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What is Pipe Glue?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pipe glue is a product for creating watertight connections between lengths of pipe, usually polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping. Metal pipe is typically joined with soldering or the use of epoxies rather than glues. Many hardware stores carry pipe glue, often offering several types for different kinds of projects. People should be careful when working with this substance, because hazardous fumes may arise while working and could make people sick, especially in confined areas like crawlspaces under houses.

When people connect PVC piping, they start with a cleanly cut piece of plastic and apply a primer to soften the plastic, followed by pipe glue. Then, they can fit two pieces of pipe together, or attach the pipe to another kind of fitting. The pipe is held in place to allow the glue to set, and once it completely cures, the connection should be waterproof. Water or other materials transported in the pipe will not leak out, and material in the surrounding environment like air will not seep into the plumbing.

Companies design pipe glue to hold the plastic together firmly for years or decades, reducing the amount of necessary maintenance. It is also noncorrosive, and should not damage or eat into the plastic. Other kinds of glues may cause pitting and other issues, leading to leaks and an eventual failure of the joint. Typically, people notice a strong odor when they prime and glue PVC. It is advisable to wear a respirator to avoid inhaling the fumes directly, and to work in a well-ventilated space to reduce the risk of injuries.

People may paint or spray pipe glue onto a pipe, depending on the product and their needs. It is important to apply an even layer and to avoid making it too thin or too thick. The product should come with clear directions providing information about how much glue to apply and how long the joint needs to cure before water can be run through the pipes. If people stress the joint by jarring it or using the plumbing before the glue cures, it may come apart.

If people are not sure about what kind of pipe glue to use, they can consult a staff person at a hardware store. Personnel are familiar with all the products their stores carry, and can help customers select the most appropriate supply for their needs. Plumbers and contractors can also provide information, including advice on installing piping in accordance with building codes.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a About Mechanics researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon297173 — On Oct 15, 2012

What is the right type of respirator to use for the PVC glue and primer fumes?

By anon166219 — On Apr 07, 2011

Just for Copper is a product for putting copper pipes together. Works great.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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