How to glue and unglue PVC pipe correctly. 6 Easy Steps

Today we are going to show you how to glue PVC pipe. PVC pipes come in many different sizes and shapes. There are engineer-grade PVC pipes that are made for industrial use. The most common type of PVC pipe is the residential grade PVC pipe which is used for projects around the house, garage, or garden. We’ll go over which type of glue and what kind of equipment you will need to glue your pipe together. So let’s go ahead and do this!


What is PVC pipe?

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. It is a type of plastic that is used in many different applications such as plumbing, construction, and manufacturing. It is often used in plumbing for the drains of sinks and toilets. PVC pipe can be found in many different configurations like straight pipe, elbow pipe, and tees. The most common size of PVC pipe for residential use is 1/2 inch diameter or 30mm.

PE and PP are alternatives for PVC.  PE and PP are stronger than PVC but more expensive. This is why it is not often used in residential projects. PP can also come with a rubber ring so that you can slide the pipes into each other without having to glue them together. PE often has to be welded together, and this is quite a lot of work. 

While we say that PVC gets glued, this is technically not correct as the material heats up and forms a bond in this way. 

How to choose the right glue and equipment

When you begin to glue your pipe together, it is important that you know what kind of glue you will need. There are many types of glue that can be used to make a tight seal between the two pieces of pipe. Some types of glue require a primer whereas others don’t. It’s important to take the local code into account as well when choosing the right type of glue.

If you are looking to use this method in your work then we recommend using a PVC adhesive specifically made for plumbing projects because they can be applied in cold or hot weather. The glue can dry quite fast when the weather is hot so you have to take this into account.  Plumbers have to glue PVC in a wide temperature range and it is good to be aware that gluing PVC  during the winter is different than doing so during the summer. 

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 6: Test 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.

How do I remove a PVC pipe fitting after it’s glued? Ungluing a PVC pipe

You might have glued two pieces of PVC together and noticed that it doesn’t work out. You have to remove a piece of PVC. How can you do this?

PVC glue takes some time to cure. If the glue is not dry yet, you can pull the two pieces and they should become detached from each other. You can clean the glue and start again.

Be careful that you don’t apply the torch directly as this can melt the PVC pipe. Just heat it gradually by removing the fire from time to time. This will heat up the plastic but won’t deform it too much.

We can also heat up the PVC. This will make it flexible again and you should be able to remove the fitting. Wear appropriate gloves and protection when you do this. You can use a screwdriver to pry the piece open. Don’t use too much heat though as this will make the PVC burn. Aim the flame for a few seconds and remove it. Do this until the PVC is flexible enough. Once you reach this point, you can try to remove the PVC fitting.

The PVC glue should become flexible as well when you heat it up. This can take quite some time so be patient. Just don’t overheat the fitting and you should be fine.

The PVC can also burn and break if you apply too much heat so you have to be very gentle when you do this. Wear the right protective equipment as the plastic can get quite hot.

The second method doesn’t involve a torch and is easier for beginners. A saw and file are generally used to cut PVC. This is quite easy as you can just cut through the PVC if you have a good saw. Just make sure that you cut straight. You can use a file to remove the sharp ends and create a smooth end result.

The easiest way to do this is to use a saw and cut the PVC. This is quite easy to do. Just make sure that you have a bucket nearby so that you can catch the water in the drain. You can use a saw to remove the inside part of the fitting as well.

Once this is done, you can add a new piece of PVC by using glue. This can be a wider piece that connects the two pieces that you have at the moment. There are fittings on the market so it is easy to get this in multiple shapes.

To conclude we can state that gluing PVC is quite straightforward if you have the right tools. Just make sure that you don’t have to turn the pipes once they have been glued. 

How long does it take to let PVC glue dry before turning on water?

This depends on the weather. If it is hot outside, the PVC glue will cure faster than if it is cold outside. As a general rule, you should wait at least a few hours. This will make sure that the two pieces are well connected.

The quality of the glue can also have an impact. Cheaper glues take longer to bond than more expensive ones. Check the instructions on your glue to get an idea of how long you will have to wait.

The type of connection also has an impact. If it is a small piece with a lot of bends, you should wait longer than a straight piece that is bigger.

The quality of the PVC can also have an impact. Cheaper PVC might heat up too much and create an imperfect bond. This is why you should check your work once it is done.

If you are not sure, you should just wait it out. This ensures that you don’t get problems later on. A lot of people want to turn on the water too soon.

How to keep PVC glue from drying out

PVC glue can dry out if you don’t take care of it. Make sure to close the lid completely. You should store it in the right temperature range. Don’t leave it in the sun or freezing temperatures. After every work day, you should store it back in a dark and cool place.

It is also important that you check the due date of the product. PVC glue doesn’t last forever so you should use it before this date.

You can also shake the glue from time to time to make sure that it keeps flowing. You can use a piece of plastic to stir it as well. This will make sure that the glue remains a liquid.

You also have to make sure that you don’t add dust or dirt to the glue. This is why it is important to close the lid once you are done working.

A lot of plumbers leave their PVC glue on the job site but this can create problems as it is a hot and dusty environment.

Always have a spare bottle for when you have problems with your PVC glue.

If you want to install a new toilet or add a new sink, chances are that you will have to glue PVC. In this post we have outlined how to do this.