PVC is the third most used synthetic plastic polymer in the world. It’s versatile and useful in various sectors, such as health care, manufacturing, and others.
Even at home, you can use it for various household crafts and installations. These include window frames, electrical cables, and others.
The PVC pipe is leak-free and can resist corrosion. And because it’s affordable and easy to work with, you can do the installations yourself. You only need a few tools and materials to handle such a project.
In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about PVC pipes and fittings. Let’s get into details!
How Far Does PVC Go Into Fitting?
The depth PVC can go into fitting depends on their sizes. Fittings usually have a small detent or ridge (known as a hub) in them. It helps to stop the pipe from crossing that distance. And because of that, the tube can’t go far beyond it.
The pipe’s design enables it to go into the fitting. So the outer diameter of the tube will be the inner diameter of the fitting.
If you’re working with the correct sizes, the hub in the fitting will be able to stop the pipe. For instance, a 3/4 inch pipe will go about ¾ inch depth into the fitting. At that point, the tube won’t move freely into the fitting, which is how far it can go.
How To Connect PVC Pipe And Fitting
Connecting PVC pipes to fittings is a very crucial task. That’s because it determines if your structure will be secure and robust or not.
There are two ways to connect PVC pipes and fittings. They include the PVC solvent and the fastener methods.
PVC solvent (cementing) method:
It involves using PVC cement to weld the parts together. The solvent melts the plastic surfaces and fuses them after about 30 seconds. So you’ll need to do it fast and try not to make a mess.
The process is not the same as gluing the parts together. It melts and infuses them permanently.
The method gives a more permanent and reliable solution to connecting pipes and fittings. That’s because they become one solid unit.
Here are the steps to connect PVC pipes and fittings with the solvent method.
Step#1: Prepare work environment
Before you start the project, prepare the work environment. Make sure the area is well-ventilated. That’s because the solvent can give off harmful toxins.
Working with PVC cement and primer can be messy. So wear protective gloves and safety goggles to avoid contact with skin and eyes. You want to lay a towel over the work surface to soak drips and reduce cleanup.
Step#2: Do a test-fit
You want to do a test-fit before you start your project. That’ll ensure that the sizes are correct and are an exact match.
Check how you want the structure to look when you connect the pipes and fittings. It’ll help avoid mistakes when you make the connection.
Step#3: Make uniform cuts
After that, ensure your cuts are uniform. Even if you’re using a pipe cutter, ensure they have no burrs and are square. That’ll prevent issues at the joints.
Make sure you smoothen jagged edges with a utility knife or sandpaper. Stray bits of plastic and uneven cuts can lead to weak connections and cause clogs. So, ensure the pipe is free from debris and is clean and dry.
Step#4: Check the state of the glue and primer
Before you connect the pipe and fittings, check the state of the glue and primer. Make sure they are not expired. Most of them have a shelf-life of two to three years. So, if you’ve stored them for a long time, it’s best to confirm the dates first.
Ensure the cement is fluid and not thick. Then, check the date of manufacture on the can.
Step#5: Apply primer
Next, apply primer to the interior part of the fitting and the outer part of the pipe. Start with the fitting. Coat the primer excessively on the tube and fit till it puddles.
Apply the primer till it reaches the socket depth of the fitting. Stop at the detent where the pipe will sit.
Then, hold the pipe and fitting such that the primer drips out of them to the towel. Ensure it doesn’t flow inward.
Step#6: Apply the cement
After you coat the pipe and fit it with a primer, you have to apply the cement immediately. Do it while the previous coating is still wet.
Spread a layer of cement evenly over the areas you applied primer.
It’s important to note that the primer may look dry. But it’ll still be wet as long as you make the joint within 5 minutes. That’s because the chemicals in it evaporate within this period.
If it’s an internal fitting (like a dome cap or coupling), you won’t need to apply the primer and cement outside the fitting. However, use the coatings inside the PVC pipe.
