Home Guide to Selecting Pipe

Guide to Selecting Pipe

This page contains just about everything you would want to know about pipe. If you have a question about pipe that this page doesn't answer, feel free to reach out to us and let us know!

Pipe Gator Tube
12 Gage
Aluminum
Schedule 40
Galvanized Steel
Schedule 40
Black Pipe
Schedule 40
Furniture Grade
PVC
Picture Gator Shield 12 Gage Aluminum Schedule 40 Galvanized Schedule 40 Black Pipe Schedule 40 Furniture Grade PVC
Material Steel Aluminum Steel Steel PVC
Strength Suitable for most industrial applications. Aluminum has a high deflection rate, and should be supported often when used under heavy vertical load. Suitable for most industrial applications. Suitable for most industrial applications. Used for non-weight bearing applications.
Finish Gator Shield is a special coating that is more resistant to corrosion than standard galvanization. Anodized Aluminum Galvanized Unfinished UV Coating
Corrosion Resistance Excellent - Performs better than galvanized finish in salt spray tests. Best - Highly corrosion resistant for most environments. Good - Excellent protection against moisture corrosion. Poor - Black pipe is unprotected and will rust easily. Should only be used in sheltered or indoor applications. Good - Non-corrosive and resistant to UV damage.
Aesthetic Industrial looking metal pipe finish. Clean, smooth aluminum sheen. Industrial looking metal pipe finish. Very rough, black paint coating. No writing, clean white finish.
Best Used For All projects. All projects. Industrial grade applications. Indoor and non-corrosive environments. Non-weight bearing structures that use PVC fittings.
Can it be Painted? Yes Yes Yes Yes Can be Stained
Other Notes We use Gator Tube in most of our projects and applications because it is strong, corrosive resistant and less expensive than other pipe. Aluminum pipe is more expensive but can be much cheaper to ship because it is half the weight of steel pipe. There is rarely a reason to use this now that we offer Gator Tube. Galvanized pipe is slightly stronger than Gator Tube, but generally not enough to make up the difference in price. This pipe makes a cool aesthetic for building indoor shelving and desks. Do not use this pipe outdoors or it will rust. Furniture grade PVC is great for building finished PVC applications. It stands up better to the sun and looks better than standard plumbing PVC.

Bottom Line - the listing above is our general order of recommendation. Gator Tube is a great all around product that features the benefits of corrosion resistance, strength and low cost.

Painting Pipe

Most of our pipe can be powder coated to any RAL color. Powder coating is a baked on paint finish that increase the durability and aesthetic quality of the pipe. Kee Klamp and Kee Lite pipe fittings can also be powder coated to make your entire structure the same color. We offer powder coating services so that your pipe will arrive color-coated to your specification.

Pipe can also be painted on your end with spray paint and other painting methodologies. Be sure to consult the paint manufacturer to ensure that the paint will adhere to galvanized or anodized surfaces.

Pipe Bundles & Full Lengths of Pipe

Pipe bundles are available in several different sizes and lengths. Pipe bundles allow you to buy in bulk and achieve a discounted cost on cut-lengths of pipe. You can also save on pipe by buying full lengths of pipe. Full lengths will be shipped to you via freight carrier, so most of the time buying full lengths of pipe is only cost-effective for larger projects. Each pipe page will specify the size and cost of a full length of pipe.

Pipe Size Information

Pipe size can be confusing because of the plumbing terminology that surrounds sizing specifications. We've put together a simple chart to help you understand what size fittings can be use with each fitting. Watch this short section in the Kee Klamp video to get a better understanding of pipe and fitting sizes.

This video will give you a more casual view of the difference between pipe sizes by comparing them to household objects.

Pipe Loading Information

The tables below will tell you how much weight can be supported by a piece of pipe in a horizontal orientation.

