How to connect PVC pipe without glue
Several manufacturers say it’s impossible to assemble PVC pipe without the use of glue. Is that true? You’d be surprised how many ways there are to make PVC fittings connect together and stay connected! What is the best way to connect PVC pipe without glue? See below:
How to connect PVC pipe without glue?
The first thing you’ll need is the tools I’ve listed below:
- PVC Pipe Cutter (aka tubing cutter, works better than wire cutters).
- Drill w/cordless drill
- Teflon tape
- Spray Bottle
- Clean cloth
- Two rolls of packing tape
- One roll of duct tape
- One drop cloth
- A friend to help
- One dirty mop for cleanup
- WD-40 spray
- (Optional- but useful) Some Loctite
First, you’ll need to measure out your PVC pipe. Pick a size and don’t make the pipe or anything else longer than what’s needed, no point in wasting extra material and time. Make sure that when you’re cutting the pipe, it has at least 2 inches of length on each end before you cut because this way, if any mistakes are made, it can easily be corrected by adding an extra coupler onto the part being added. It is important to note here that PVC glue (PVC cement) is not good for joints larger than 1/2 inch. So stick to using just glue when needing to connect two pieces of PVC pipe together in sizes of one-half inch or less- although I personally would only use this type of glue for a smaller PVC pipe-sized junction.
This is a general overview of the steps needed to connect two pieces of PVC pipe together without glue. These steps are not necessarily in order. Just read them all and then decide how you want to go about it. After cutting your piece, make sure that it fits into the spot where you’re going to be putting it before moving on to anything else. Otherwise, you’ll have some extra work ahead of you…
Drill a hole into one end on each side so that when they are put together, there’s enough room to run water through on both sides. This will prevent any leaks at the joints if placed correctly. I like to drill one end of the pipe on each side with a 1/4 inch bit to begin (not all the way through, just about 2 or 3 inches deep into the pipe) and then use the same size bit for each of these holes and continue grilling until they are even with one another.
Once you have both ends drilled out, take your sandpaper and smooth out any rough spots where there are burrs. Now that you’ve taken care of the inside part it’s time to move onto adding an outside connector piece….On your tubing cutter set up, choose a number between 21-25 (numbers will indicate this on your cutting tool).
Make sure that you spray down any area where you’ll be cutting so that you have less of a chance of the glue sticking to anything but where it’s needed. Then using your cutter, cut an outside piece that will fit into both holes from Step 1. Once this is done, make sure there are no large burrs or jagged edges and use some sandpaper to smooth those out as well.
The last thing left to do before adding the interior pipe is to cover the exterior connection piece with some Teflon tape (just like it sounds: take the tape and wrap it around all sides of the cap part). It’s important to do this because PVC needs a little extra to make sure everything fits together snugly without any leaks (this step can save some headaches and potential rework down the road).
Next, it’s time to add the interior pipe that you already made. Drill a hole at each end of the cap piece from Step 3 to allow water to run through. After the holes are drilled, make sure there aren’t any large burrs or jagged edges (you can sand these off as needed with some sandpaper). Once done, remember that Teflon tape… If you didn’t do this step, Put at least one wrap around all sides of the pipe where it meets the cap part. It’s important to note that if any leaks happen now, they’re easier to find because they’ll be coming out of both ends rather than just one side, like when using glue.
Okay, now that your pipe is in place, it’s time to make sure it fits snugly by gently pushing the two pieces together. If there are any gaps between them, begin by taking some sandpaper and working it between; however, they may not have been fitting together smoothly until they fit snuggly. There shouldn’t be any additional glue here since you capped both ends off with a piece of tubing- but if for some reason you did use too much glue or applied it incorrectly, just pull out as much as you can using sandpaper.
NOTE: when connecting PVC pipe this way, I like to test my connections before gluing anything so that if there happen to be any leaks, I can easily find them AFTER I have the PVC completely connected but before I’ve glued it in place. It takes a little longer, but it’s better than having to re-do everything.
Ok, so now that you know your pipe fits together nicely, you can start adding glue and make sure there are no leaks… To do this, add some glue onto the piece that you previously cut off of your caulk tube (the one with the end cap), then put a little bit of water on both sides and then push them back together for about 5 minutes or so until they’re dry.
Making PVC Pipe connections without glue is easier than you may have thought. Remember, if it doesn’t fit quite right, be sure to use some sandpaper or mallet to make the proper adjustments before putting any additional glue on it. Stay tuned for more!