How to connect misaligned PVC pipe (AVOID Doing This!)

PVC is often used for drains of sinks and showers. It is necessary that the pipe is installed well or we get clogs or other problems. In this post, we will outline how to connect misaligned PVC pipes so that the wastewater can flow away without any issues.

In most cases, it is quite easy to get this fixed. You just need a piece of PVC pipe, PVC glue, and a saw. For bigger pipes, you might need special equipment as these can be harder to cup open.

PVC won’t line up: too low or far from the wall and drain

Drains often are made out of PVC or PP.  We have discussed how to glue PVC HERE. If we work with glue, we have to measure the length of the drain by measuring from the center of one connection (or fitting) to the other one. This makes sure that a part of the drain goes in the connection and creates a proper seal. 

Sometimes rings are included that you just have to tighten. This is easier to install as you can adjust everything if you notice that a piece is too long or short. There are also systems with rubber rings that allow you to slide the pieces together. This is easier to install than using glue for the drains as you can adjust things along the way.

Getting the height right is often the easiest. You can lower the drain that connects to the sink by adding a piece or lowering the connection. If it needs to be higher, you can cut a piece from this drain as well. You can get an extension piece with the P-trap kit. It is a great idea to get this.

Don’t add more pieces than needed. Each connection is a weak point that can leak or clog. For this reason, we should try to be efficient as possible so that the water can flow without too many interruptions.

We also have to keep the size of the drain into account. Don’t narrow it too much as this can cause clogs or other problems. 

Getting the width right can be more challenging as the angle that the pipe comes from doesn’t align with the one in the wall. P-traps often come in only one or two sizes. Often the easiest solution is to add a piece to the pipe that comes from the wall.

It can take some trial and error to find the right connection. Most p-trap kits that you get in the store can be adjusted several times. This makes it easy to try different configurations. If you have to add a dishwasher or garbage disposal to the drain, it can be harder to get everything installed properly.

If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can contact a plumber. They can install a p-trap in less than 30 minutes.

Connect the drains: Types of PVC glue

There are three different types of glue used for PVC pipes.

1/ The first type is solvent-based glue which we will use to glue our PVC pipe together.

2/The second type is water-based glue which we will use to glue the inside of the pipe.

3/ The third type is called polyurethane or poly that we will use to glue the outside of the pipe.

Water-based glues used to work less well but they have evolved a lot in recent years. Most plumbers still use solvent-based glues but you see a trend towards water-based glues as this is becoming required in more local codes. Brands have adjusted and started to offer more water-based PVC glues. Oatey and Gorilla are popular brands.

The best way to glue your PVC and C-PVC pipe together

The first step is measuring and making sure that you have the correct size of drains. You also have to know at what angle the pieces have to fit. You can add a line on each piece so that you remember how they fit together.  

You can use a pre-made fitting or you can heat up a piece of PVC and push the other end in. This last option is cheaper but requires quite some work as you have to make sure that the torch doesn’t burn the PVC. You have to turn the piece around to make sure that the heat doesn’t crack the PVC. You might also have to file a part of the pipe so that it fits in the expanded piece. 

Most people just buy a pre-made fitting as this is faster. Check the size fittings you will be using with your pipe to make sure that you get the right ones.

Step 1: You have to clean the PVC before you glue it. This can be done with a towel and some soap. Remove all dust before you start applying the glue. 

Step 2: Debur the pipe. This is done with a file or grinder. This makes sure that the glue sticks well as it might get pushed in the fitting otherwise.

Step 3: Apply the primer to the pipe and fitting. This must be wet when you apply the glue.

Step 4: The next step is to apply some of the glue (or cement) onto both pieces of pipe and spread them evenly over the entire surface area. This is quite easy as there is often a brush included with the glue. Then you are going to slide one piece in the other. The lines that were drawn on each piece make it easy to know at what angle this needs to happen. Don’t turn the pieces.

Step 5: Once they have been glued together, hold the pipe and fitting for thirty seconds or so, and then use a wet sponge or cloth to wipe away any excess glue before allowing them to sit for an hour or two for the glue to completely dry. Depending on the weather, it can take longer or shorter before it dries.  

Step 6Test the joints after the curing time. Check the instructions for how long this is as it depends on the weather.

How to clean up what you’ve done.

First of all, clean up what you’ve done. If you spilled any liquid on the floor, use a wet rag to soak up the excess and make sure that it’s gone. If you have any glue left on your hands or clothes, wash it as soon as possible.

To test the installation, you can run water for a few minutes and check under the drain to make sure that there are no leaks. Small water drips can add up so this should be fixed. If your gasket is leaking, you might need to add some plumbers putty (or silicone). 

To conclude, we can state that P-traps are essential parts of your plumbing system. Every sink must have one. It can be quite challenging to install one though. In this post, we have discussed some tricks that can help you to install the p-trap if it doesn’t align properly.

There are also some options for tighter spaces that have been discussed. Most DIY’ers should be able to install a P-trap Your plumber can help you with installing it as well if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Installing a p-trap is often quite easy. It can take some trial and error but you should be able to find the right solution. If it hasn’t been installed properly, you might have to deal with clogs. Luckily, it is quite easy to install a new p-trap if needed.