4 Tips For Working With PVC Pipe

At one point or other, most every home owner feels the urge to take on a DIY plumbing project in their home. Whether you're installing a new sink or a whole new bathroom, chances are that any such project will involve joining PVC pipe.

If you'd like to brush up on your PVC knowledge before you get started, read on. This article will provide four tips for ensuring a stable, lasting bond:

Make even cuts

Long before you join two pieces of PVC, you have to cut a full length of pipe down to the needed lengths. Many people fail to realize how crucial it is that the pipes be cut carefully. The ends should be as square as possible, otherwise you run the risk of uneven bonding. This greatly increases the likelihood of leaks forming down the line.

If you own one, use a compound miter saw to make your cuts. This is not only the fastest method, but it will also leave a nice smooth, square edge. Otherwise, you can use either a PVC ratchet cutter or a handsaw. If you decide to use a handsaw, just make sure you mark the pipe carefully, to ensure as even a cut as possible.

Deburr the pipe ends

However you cut your pipe to size, there are going to be burrs--little rough patches--along the edge. These need to be completely removed before joining. If not, they may scratch the pipes as they are fitted together, leading to improper bonding. A razor knife can be used to pare away large burrs. Follow this up by smoothing it with a piece of sandpaper.

Prime the pipe ends

Primer is a specially designed chemical liquid that acts to improve the bond strength and hasten the drying time. If you can find one, buy a colored primer. While not strictly necessary, this allows you to tell which pipe ends have been primed already. Apply a layer of primer to both the pipe and the fitting and allow them to dry for a few minutes.

Use the right kind of cement

PVC isn't the only type of plastic piping on the market. There are a number of similar products with slightly different properties--CPVC and ABS, to name just two. These are also joined by means of bonding cements, but their chemical composition is not appropriate for use with PVC. In other words, make sure that the cement you've purchased has been designed specifically for use with PVC. Otherwise you may end up springing a nasty leak down the line--both figuratively and literally.