My house uses black pipe (PVC ?) for waste removal. I wish to modify the
waste system so I can install a basement bathroom; rough ins are in place.
The parts I need at Home Depot are white (ABS ?).
Can I use the same cement for both polymer types?
Normally black DWV pipe is ABS and should say so on the side of the pipe.
Normally white DWV pipe is PVC, it should also say so on the side of the
pipe. Each pipe has its own cement that should be used, and only transition
fittings with transition cement should be used.
Once when I was in a bind, I used ABS cement on the ABS part and PVC cement
on the PVC part and put them together, it worked and has held for the past
The black plastic waste pipe is ABS; the white is PVC. PVC has pretty
much supplanted ABS nowadays. There used to be some primers & solvents
that claimed to be "universal" but IME that meant they were universally
inferior to a plastic-specific type. Use some other means to connect
your new PVC to the old ABS. It probably only needs to be done in one
For every complicated, difficult problem, there is a simple, easy
solution that does not work.
The black pipe is most likely ABS, and as another poster mentioned, it
should say so right on the pipe. The white pipe is most likely PVC.
Most home centers sell both types of pipe, but they're often on different
aisles in the store. There are also regional preferences. Around here
(Pacific Northwest), ABS is the most common pipe for waste systems. PVC
is more common in other parts of the country.
The two pipes are basically interchangeable, though I chose PVC for our
waste system even though it's less common here. It's a newer pipe
technology, and I've had a few leaks on earlier ABS installations.
Although, ABS has the advantage of only needed a single solvent, whereas
you need the purple "primer" and the seperate PVC solvent for PVC.
If you use PVC for your DWV system, make sure the pipe is stamped and
rated for DWV. You do not want to use the thinner drainage pipe that is
made for irrigation and gutter drains. You also don't want to use the PVC
pipe that is made for supply pressure lines (typically stops at about 1"
While home centers sell "universal" glues that are supposed to work with
both pipe types, the plumbing code does not permit these glue types (at
least it wasn't allowed two years ago when we were building). You
"might" get a strong water tight connection, but then again, it might
leak somewhere down the road. I wouldn't trust them, even if you don't
have to meet codes.
The better solution is to use a threaded adapter on each pipe type, and
screw the two pipes together.
Or, if you do not have the room to fit the threaded adapters in, I would
recommend a "Fernco" coupler. This is a rubber band that slips over the
end of each pipe, and has stainless band clamps to hold the band in
place. They are the standard way to join no-hub cast iron, but they also
work very well for joining different pipe types (iron, PVC, ABS, Copper,
Galvanized, etc.). Your home center should stock these too...
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