The Different Types of Pipe Expansion Joints and Why You Need Them
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The Different Types of Pipe Expansion Joints and Why You Need Them


Expansion joints are essential components of any piping system, but they aren’t often talked about, and if you aren’t familiar with them, it can be hard to spot them while they’re being used. There are two basic types of pipe expansion joints that are used in all types of piping systems: thermal expansion joints and mechanical pipe expansion joints. The most common type, however, is the mechanical expansion joint. This guide explains the difference between these different types of pipe expansion joints and why you need to install them on your pipes if you have any hope of keeping your system properly functioning for an extended period.

Beveled Stops

Beveled pipe stops are an alternative to other types of expansion joints. They can be used for both horizontal and vertical pipes in a variety of different applications. Beveled stop joints are made from two pieces that can be placed on either side of the pipe (horizontal or vertical) so that the joint is perpendicular to the direction in which the pipe runs. This type is commonly used for gas pipes, but it can also be used with water lines when space allows.


In many situations, the pipe is on the back side of a wall or other obstacle that prevents it from being moved. The U-stops are fitted around the pipe before the joints are made, so they can be adjusted to match any direction changes in the pipe. This type of joint is often used for plumbing applications.

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Compression Tees

A compression tee is a type of pipe expansion joint that is used to prevent the joint from being crushed by allowing for some movement. Compression tees are often used with two pipes but can be designed for larger diameters. This type of pipe expansion joint has a large end on one side that is threaded, usually with male threads. The other end has female threads and connects to the second pipe.

Rubber Bumpers

Rubber bumper joints are designed to allow for a certain amount of pipe movement. They can be used in pipes that contain liquids, gases, or steam. These types of joints can seal themselves after the movement has occurred because they are made from rubber. The sealing ability is created by the way that the rubber folds over on itself when compressed.

Ball Valves

The ball valve features two ports that are sealed off from each other by a metal ball called the plug which moves back and forth when activated

Stainless Steel Fittings

Stainless steel is often used in applications that require a non-corrosive material. Traditionally, stainless steel fittings were used with galvanized pipe because the zinc coating on galvanized pipe offers corrosion protection. Today, stainless steel pipe is sold with a protective coating that eliminates the need for fittings made from other materials.

Teflon Sleeves

One type of pipe expansion joint is the Teflon sleeve, which is a flexible Teflon tube that expands to fill the gap in pipes and contracts as the pipes contract. This type of pipe expansion joint is self-adjusting and can be cut to size.