How to Glue PVC Pipe

Materials Needed

• Clear PVC Cement or Polyurethane Glue
• PVC Primer
• Yellow Marking Pencil

Note: Gluing your project with PVC cement is permanent after about 15 seconds. Make sure your pipe is cut to the proper lengths and your item is square before applying cement.


1. After cutting the lengths of PVC pipe, “dry-fit” sections of your project as you progress. Make sure the lengths are correct and the fittings are facing the proper way. Use a carpenter’s square to guide you, if need be.

Tip: If you find an inserted pipe stubborn to remove, attach a vice-grip on the pipe with the PVC fitting clamped in a bench vice, then separate by twisting. Or, use two vice-grips. Place a towel or rag over the teeth of the vice-grips to avoid damaging the pipe.

Another method used by some PVCers is to apply baby powder or hand lotion inside the fittings. Be sure to re-clean the pipe before gluing.

2. When you’re certain the section you’re working on is correct then, using a yellow marking pencil, draw a line an inch, or so, along the pipe up and over each fitting. This serves as an easy alignment guide. Now take the section apart and lay out the pipe and fittings to prepare for gluing. (The photo shows a regular pencil because yellow didn’t photo well.)

3. Swab a light amount of glue to both the fitting and pipe using the dauber that comes with the can, insert the pipe into the fitting, twist slightly and line up the yellow markings. PVC glue, also called cement, dries fast so you’ll have to be quick. Hold it together for a few seconds. Then wipe off any excess glue immediately with an old rag, which will also remove the yellow line.

Note: since these are not plumbing projects, I personally feel you do not have to use PVC primer.

Tip: The gluing procedure I just mentioned is the proper way to fasten pipe to fitting. However, that said, I apply glue to the inside the fitting only. Applying glue to both parts is, to me, overkill and wastes glue. Again, use your own judgment.

I mentioned that I swab the inside of the fitting only. Why? Because when you insert the pipe most of the glue flows to the inside. If you swab the pipe instead, the glue would ooze outwards toward your hands. My way is neater and cleaner.

4. Normally, the pipe slides into the fittings easily. For those time when you’re not certain if the pipe has seated against the fitting wall, quickly and gently tap the opposite end of the pipe using a hammer with a small block of scrap wood held against the pipe, a dead-blow hammer or a wooden mallet.

5. Work in sections. For example, when building a chair I assemble the left side first then the right side. Finally, I secure the connecting lengths of pipe to both sides.

6. If, when making a PVC chair, you use sling material for the back and seat, be careful not to glue one side of the project until after you’ve attached the material to the frame. Then fasten the unglued side with sheet metal screws.

But what if you don’t want to use PVC glue? For some projects (example, doll furniture) applying one tiny spot of super glue to the inside of the fitting will do just fine. I don’t recommend it, however, for projects that will get heavy use.

Also, I’ve had good luck with polyurethane glues, which can give you plenty of time (up to 4 hours) to adjust your project before it cures. So far, the two projects for gardening I’ve tested have held up well. Again, you don’t want to use it for heavy-use projects like swing-sets, chairs, and so on.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to cut and glue your PVC projects just like a pro!

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