How to Glue and Join PVC Plastic Pipe

The secrets to fast, leak-proof connections

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How to make leak-proof connections fast, whether you're using PVC, ABS or CPVC. Plus, common mistakes to avoid and how to fix them.

Tools Required

  • Handsaw
  • Level
  • Nut driver
  • Rags
  • Tape measure

Materials Required

  • Cement and primer
  • Plastic pipe and fittings
  • Transition coupling

Video: How to Glue PVC Pipes

Gary Wentz, an editor for Family Handyman, will show you how to glue PVC pipes to get a fast, leak-free seal.

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Make Square Cuts for Strong PVC Joints

  • Make an improvised guide by screwing together scraps of 2×4.
  • Saw using a handsaw with a blade that’s 3 or 4 inches wide.
    • Note: Square pipe ends fit snugly into the fittings, allowing plenty of contact area for the solvent cement to work. They also make a smoother interior surface for better water flow. 
    • Pro tip: Special saws for cutting plastic pipe are a worthwhile investment if you do much plumbing work. You’ll find them in the plumbing tool area or with the handsaws in most home centers and hardware stores. Otherwise, any fine tooth saw will work.

PVC pipes

Step 2

De-Burr the Inside

  • Roll a quarter sheet of 80-grit sandpaper into a tube and flatten it slightly to match the curve of the pipe.
  • File off the inner burrs with the sandpaper.
  • Hold the sandpaper at an angle and sand the inside and outside (see below) of the plastic pipe until you create slightly beveled edges.
    • Note: Left in place, burrs can snag hair and other debris, causing clogs.
    • Pro tip: You can remove burrs with a file or pocketknife, but sandpaper is easier to use and works great.