How to Repair a Cracked PVC Elbow Joint

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Cut out cracked PVC elbows to repair them.
Cut out cracked PVC elbows to repair them. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, pipes form the framework for a variety of construction projects, especially plumbing and irrigation. Although PVC pipes are durable, the plastic can develop cracks under extreme pressure or if they are hit with construction tools or garden implements. Once the PVC cracks, the area requires immediate repair. Repairing a cracked elbow joint, shaped like an “L,” is similar to repairing a straight section of PVC piping.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pipe cutter
  • Cloth
  • Replacement PVC elbow joint
  • PVC primer
  • PVC solvent

Shut off all water to the PVC pipe at the water shut-off valve. If you don’t know where the individual shut-off valve is, shut off all water to the house at the valve located near the city street.

Dig up the area where the cracked PVC elbow joint is located, if it is underground.

Open the jaws on a pipe cutter, and insert them around one edge of the PVC elbow joint where it connects to another PVC pipe. Squeeze the handles of the cutter together firmly to cut all the way through the pipe. Repeat the process on the other end of the PVC elbow joint to detach it completely.

Wipe the inside and outside of both ends of the remaining PVC pipe with a clean rag to remove all dirt and moisture.

Open a can of PVC primer. Use the applicator attached to the lid to apply a 1/8-inch layer of primer to the outside of one pipe, 1/2 inch up. Apply more primer to the inside of one end of a new PVC elbow joint.

Open a can of PVC solvent, also called PVC cement, and apply a 1/8-inch layer to the outside of the pipe and the inside of the elbow joint, just as you did with the primer.

Insert the elbow joint onto the pipe, pushing it in as far as possible. Angle the other end of the joint in the direction of the other pipe. The other pipe should slightly overlap the elbow joint.

Apply more primer and solvent to the inside of the other end of the elbow joint and the outside of the other end of the PVC pipe.

Pull the existing PVC pipe back with one hand, and slide the PVC elbow joint over the pipe. Push them firmly together to seal.

Wait at least five to 10 minutes, then turn the water back on.

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