Project Guide

How to Cut PVC Pipe

1
Choose the Cutting Method for Your Pipe
Customer selects PVC pipe.

Rigid pipe comes in sizes from 1/2-inch to 2 inches. Choose the best cutting method available to you based on the size of the pipe and the quantity of cuts you’ll need to make. 

  • Hacksaws come in handy if you need to make just a few cuts, since you probably already have one on hand. 
  • Scissor-type cutters prove effective for small pipes of 1 inch in diameter or less but require more effort by hand.
  • Ratchet-style cutters tend to be more accurate than scissor-type while having the capacity for larger-diameter pipes up to 1-1/2 inches. 
  • Power miter saws work easily on all sizes, especially when cutting a large quantity of pipes, but, like many power tools, tend to be more expensive. 


Tip: Do not use steel blades intended for wood on PVC.

2
Mark the Cut and Secure the Pipe
A person marks pipe for cutting.

Make the cuts as straight as possible to ensure the best possible fit. 

  • Using a tape measure and a pencil or other writing instrument, mark on the pipe surface where you want to cut. 
  • If you hold the pipe by hand while cutting, it can be less accurate and less safe. Whenever possible, secure the pipe with a vise, clamp, miter box or even duct tape to keep it from shifting out of place while cutting. 
3
Using a Hacksaw
A person cuts pipe with hacksaw.

With pipe secure, slowly draw the hacksaw blade back and forth, making sure that the cut is straight. Reduce speed near completion to provide a clean cut at the end. 

4
Using Scissor or Ratchet-Type Cutters
A person cuts pipe with scissor-type cutters.
  • Place the pipe inside the jaws of the cutter, making sure that the blade lines up with the mark. 
  • With scissor-style cutters, apply pressure to the handles and slowly rotate the cutter around the pipe. Making sure the cut is straight, continue to rotate until you cut through the pipe. 
  • With ratchet-style cutters, arrange the blade over the mark, then squeeze and release the handle. Continue the ratcheting action until the pipe is severed into two pieces. 
5
Using a Miter Saw
A person cuts pipe with miter saw.

Secure the pipe under the miter saw, aligning the mark under the saw blade at the workbench. Activate the saw and slowly bring it down until it severs the pipe. Turn off the saw and wait for the blade to stop spinning before removing the pipe. 

6
Prepare Pipes and Fittings for Connection
A person removes burrs from PVC pipe with tool.

Cutting or sawing pipe often leaves rough edges and stray fragments of pipe. Deburring removes shavings or burrs and leaves a smoother edge. 

  • Deburr each pipe by using a deburring tool or utility knife to remove shavings or other particles. 
  • Dry-fit pipes and fittings to make sure the piping is sized correctly and does not bend or twist. 
  • For ABS pipes, remove any ink, oil or dirt with chemical pipe cleaner and allow to dry. 
7
Apply the Primer and Cement
A person applies primer to PVC pipe.

Cementing CPVC and PVC pipes requires the application of a primer to soften the plastic and provide proper adhesion. 

  • Use a dauber to apply an even coat of primer at the end of the piece and the inside of the fitting. 
  • Do not use the same dauber for the cement that you used on the primer. 
  • Then, use the appropriate kind of cement that matches the material and follow instructions. Apply cement to the end of the pipe and inside the fitting. 
  • Quickly after applying cement, push the connectors together with a twist until properly seated. 
  • Hold the connected pipes for 30 seconds to ensure that it sticks.
  • Wipe away any excess cement with a rag. 
8
PVC Pipe Sizes
A selection of PVC pipe

PVC PIPE SIZES (SCHEDULE 40)


Pipe size: 1/2 inches

Outer diameter: 0.840 inches

Inner diameter: 0.622 inches

Wall thickness: 0.109 inches


Pipe size: 3/4 in.

Outer diameter: 1.050 inches

Inner diameter: 0.824 inches

Wall thickness: 0.113 inches


Pipe size: 1 inch

Outer diameter: 1.315 inches

Inner diameter: 1.049 inches

Wall thickness: 0.133 inches


Pipe size: 1 1/4 inches

Outer diameter: 1.660 inches

Inner diameter: 1.380 inches

Wall thickness: 0.140 inches


Pipe size: 1 1/2 inches

Outer diameter: 1.900 inches

Inner diameter: 1.610 inches

Wall thickness: 0.145 inches


Pipe size: 2 inches

Outer diameter: 2.375 inches

Inner diameter: 2.047 inches

Wall thickness: 0.154 inches

Working with PVC and other kinds of rigid pipe can be the easiest part of home plumbing projects. Depending on the size of the job, cutting and connecting PVC pipe and fittings should take relatively little time. Be sure to follow the workshop adage, "Measure twice, cut once."

Working with PVC and other kinds of rigid pipe can be the easiest part of home plumbing projects. Depending on the size of the job, cutting and connecting PVC pipe and fittings should take relatively little time. Be sure to follow the workshop adage, "Measure twice, cut once."


Don't worry if you don't own all of the tools needed to complete this DIY project. Rent tools and trucks for any project at The Home Depot.