplus pipe may provide the best selection and prices. Surplus pipe distributors buy pipe from a variety of sources in order to have the best selection. Ask other contractors or pipe users for the best sources and comparison shop for the best prices and selection.
Uses of Surplus Pipe
The uses for surplus pipe are many, varied, and only limited by the imagination of the user. For example, surplus well pipes have been used for decades as livestock corral fencing in many parts of the southwestern United States. Similar uses include standards or posts for signs, fence posts, and railings along road edges or in pedestrian areas. In these situations, the pipe is used as a support and not used as a conduit for water, sewage or other materials.
Surplus pipe can also be used structurally. Some structural uses include driving or drilling the pipe into the ground to serve as a piling. Similarly, surplus pipe can be used as part of the foundation of a structure. In these cases, the pipe is often filled with cement to increase its structural strength. Engineers often specify surplus pipe anywhere additional strength is needed.
Utilizing surplus pipe may require some effort depending on the source where it is acquired. Pipe purchased from a demolition company may be rough and even show signs of rust or corrosion. Pipe acquired as surplus from a wholesaler or contractor that has never been used might be as bright as new. Surplus pipe can be sandblasted or cleaned and painted for exposed posts or left as is for buried applications such as pilings.
Contractors undertaking any project that does not require prime or new materials should consider surplus pipe. It is good for the environment, good for their bottom line, and can save their customers money. Developing a relationship with several sources for surplus pipe can help the contractor find the best prices and best selection for the material. Surplus pipe can become the “go to” material for many uses the general contractor can encounter.