How to Connect PVC Pipes in 6 Easy Steps

What You'll Need
PVC pipe
PVC connecting pieces
Gorilla Glue or similar adhesive
Handsaw or miter saw
Latex gloves
Water faucet or tub of water

PVC is the shortened term for polyvinyl chloride, a type of industrial plastic that most commonly is sold in the form of pipe. It has numerous commercial uses, but it is especially widespread in the plumbing and electrical industry.

Because it is so durable while maintaining a workable level of flexibility, PVC is good to use when building frames for outdoor or garden use. It is inexpensive, easy to cut and piece together, and it comes in many different thicknesses to suit all types of jobs. Connecting PVC pipes is easy after you have done the preliminary work of designing the frame, buying the necessary lengths of pipe and the connecting pieces and cut it all to size.

Step 1: Cut the Pieces to Size

After designing your desired frame, set about cutting the PVC pipe to size. A design really helps, for you can take stock of the different sized pieces you will need. Once you know how long each piece must be, cut them all at once.

Step 2: Arrange the Connecting Pieces

When designing the frame, note what kind and how many of each connecting piece you will need. Your choices are 90 degree elbow joints, 30 degree joints, straight splices, end caps, 3-ended double L pieces and 4-ended cross pieces. The easiest of these to work with are the 90 degree joints, double Ls and splices. You can also find threaded pieces for screw-in joints.

Step 3: Lay Everything Out

With all of the connecting pieces and cut lengths of pipe at the ready, lay out the frame on the ground. It will only be in two dimensions, but it will help you keep all of the parts organized.

Step 4: Clean the Ends

Where there is to be a glue joint, clean the end of the PVC pipe that will adhere to a connecting piece. Also, clean the inside of the connecting piece. This need not be a deep cleaning; just wipe the PVC clear of any dirt or debris.

Step 5: Proper Gorilla Glue Use

Gorilla Glue is the recommended adhesive because it is strong and easy to apply. To properly attach a piece of PVC pipe to a joining piece, wet the inside of the joining piece into which the pipe will slide. Squeeze a small amount of glue onto the outside of the pipe that will slip into the connector. It does not need to be much. Use a small dowel or stick to spread it evenly around the outside of the pipe.

Slide it into the joining piece as far as it will go and set it aside. In a few minutes, the glue will begin to foam up, and the bond should be rock solid in an hour or less. Don’t apply Gorilla Glue to both ends: wet one end, put glue on the other.

Step 6: Repeat the Process

Repeat step 5 for each glue joint.

Unless the frame is to be permanent, you do not need to glue every joint. If, for instance, the four legs are glued to their top elbow or double L joints and the legs are held fast with a foundation, it is not necessary to glue the horizontal pieces in. Simply slide them into the joints securely. The foundation combined with the tight plastic fit will keep them together. If the frame is permanent or if there will be a lot of weight attached to it, glue every joint, making sure to keep the frame in its proper shape as you do.