You have to work fast. If the cement dries before you finish the connection, you’ll reapply it.
Step#7: Connect the pipe and fitting
Now, connect the PVC pipe and fitting. First, insert the pipe in the fitting. Twist it slowly in a quarter-turn as you do so. If you can’t push the tube in place, use a mallet to tap it into position. That’ll create a strong weld and spread the cement well.
You’ll notice a layer of cement around the new joint, and the excess will come out.
When the orientation matters such as in a tee or elbow fitting, you must connect them carefully. Allow it to turn a quarter away from the final position as you insert the pipe. That way, it will align in the right direction when you turn it to spread the cement.
For a dome cap or coupling, insert the fitting into the PVC pipe. You can use a mallet to tap it into place if you can’t do it by hand.
Step#8: Hold the connection in place
The next thing to do is to hold the new connection in place firmly. It’ll take about 30 seconds for the solvent to work fully. After the timeframe, you can let go of the joint as it will be firm now. All that’s left is to allow it to cure.
Ensure you wipe off any excess primer and cement. Please don’t leave the surplus coatings on for more than 30 seconds. You don’t want them to damage the pipe.
Step#9: Allow it to cure
Now, all that’s left is for the connection to cure. Leave it for at least 2 hours to get hard enough to be put to use.
Check the cement manufacturer’s recommendation for the exact curing time.
It involves attaching the parts using fasteners like screws. The technique allows you to reposition or reuse the fittings and pipes later. That’s because it’s not a permanent connection. So, it’s best for temporary structures.
The method won’t work on internal fittings like dome caps and coupling. But will work only on external ones.
Here are steps to connect pipes and fittings with the fasteners method
Step#1: Fit them correctly
The first thing to do is ensure the PVC pipe and fitting fits correctly. Insert them and ensure they sit well. You can use a mallet to tap them in place.
Step#2: Make a pilot hole
After that, make a pilot hole on the connection. It should be halfway to where the pipe and fitting meet. Use a drill for this. But ensure the bit is slightly smaller than the screw threads. That’ll create a space to insert the screw easily.
Step#3: Insert screw
The next step is to insert a threaded screw into the pipe and fitting. Ensure it’s long enough to go through. You can do that with a power drill or screwdriver. That will hold the connection in place till whenever you want to unscrew it.
If the screw doesn’t hold the connection well, you can add more screws. Use shorter screws that won’t touch each other on the fitting.
Tips For Measuring And Cutting PVC Pipe For Fitting
It is necessary to cut the PVC pipe to length before it goes into the fitting. You’ll have to deburr and chamfer it.
Measuring the pipe is not only to know the size of the opening for proper fitting. It also entails a lot of other measurements that make the project successful.
Here are some tips for this.
- Check the inside diameter of the pipe. It helps you identify the PVC pipe you need. To take the measurement, run a tape measure inside the tube. Measure it from one side of the interior wall to the other.
- Measure the outer diameter. Start by wrapping a piece of string outside the PVC pipe. Then, mark the spot where it meets the starting point. And measure the length to the marked area. That’ll help you determine the fitting size you need.
- Note that two pipes may have the same inner diameter but different outer diameters. The one with the larger external measurement is stronger and best for heavy-duty projects.
- Measure how deep the pipe will go into the fitting. The hub is a ridge that indicates the depth that it can go in the fitting. The distance is the socket depth.
- The socket depth is essential for the pipe to enter and sit correctly at the fitting’s hub. It determines how much tube goes into the fitting.
- The inner diameter of the fitting must be large enough to fit the pipe’s outer diameter perfectly.
The distance a PVC pipe can get to in a fitting depends on the sizes of both of them. If the pipe matches the fitting well, then it can’t go beyond the fitting’s hub.
Connecting the pipe to the fitting is easy. You can do so using the cementing or fastener methods. Choose any technique depending on how secure or permanent you want the connection to be.