Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe offers many benefits for home improvement projects — it’s inexpensive, durable, versatile, and easy to use. However, it’s important to cut and glue it correctly for home projects. The wrong techniques could damage the fittings, make it impossible for pieces to connect correctly, and cost you unnecessary money and time.

    Keep reading to learn the best methods for cutting and gluing PVC pipe and which options are best for your home improvement project. 

    How To Cut PVC Pipes

    Making proper cuts is the first step when working on any project involving PVC pipes. Cutting pipes precisely ensures they fit together correctly and make watertight joints when glued.

    There are several tools for cutting PVC pipe at home, including PVC cutters, hacksaws, and cable saws

    Using PVC cutters is the simplest, most cost-effective method for cutting PVC pipe. They produce a smooth cut with no jagged edges. You can use simple cutters, which are optimal for 1-inch thickness or smaller, or heavy-duty cutters, which can cut pipes up to two inches in thickness. 

    Slicing through PVC with cutters is easy and requires little force — simply place the cutter around the pipe and squeeze until the blade cuts through the pipe. The main downside is that cutters can only make straight cuts. So, you’ll need a different tool for angled cuts.

    You’re in luck if you already have a hacksaw and don’t want to buy another tool. Hacksaws are another efficient way to cut PVC pipe. Some people even prefer them because they allow you to control the cut better.

    To use a hacksaw, you’ll need a vise, miter box, or a clamp to hold the pipe in place. From there, just saw through the pipe until you cut through. 

    A considerable benefit of hacksaws is that they’re ideal for straight or angled cuts, giving you plenty of flexibility with your home improvement project. However, hacksaws have sharp teeth and can produce jagged edges, so you’ll need to deburr the cut edges afterward.

    You may need to make cuts to PVC pipe after you’ve finished a project. I suggest using a cable saw for this situation. It’s the perfect item for cutting hard-to-reach pipes in tight spaces.

    When using a cable saw, you wrap the cable around the part of the pipe you need to cut, forming a “U” shape. Then, pull on each end of the cable, alternating until you’ve made the cut.

    Cable saws can make straight or angled cuts in hard-to-access areas. Just be aware that the cuts may be rough around the edges.

    How to Deburr PVC Pipe (If Needed)

    It’s common to find small burrs or sharp edges left behind after cutting your PVC pipe. Just remember to take the proper safety precautions when using sharp tools. Here are some tips for deburring PVC pipe:

    • Use a utility knife or razor blade to carefully slice off any burrs or ridges on the inside and outside of the pipe. Be sure to cut away from yourself and wear gloves to protect your hands.
    • For small pipes, wrap sandpaper around a dowel or other rounded object that will fit inside the pipe. Twist the sandpaper back and forth to smooth the inside edges. Start with coarse grit sandpaper first; then use finer grits to polish it smooth.
    • Use a round file or deburring tool made for larger-diameter pipes. Slowly rotate the pipe while holding the deburring tool in place to shave down any burrs or uneven edges.
    • If deburring a pipe end, insert it into a power drill and hold sandpaper against the spinning edge to smooth it. Start with a coarse grit and work up to finer sandpaper.
    • Wipe away plastic shavings when finished deburring and ensure no debris is left inside the pipe. Rinse with water if needed.
    • Apply a very light chamfer or bevel to the outer edges of the pipe using sandpaper. This helps the pipe slide together easier and prevents future burrs.
    • For a clean, professional look, follow up with PVC primer and cement to fully finish the edges.

    How to Glue PVC Pipe

    Gluing is just as important as cutting for PVC pipe projects. Proper gluing ensures a watertight seal so pipes don’t leak.

    There are a few key steps:

    Clean the pipe ends before applying any PVC cement or glue. Use a clean rag to remove any dirt, grease, or debris. Once cleaned, don’t touch the surfaces you plan to glue, as oils from your skin can interfere with the bond.

    After cleaning, use PVC primer on the connecting ends of the pipes. Primer preps and softens the PVC to help the glue make a better bond. Use a small brush built into the primer can to apply it to both pipe ends. Give the primer two to three minutes to set before moving to the next step.

    Next, apply a thin layer of PVC cement to the pipe ends. When both pipe ends are covered in cement, quickly slide them together with a slight twisting motion to spread the cement evenly.

    Hold the pipes tightly together for 30 seconds so they set correctly. Wipe away any drips or excess cement and let joints sit untouched for at least 30 minutes before handling.

    It takes at least 24 hours for PVC cement to fully cure. Avoid jostling the pipes or adding pressure during this time. After 24 hours, test for leaks just to be safe. 

    Tips for Successfully Cutting and Gluing PVC Pipe

    Follow these tips to ensure your PVC pipe cutting and gluing goes smoothly:

    • When buying PVC pipe, purchase the proper PVC primer and cement. Double-check that they’re appropriate for use on pipe material.
    • Measure carefully before cutting to avoid wasting material.
    • Use a miter box guide to make precise angled cuts when cutting pipes at an angle.
    • Wear gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from sharp PVC edges and debris when cutting.
    • Test glued joints for leaks before finishing a project to avoid costly water damage if joints fail.
    • Store unused PVC out of direct sunlight to prevent sun damage over time.

    So, Is Cutting and Gluing PVC Pipe Difficult?

    Cutting and gluing PVC pipes using the right tools and techniques is a fairly straightforward project. Pay special attention to measurements, make sure to clean joints, use primer and cement properly, and give it time to cure.

    For the best results, avoid rough or rushed steps that can lead to leaks, blockages, or other issues down the road. Patience and care go a long way. While PVC is known for being easy to work with, it’s not indestructible. Following best practices helps ensure your pipe projects look great and work flawlessly.

    FAQs About Cutting and Gluing PVC

    How do you cut thick PVC pipes?

    Use heavy-duty PVC cutters that can cut up to 2-inch pipes. You can also use a power miter saw with a fine-tooth blade.

    What is the best PVC primer?

    Oatey and Christy’s are two top-rated brands for PVC primer. However, I recommend choosing a PVC primer labeled for the specific type of PVC pipe you’re using.

    How long does PVC primer take to dry?

    PVC primer takes two to three minutes to set and dry on pipe surfaces. Be patient and wait at least three minutes before applying cement.

    What is the best PVC cement for pipes?

    Oatey and Christy’s make quality PVC cement. However, the best plan is to use cement made for the size and type of PVC pipes you’re gluing.

    How long does PVC cement take to dry?

    PVC cement takes eight hours to cure enough for water pressure. However, you should give it 24 hours to harden and bond fully.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Amy DeYoung

    Amy DeYoung


    Amy DeYoung has a passion for educating and motivating homeowners to improve their lives through home improvement projects and preventative measures. She is a content writer and editor specializing in pest control, moving, window, and lawn/gardening content for Today’s Homeowner. Amy utilizes her own experience within the pest control and real estate industry to educate readers. She studied business, communications, and writing at Arizona State University.

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    Lori Zaino

    Lori Zaino is a freelance writer and editor based in Madrid, Spain. With nearly two decades of editorial experience, she’s written and edited for publications like Forbes, CNN, Insider, NBC, Newsweek, The Points Guy, The Infatuation, and many others. Having just completed her first home renovation, she’s more interested in home improvements than ever, dedicated to bringing you fresh and accurate content to help you update your living spaces.

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