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How to Install PVC and ABS Pipes and Fittings

Fitting plastic drainpipes together can be done by do-it-yourselfers (DIYers), but even small jobs need a permit. Check with your local building authority regarding permits and inspections.

Iron Pipe Size PVC and ABS Pipe and Fittings

Tools & Materials

Tools

  • Axis-Cutting Machine (a ratchet-type pipe cutter, miter saw, reciprocating saw, mechanical cutoff saw with carbide-tipped blade or wheel-type pipe cutter designed to cut plastic)
  • Knife-Edge, File or Deburring Tool
  • Applicator (that’s half the size of the pipe's diameter; a dauher, natural bristle brush or swab)

Materials

  • 1/2-inch to 4-inch Iron Pipe Size ABS, PVC or CPVC Pipes
  • 6-inch and Larger Iron Pipe Size ABS, PVC and CPVC Pipes
  • Dry Cloth
  • Primer
  • Solvent Cement (conforming to the appropriate American Society for Testing Materials standard)
  • Teflon Tape

Product costs, availability and item numbers may vary online or by market.

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Joining 1/2-inch to 4-inch Iron Pipe Size ABS, PVS or CPVC Pipes

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a white or light-colored pipe that’s often used for residential home drain lines. Relatively inexpensive and long-lasting, it's used for both hot-and-cold water applications. The rating and diameter is marked on each individual pipe. ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a dark-colored pipe that was the first plastic pipe used in residential plumbing. CPVC (copper polyvinyl chloride) is also ideal for all potable-water piping needs.

Instructions

Step 1

Remove excess cement from the exterior. A properly made joint will show a continuous bead of cement around the perimeter. Make sure there’s a sufficient layer of cement and no voids of space appear around the perimeter.

Step 2

Cut the pipe square with the axis.

Cut the pipe square with the axis. Seal all joints at the base of the fitting hub. An angled cut may result in joint failure.

Step 3

If the pipe end shows any sign of damage or cracking, cut off at least 2-inches of pipe beyond any visible cracks.

Step 4

Remove all pipe burrs.

Remove all pipe burrs from the inside and outside the diameter of the pipe with a knife-edge, file or deburring tool.

Step 5

Bevel the end of the pipe by 10 to 15 degrees.

Step 6

Clean and dry the pipe fittings.

Clean and dry the pipe fittings by removing surface dirt, grease or moisture with a clean, dry cloth.

Step 7

Dry-fit the pipe.

Dry-fit the pipe. With light pressure, the pipe should go 1/2 to 1/3 of the way into the fitting hub. Pipe and fittings that are too tight or too loose shouldn’t be used.

Step 8

Apply sufficient cement.

Use an applicator to apply sufficient cement into the inside of the fitting. The applicator should be 1/2 the size of the pipe's diameter.

Step 9

Coat the surface with primer.

Coat the surface with primer by applying the primer to the fitting socket, aggressively working it into the surface. Primer isn’t recommended for ABS pipes.

Step 10

Apply primer to the pipe surface to a point ½ of an inch beyond the hub depth. Aggressively work the primer into the surface.

Step 11

Apply a second coat of primer to the fitting socket, vigorously working it into the surface.

Good to Know

More applications of primer may be required on hard surfaces or in cold weather conditions. The use of primer for ABS isn’t recommended. Make sure the primer conforms to ASTM F 656 standard. Check local code requirements.

Step 12

Once the surface is primed, remove all puddles of excess primer from the fitting socket.

Step 13

Coat the surface with cement while the primer is wet. Stir or shake the cement prior to use.

Step 14

Apply a full, even layer of cement to the pipe surface to a point ½ of an inch beyond the hub
depth. Vigorously work the cement into the surface.

Step 15

Without redipping the applicator in the cement, apply a medium layer of cement to the fitting
socket by vigorously working it in the surface. On a bell-end pipe, don’t coat beyond the
socket depth.

Step 16

Apply a second full coat of cement to the pipe surface, again vigorously working it in.

Caution

Don’t allow cement to puddle or accumulate inside the system. Solvent cement should conform to the appropriate ASTM standard for the piping system. All-purpose cement isn’t recommended.

Step 17

Apply a second coat of primer to the fitting socket, vigorously working it into the surface.

Step 18

Join the pipe fittings by assembling the pipe and fittings quickly, before the cement dries. If the cement has hardened, cut the pipe and dispose of the fitting and start over.

Step 19

Insert the pipe into the fitting hub.

Insert the pipe into the fitting hub, giving a quarter turn as the pipe is being inserted, ensuring
an even distribution of cement within the joint. Don’t quarter-turn the pipe after it touches
the bottom of the socket.

Step 20

Once the pipe contacts the socket bottom, hold the pipe and fitting together until the pipe
doesn’t back out. Allow the joint to cure prior to hydrostatic testing. Go by the manufacturer's
recommendations for set and cure times.

Step 21

Remove excess cement from the exterior. A properly made joint will show a continuous bead
of cement around the perimeter. If a void or large space appears around the perimeter, joint
failure may result.

Step 22

Align all piping system components properly without strain. Don’t bend or pull the pipe into
position after it’s solvent-welded.

Caution

Primers and cements are extremely flammable and may be explosive. Don’t store or use primers or cements near heat or an open flame, as death or serious injury may occur.

  • Solvent fumes created during the joining process are heavier than air and may be trapped in newly installed piping systems.
  • Ignition of the solvent vapors caused by spark or flame may result in injury or death from explosion or fire.
  • Read and follow all manufacturers' warnings and instructions for primers and cements.
  • When working with cements, primers and new piping systems, provide adequate ventilation to reduce line hazard and minimize inhalation of solvent vapors.

 

Joining 6-inch and Larger Iron Pipe Size ABS, PVC and CPVC Pipes

Joining larger-diameter piping systems, particularly for pressurized applications, requires a high degree of skill. The proper installation technique is critical.

Instructions

Step 1

Cut the pipe square with the axis. Seal all joints at the base of the fitting hub. An angled cut may result in joint failure.

Step 2

If damage or cracking is evident at the tube or pipe end, cut off at least 2-inches of the pipe beyond any visible cracks.

Step 3

Remove all pipe burrs from the inside and outside diameter of the pipe with a deburring tool.

Step 4

Bevel the end of the pipe by 10 to 15 degrees with a power or manual deburring tool.

Step 5

Clean and dry the pipe and fittings by removing surface dirt, grease or moisture with a clean, dry cloth.