connecting pvc pipe with glue

Connecting PVC Pipe

You may find this odd but we purchase various sizes of PVC and copper piping and practice the proper methods of connecting them. Yes, it’s a strange hobby but it may come in handy someday if a pipe breaks and a plumber isn’t able to get to our house. 

Before we begin with this DIY article, let me explain the catalyst that forced us into DIY living…

During the process of purchasing our homestead, we had our septic tank inspected per state requirements. According to the inspection, everything was fine when, in fact, it wasn’t.

Unknown to us, the situation in the septic tank got worse until one day our water softener was unable to properly discharge, causing a small flood in the basement. But it got worse, of course. Without going into the poopy details, sewage came back into the house causing a stinky mess. Thankfully, I’m the son of the ultimate DIYer and got a crash course in plumbing. We had to quickly disassemble numerous pipes and put them back together again in order to get the situation under control. This is how my love for piping got started.  

So, one of the easiest ways you can start building your own skill set is by learning how to put PVC pipe together. 

Before we begin, it must be said you shouldn’t attempt to do something you’re not comfortable or familiar with. If a particular plumbing situation is bad enough or you don’t have the requisite skill, it’s best to get a professional instead of doing it yourself.

Also consider personal safety. It’s prudent to read the warning labels and instructions for any product you use. Also pay attention to what is required for PPE (personal protective equipment). For the cement and primer we’re using in this DIY, the manufacturer lists using a NIOSH approved respirator for organic solvents, gloves, protective clothing and eye and face protection. You’ll also want to pay attention to sources of ignition as the potential for fire or explosion is present.

When it comes to PVC, making connections is very easy and the tools and equipment are inexpensive compared to other trades where you might need more heavy duty stuff.  

To begin, you’ll need the following:

-PVC cement.

-PVC primer (not all plumbers use it but it is a requirement according to some building codes).

-A saw capable of cutting PVC.

-Any sized diameter of PVC piping; but it might be best to start small. 

-PVC connector, or fitting, to go with the diameter of PVC pipe you chose. 

In this particular DIY project, we’ll just discuss a general way to apply primer and cement. Depending on the particular brand of primer and cement you buy, you’ll want to look at the instructions on the container to see how to apply it. In this DIY, we’re using an all-purpose cement and purple primer (some primer is clear but many pros use purple because it’s easier for the building inspector to see during an inspection).

After you acquire this equipment, cut a section of PVC and make sure the end you are connecting is dry and clean of any debris. In a previous article, we demonstrated how to cut PVC with limited equipment.  

cutting pvc pipe with a handsaw

cutting pvc pipe: wiping pipe after cut

Once you do the initial prep of the surface, apply the primer both to the outside of the pipe where the fitting will go over and also to the inside of the fitting itself. An interesting thing about primer is that it’s designed to make the PVC soft so that the cement can make a better fusion between the pipe and fitting. 

While the primer is still wet, you’ll want to apply the cement to both the outside of the pipe where the fitting will go over and, like the primer, to the inside of the fitting, too. 

connecting pvc pipe: priming inside pipe

Then join the pipe and fitting while the cement is still wet and apply a 1/4 turn. After that motion, hold the pipe and fitting in place for several seconds to avoid separation. You’ll be amazed at how the pipe wants to get out of the fitting so don’t overlook this step.

Now, it should now stay together during the worst possible zombie nuclear apocalypse.

It’s that easy. Now, you’re well on your way to learning DIY skills. 

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