I'm trying to put in a 1" PVC pipe sprinkler system by myself (hubby
is disabled and cannot help). I've got 20' pvc and I'm having
problems fitting pieces together (I just can't seem to get them
straight together in the short time it takes for the glue to set up).
Is there an easy tip on how to do this??? Also, as I've already tried
(unsucessfully) gluing one, can I just put more glue on it to get it
connected or do I need to sand off the old glue or ???
Appreciate any hints. I've put together PVC pipe sprinkler system
years ago but then there were 2 of us and I can't remember having
these problems. I'm using only the pvc cement; will getting some
Thanks for your help.
I haven't installed a sprinkler system before, but I've done a lot of
work with PVC (and CPVC) piping.
Really, the only answer is to work fast, and only one joint at a time.
You'll need the purple PVC primer, and the clear or blue PVC solvent.
Let's say you want to join two 20' PVC pipes together. Start by laying
them end to end so they're close to the position they'll need to be in
(you won't have time to be wrestling the pipes and fittings into position
once you apply the solvent).
Then open both the primer and solvent cans so they're ready to use, but
leave the daubers setting in the cans.
Hold the end of one pipe, and a coupler fitting, in one hand so you keep
the two off the ground, and yet separated so you can work on them. It's
hard to describe how to do this. Sort of like hold the fitting between
your thumb and forefinger while you pick up the pipe end with the
remaining fingers on that hand.
While holding the pipe and fitting up, take the dauber from the primer
and swab around the last inch or so of the pipe, then swab around the
inside of the exposed end of the coupling. Try not to get any primer or
glue on the other side of the fitting if you can. Tilting it slightly so
any excess runs out helps. Then put the primer dauber back in it's can.
Now you have to work quickly. Take the dauber from the solvent, swab it
around the end of the pipe, and around the inside of the fitting. Quickly
put the dauber back in the can, and press the fitting onto the end of the
pipe pushing until it seats. Hold it in position like that and count to
15 before releasing.
You've just made your connection. Repeat the process to join the other
pipe to the fitting.
Nope, the solvent essentially "melts" the two pieces of plastic together.
If you didn't get the pipes together correctly, your only option is to
cut that fitting out and install a new one. This usually means adding
another piece of pipe to make up the shortened length.
Yes, the primer cleans the dirt and oils that exist on the pipe, and
soften the pipe slightly so the solvent can work better. If you don't use
the primer, you run the risk of leaks.
The basic idea is to line everything up ahead of time. No big deal for
straight runs. For complicated joints, dry fit everything first, then use
a sharpie pen to mark a line on the fitting and pipe. Then take
everything apart and start gluing. The marks will help you line
everything up correctly when you need to work fast.
Keep the joints clean and dry, apply the primer, apply the solvent, and
quickly press and hold the two together.
If you just press the fitting in and release it, the pressure of the
solvent will push the fitting back away from the pipe.
When you need to make cuts, I recommend a ratcheting PVC pipe cutter
(maybe $15-25 at a home center?). These quickly make clean and square
cuts with no burrs. Otherwise, you can use a saw to cut the pipe (I've
used a hacksaw with good success), then use a utility knife to clean up
the burrs on the inside and outside of the pipe.
If you have any doubts, dry fit first, mark the locations, disassemble,
I always thought you're supposed to let the primer dry before applying
the glue. Not totally dry, but dry enough that the glue swab doesn't
pick up the primer. Done that way there's plenty of time for
assembly. Once together, you've got maybe a second or two before it's
stuck for good.
I've never heard one way or the other about letting the primer dry first,
but the primer evaporates really fast anyway. I'm betting it'll be dry by
the time you put the primer dauber back in the can, pick up the solvent
dauber, and apply it to the pipe and fitting.
But if I'm reading the gist of your message correctly, you are correct
about being able to take your time with the primer. I wouldn't want to wait
hours between the primer and solvent, but it's no rush. It's when you apply
the solvent that you have to work quickly.
On a related note, I prefer to buy a few small cans of solvent rather than
one large can. Once a can is opened to the air, it will start to gel over
even after it is closed. Then the next time you go to use it (months
later), it will be unusable. This usually ends up wasting a half can or
more of solvent. Smaller cans let you use what you need and discard it.
Then you'll have a fresh new can for the next job.
PVC cement does set up quickly. You need to be ready before
applying. Of course you are dry fitting first to make sure the pieces
fit straight, right? One trick for angle pieces etc is to put an
aligment mark on both pieces with a permanent marker during your dry
fit check. (Keep it away from the edge since the cement will wash it
away.) That way there is no guesswork when you go to fit with cement
Good point! It's something I always do, almost mindlessly, so I didn't even
think to mention it.
I usually mark the alignment of the fittings with a pen, then apply the
primer/solvent and push the fitting on out-of-position, and twist it around
to the aligned position.
Just one of those things you learn to do quickly with a little practice, so
much so I forgot I even do it... :)
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