Galvanzied Pipe Loading Table
Schedule 40

Span Fitting Size
5 6 7 8 9
Pipe Size
3/4" N.B. 1" N.B. 1-1/4" N.B. 1-1/2" N.B. 2" N.B.
1' 829 1562 2758 3835 6590
2' 415 781 1379 1917 3295
3' 277 521 919 1278 2197
3' 6" 237 446 788 1096 1883
4' 207 391 690 959 1648
4' 6" 184 347 613 852 1465
5' 166 313 552 767 1318
5' 6" 151 284 502 697 1198
6' 139 260 460 639 1099
6' 6"' 128 241 425 590 1014
7' 119 223 394 548 942
7' 6" 111 209 368 512 879
8' 104 195 345 480 824
9' 92 174 307 426 732
10' 83 157 276 384 659

Load ratings are in pounds.

Gator Tube Loading Table

Span Fitting Size
5 6 7 8 9
13 Gage 12 Gage 12 Gage 12 Gage 12 Gage
Pipe Size
3/4" N.B. 1" N.B. 1-1/4" N.B. 1-1/2" N.B. 2" N.B.
2' 415 689 1,156 1,553 2,513
3' 277 459 771 1,035 1,675
4' 207 344 578 777 1,256
5' 166 275 462 622 1,005
6' 139 229 385 518 838
7' 119 196 330 444 718
8' 104 172 289 388 628
9' 92 153 257 345 559
10' 83 138 231 311 502

Load ratings are in pounds.

Aluminum Pipe Loading Table
Schedule 40

Span Fitting Size
6 7 8 9
Pipe Size
1" N.B. 1-1/4" N.B. 1-1/2" N.B. 2" N.B.
1' 1541 1707 5185 8983
2' 492 1099 1747 3755
3' 219 488 776 1669
3' 6" 161 359 571 1227
4' 123 274 436 939
4' 6"' - 217 345 742
5' - 176 279 600
5' 6" - 146 231 496
6' - 122 193 417
6' 6" - 104 165 355
7' - 89 142 307
7' 6" - - 124 267
8' - - 109 235
9' - - 86 185
10' - - - 150

Load ratings are in pounds.

 

What Size Pipe Should I Use?

Size

Nominal Bore Outer Diameter

Example Applications

4

1/2" 0.840"

Very Light Frames

5

3/4" 1.050"

Decorative Accents

Light Frames

Retail Stands and Racks

6

1" 1.315"

Clothing Racks

Tent / Shade Structures

Greenhouse Construction

Light Duty Frames

Signage Supports

Retail Stands and Racks

Athletic Training (e.g. Pull Up Bar)

7

1-1/4" 1.660"

ADA Handrail

Standard Handrail

OSHA Guardrail

Medium Duty Frames (e.g Bed Frames)

Awning Frames

Carport

Heavy Duty Racks (e.g. Fire Wood)

Parkour (Gymnastics)

Tables / Benches

Custom Desk

Enclosures (e.g. Sports Netting)

8

1-1/2" 1.900"

OSHA Guardrail

Standard Guardrail

Parkour (Gymnastics)

Heavy Duty Frames (e.g. Solar Panel)

9

2" 2.375"

Extra Heavy Duty Frames (e.g. Storage Shed)

Overbuilt Railings

Weight Bearing Racks

Pipe Chart

Our pipe size chart gives you an idea of the relative sizes of pipe.

 

If you'd like to print out the pipe chart so that you can compare pipe that you have on hand to a picture, then check out the printable pipe chart.

 

Pipe Telescoping

Pipe: Telescopic Relationship

Certain sizes of pipe nest into other sizes of pipe. This relationship is helpful when you want to make something adjustable in height (such as the legs of a desk). Usually a collar fitting is used in conjunction with the pipe as a stop.

Gator Tube

The following relationships apply to Gator Tube (pictured left).

  • Size 5 fits inside Size 6
  • Size 6 fits inside Size 7

Schedule 40 Pipe

The following relationships apply to Schedule 40 pipe (not pictured)

  • Size 6 fits inside Size 7
  • Size 8 fits inside Size 9