PEX Tubing

Ideal for Radiant Floor Heating

PEX (or cross-linked polyethylene) is a type of plastic tubing widely used for radiant floor heating and for all plumbing applications. Although relatively new to the USA (it has been around since the 1990’s), it has been installed in Europe for more than 30 years. It is growing in popularity due to the increased reliability, ease of installation and lower costs for the material than copper piping.


While copper pipe when frozen will split when the frozen water inside expands, PEX (also known as XLPE) allows enough expansion that it can withstand frozen cycles. This is especially important when installing piping in a slab for radiant floor heat when the slab may be exposed to freezing conditions during construction, or when your log home serves as a vacation home and may be uninhabited during the winter months, such as a small cabin built off the grid.

This tubing is easier than CPVC to install because it comes in a long roll and is threaded through drilled holes and around corners as a single long piece. CPVC, on the other hand, must be cut and fitted, creating dozens of potential leaks at every joint.


Pex tubing

Pexflow PEX-B tubing

Cross-linked polyethylene is manufactured in three different grades. Each grade differs primarily in the way that it is produced:

  • PEX-a is strong, uniform, and very flexible. It is made using the Engel method.
  • PEX-b is also very flexible, strong and uniform. It differs only in the style of manufacturing, using the Silane method.
  • PEX-c is the most environmentally-friendly method of the three, and it is made using the electronic beam method.

The tubing comes in blue and red colors to distinguish between cold and hot water installations, and it is available in sizes from ¼” to 4”, although the most commonly-used sizes are ½” and ¾”, especially for radiant floor heating applications.


XLPE is ideal for use in radiant floor heating or hydronic systems, as it can withstand water temperatures as high as 200° F. When using tubing for radiant floor heating it is best to use an XLPE type of PEX that contains an oxygen barrier to prevent some of the ferrous system components from rusting. Cross-linked polyethylene piping also comes in coils ranging from 100' to 2000' making it very versatile for burying in the concrete slab under your cabin.

In radiant floor heat systems, it’s typical to install the tubing in a “home run” system. This means that each area or zone that is heated gets a single length of tubing that runs out from the manifold, around the area to be heated, and back to the central manifold. This isolates each area and reduces the chance of both leaks and hot or cold spots in the floor.

Installation and Tools

XLPE tubing is easily cut with a knife and it is important not to kink the tubing, which could weaken it. There are specialized tools that make the job a snap:

There are also systems that use a compression fitting to seal the tubing.

Cross-linked polyethylene piping is a widely-used, reliable and versatile tubing ideally suited for radiant floor heating and other plumbing applications. 

 More Log Cabin Building Pages:

  • Cabin Roofing Choices

    Your log cabin roofing choices will affect your budget and long-term enjoyment of your cabin.

  • Log Home Building School

    Learn practical ways to craft your dream at a log home building school.

  • Build a Log Cabin

    To build a log cabin means coordinating many aspects and prompt decision-making.

  • Cheap Hardwood Flooring

    Cheap hardwood flooring is available through my supplier, shipped anywhere in the country.

  • Build a Small Log Cabin

    How To Build a Small Log Cabin: Reprinted from December 1983 Popular Mechanics by Michael Chotiner with illustrations done by Harry Schaare.

Enjoyed this page? Please LIKE and SHARE it on Facebook:

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer

FAQs | About This Site | Advertise | Site Map | Glossary | Disclosure Policy

©2008-2021 Log Cabin Connection
All rights reserved

LIKE and SHARE Log Cabin Connection:

NEW! Check out our Facebook page:

We use affiliates and ads. No cost to you. Click for FTC disclosure.

Check out our Cabin Shop!

Cabin Rugs for Interior Design!

Jamaica Cottage Shop

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Sign up for Personal Capital and get $20 free!

Log Cabin Building

All About Building a Log Cabin
Installing Utilities Before Construction
Janka Hardness Scale for Flooring
Log Cabin Flooring Options
Hardwood Flooring Styles
Best Log Fasteners to Use
Unique Log Home Building Tools
Prepare for your Log Home Package
Be Your Own General Contractor
Sample Contract Specifications
Source For Cheap Hardwood Flooring
Cabin Roofing Choices
Log Home Building Schools
Build Right With Cabin Building Tips
Efficient Building with SIPs
PEX Tubing for Radiant Floor Heating
Bamboo Flooring is Sustainable
Radiant Floor Heating Provides Comfort
Reclaimed Wood Carries a Rich Patina
Contractors Insurance is Liability Protection
Working with Subcontractors
Specialty Log Tools for Peeling Logs
Log Screws are Strong and Versatile
Septic Permit Process Includes Perc Test & Site Visit

Recent Articles

  1. Cabin Interior Design Blends Form and Function

    Cabin interior design combines layout and functional design with aesthetic cabin decorating decisions for the perfect log cabin interior.

    Read More

  2. Transforming Your Cabin With Rugs

    Transforming your cabin with rugs is a quick and easy way to Keep It Cozy!

    Read More

  3. Log Cabin FAQs

    Answers to many log cabin FAQs and other questions about building with logs and timbers.

    Read More