PVC Pipes

PVC comes in a variety of different forms, pipe is the most common. PVC pipe materials are sort of like industrial Legos. You can make all kinds of things using the basic parts.

Though the material is easy to handle and maintain, there are a few things you’ll want to know before diving in. Save yourself some time, money, and frustration by soaking up some quick PVC tips.

Things you can make with PVC pipes

Pipe and Pipe Fittings


You have lots of options when it comes to PVC pipe sizes. The larger the pipe size, the more rigid and less flexible it will be. The pipes also come in different thicknesses

Pipe Fittings

These little connectors are also made from PVC material unlock a world of possibilities when it comes to connecting different sections of pipe

Ratcheting Pipe Cutter

Cutting and Making holes

A ratcheting pipe cutter uses a stepped ratcheting arm to move a VERY SHARP blade through the tubular plastic. This is excellent for cutting pipes with small diameter. To use this tool, place a length of pipe into the jaws of the of the cutter, and repeatedly squeeze until the blade has cut all the way through the tube. However, these cuts are not very precise. You are often left with crooked edges. I found with some practice, you can get good at making close-to-90-degree slices.

Using a hacksaw

Using a Miter Box

It is a tool used to guide a hand saw to make precise cuts

It's important to clamp down your pipe so it doesn't roll around while you are cutting it.

The miter box I found has little pegs that help secure the pipe. The saw used here is a

Removing Burrs on the pipe

This method of cutting pipe is slow and will leave you with burrs on your pipe. Plastic burrs left from sawing can cause trouble in PVC pipes. Outside the pipe they’ll interfere with a good fit. On the inside they can collect debris and slow the water flow.

You can remove them with a file or pocketknife, but sandpaper is easier to use and works great. Simply roll a quarter sheet of 80-grit sandpaper into a tube and flatten it slightly to match the curve of the pipe. Then hold the sandpaper at an angle and sand the inside and outside of the plastic pipe until you create slightly beveled edges

Making Holes

Since PVC pipe is so soft, you can make small holes with screws or nails. The best way to make holes in PVC is by using a drill.

Bending the Pipe

When the PVC pipe is heated, it softens and bends. But if heated close to its melting point which can cause the PVC to off-gas harmful toxins like chlorine and dioxins. So don't heat too much and Perform bends outdoors or in a well-ventilated area such as an open garage or better yet, under a ventilation hood if you have access to one. Respirators are encouraged

For small diameters of PVC pipe, the wall thickness is much thinner than other larger diameters making the pipe easy to manipulate with minimum heat

I had to bend some pvc for an upcoming project and I had some trouble just using a heat gun, so I had to come up with another solution. So I heated some sand on a portable induction cook top and poured the heated sand into the taped pvc with a funnel. It worked great

The temperature range for bending PVC is between 170 degrees and 220 degrees, with 170 being perfect for long, sweeping arcs and 220 allowing you to make tight curves

Tools for heating and bending

Heat Gun

Induction Plate

Heat resistant gloves


PVC parts bonded together using specially formulated permanent cement. This cement uses chemicals that react with the PVC and actually fusing together the pipe and fittings

For jobs that need to be water-tight, you’ll also want to use a PVC primer before gluing

Before you begin to glue it’s a good idea to fit all your parts together to see if they need adjustment. This is called dry fitting