How to Connect PVC Pipe for Plumbing

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When you connect PVC pipe for plumbing, you actually melt the top layer of both pieces of PVC material and then force the materials together, causing their molecules to mix together and then re-solidify. This creates a solid airtight and watertight seam. It also means that the process is very unforgiving. If you make a mistake the only way to fix it is to cut out the mistake and start over. Therefore, measure carefully and dry assemble all parts first, before gluing (welding) them together permanently.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC pipe
  • PVC joints
  • PVC primer
  • PVC glue
  • Utility knife
  • Hacksaw
  • Sandpaper

Measure and cut your PVC pipe using a hacksaw or chop saw. When making your measurements, take into account the distance your PVC will be inserted into your joint.

Clean the ends of your PVC pipe. Use a utility knife to scrape away any chads of plastic hanging onto the cut end of the pipe and use 100 grit sandpaper on the end of your pipe as well as inside the fitting to clean and slightly roughen the plastic anywhere a connection will be made.

Assemble your fittings and your pipe and double check your measurements. Make certain that everything fits and looks the way you expected it to look. Disassemble everything.

Open the can of PVC primer. An applicator will be attached to the inside of the can lid. Wipe primer onto the end of your pipe as well as on the inside of the joint where the two pieces will connect. Allow it to dry for about 1 minute.

Open the can of PVC glue. Again, an applicator will be attached to the inside of the can's lid. Rub the glue liberally on both the end of the pipe and inside the joint over the same areas that you rubbed the primer. Quickly, before the glue dries, push the pipe and the joint together until you feel them seat properly and then give the pipe a 1/4 turn. This turn helps spread the glue evenly and also helps in the drying process. Allow the joint to dry for several minutes, or per manufacturer's directions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep in mind that once you spread the glue on your pipe and the joint, what you are actually doing is melting the outside layer of plastic on both the pipe and the joint so that when you shove the two pieces together and twist the pipe you are actually combining the material from both pieces. This forms a permanent bond that cannot be "corrected" after the fact, so make sure everything is correct BEFORE you glue.
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