How to Use a PVC Pipe Cutter

What You'll Need
Measuring Tape
White Marking Pencil
PVC Pipe
PVC Joiners
PVC Elbows
PVC Cutter
Mitre Box
PVC Glue

Learning to use a PVC pipe cutter can help you save hundreds of dollars on your home renovation and repair projects. Whether you are remodelling your bathroom or kitchen, or simply need to make some drain repairs, you will need to cut some PVC pipe to drain sinks and appliances. A professional plumber will charge you a minimum of an hour’s labour to do a job that can be done in a matter of minutes. Once you get the knack, you will find using a PVC cutter as simple as cutting and pasting. 

Step 1 – Buying PVC Pipe and Accessories

Before you begin your project, it is important that you purchase the necessary and correct PVC piping. To know the length of pipe you need, measure from the appliance to where it will connect to the sewer pipe that leaves your house following the route the pipe will take. Take note of any bends in the pipe route to know how many elbows to purchase. Measure the diameter of the pipe at both the appliance and the sewer connection to determine if different sizes of PVC pipes need to be connected. Remember to buy connectors if one length of PVC pipe is not long enough. 

Step 2 – Measuring and Marking Lengths

Measure and construct your PVC pipe project in segments to ensure all sections meet up properly. Always add 1 inch at each end to fit inside the PVC couplings. Use a white marking pencil to mark the desired length on the black PVC pipe. Do not mark the entire circumference of the pipe, as this will not remain square. 

Step 3 – Cutting PVC Pipe

Attach the PVC pipe cutter so the blade is on the outside of your mark. Slowly spin the pipe inside the cutter as you apply consistent pressure to the blade. After a few turns the pipe will snap off. Resist the temptation to cut straight through the pipe, as this will create a joint that is not square. 

If you do not have a PVC pipe cutter, you can cut the pipe using a hacksaw and mitre box. Clamp the pipe inside the mitre box with your mark at the square opening. Cut through the pipe with easy strokes. 

Step 4 – Attaching PVC Pipe Segments

Sand any rough edges from the end of the PVC pipe, making sure to sand both the inside and outside of the pipe opening. Dry fit all sections of the project first to make sure all of your pipe lengths are accurate. Apply PVC glue to both the outside of the pipe and the inside of the fitting (elbow or coupling) and then slip the pipe into its fitting. It is important to get the pipe into the desired position quickly, before the glue has time to set and harden. To avoid moving pipes out of position accidentally, allow a glued joint to set before continuing.