The Basics

  • How to Remove Markings and Bar Codes From PVC

    Remove Markings from PVC - How To


    DIY People and PVC Lovers - This is for you!

    Remove those pesky markings and bar codes manufacturers leave on pipe. This simple trick will have your PVC projects really shining!

    What You Need:

    - Acetone

    - Rag / Cloth

    Saturate a part of the cloth with acetone (which can be found in standard nail polish remover). Rub the marked upPVC pipe or fitting to remove the print and dirt. Repeat until clean.

    This process actually removes that outer layer of PVC from the pipe. This makes the PVC shiny and white. Plus, it creates a slightly rougher surface that paint will adhere to more easily. I recommend this trick before any PVC project that requires a nice finish or painting.


  • PVC Pipe and Fitting Dimension Information

    PVC Dimensions - The Low-down

    Where can I find dimensions for this PVC fitting or pipe?

    We get this question a lot. Two sources I keep bookmarked are the Spears Manufacturing online technical sourcebook and the Lasco Fittings techsheet webpage. Each of these resources is searchable (CTL + F) by part number, making finding the exact dimensions on a specific part a breeze. Check them out for yourself here:


    Spears Manufacturing Online Technical Sourcebook >Click Here

    Lasco Fittings, Inc. Technical Data for PVC and CPVC > Click Here


    Between these two resources you can find dimensional data on all sorts of PVC, CPVC pipe and fittings and more. Both resources use PDF format, as it is easy to download and searchable. Spears even updates their tech sheets weekly!

    Unlike parts in other industries, PVC fitting parts many times use the same part number across brands. That means a Spears part and a Lasco part may have the same part number. While some part dimensions should stay fairly constant across brands (pipe, couplings) some may differ slightly in things like outer dimension. For exact dimensional data on a fitting be sure you use information from that specific manufacturer.


    Other Tips:

    -  Know what schedule PVC you’re looking at (schedule 40 or schedule 80)

    -   Use the part number in your search (for fittings this is commonly a 6 digit number with a dash in the middle, like 435-080.

    -  Know the term for the measurement you need (Outside diameter, inside diameter, min. wall, etc.)

    -   See our Resource Center Glossary for help with PVC terms


  • Glossary of PVC Terms

    We've put together a list of the most common PVC terms and jargon and made them easy to understand. All terms are listed in alphabetical order. Find the definition of the PVC term you're wondering about below!


    ASTM – stands for American Society for Testing and Materials. Known today as ASTM International, this is a leader in international standards use for safety, quality and consumer confidence. There are a number of ASTM standards that apply to PVC and CPVC pipe and fittings.


    Belled End – bell end pipe is made to flare out at one end, allowing another piece of pipe to slide into it without the need for a coupling. This option is usually only relevant for use in long stretches of straight pipe line.


    Bushing – a fitting used to reduce the size of a larger fitting. Sometimes called a "reducer bushing"


    Class 125 – this is a type of large diameter schedule 40 PVC fitting that is similar in every way to a standard schedule 40 fitting EXCEPT that it has not been through testing. Class 125 fittings are generally less expensive than standard sch. 40 PVC fittings of the same type and size and are therefore used commonly for applications where tested and approved fittings are not required.


    Compact Ball Valve – a relatively small ball valve usually made of PVC that offers a simple on/off function. The valve cannot be taken apart or easily repaired and so it is generally the least expensive ball valve option.


    Coupling – a fitting that slips over the ends of two pieces of pipe to join them together


    CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) – a material similar to PVC in its rigidity, corrosion resistance, and chemical resistance. CPVC, however, has a higher temperature tolerance than PVC. The maximum working temperature of CPVC is 200F compared to 140F (standard PVC)


    DWV – stands for Drain Waste Vent . A system of PVC created to handle non-pressurized applications.


    EPDM – (Ethylene Porpylene Diene Monomer)  a type of rubber used for sealing PVC fittings and valves.


    Fitting – part of a pipe line used to fit together sections of pipe. Fittings can come in all shapes, sizes, and materials.


    FPT (FIPT) – aka Female (Iron) Pipe Thread. This is a type of threading that is found on the inside lip of a fitting, allowing connection to a MPT or male pipe threaded end. FPT/FIPT threading is commonly used for PVC and CPVC piping systems.


    Furniture Grade PVC – a type of pipe and fitting made especially for use in non-liquid handling applications. Furniture grade PVC is not rated for pressure and should only be used for structural/recreational applications. Unlike standard PVC, furniture grade PVC is made without any markings or obvious blemishes.


    Gasket – a seal that goes between two surfaces to create a water-tight seal that is leak-free.


    Hub – a type of DWV fitting end that allows pipe to slide into the end.


    ID – (Inside Diameter) the greatest distance between the two inside walls of a piece of pipe.


    IPS – (Iron Pipe Size) a common sizing system used for PVC pipe, also known as Ductile Iron Pipe Standard or Nominal Pipe Size Standard.


    Modular Seal – a seal that can be put in place around a pipe to seal the space between the pipe and the surrounding material. These seals are commonly made up of links that are assembled and tightened to fill the space between the pipe and a wall, floor, etc.


    MPT – aka MIPT, Male (Iron) Pipe Thread – a type of threaded end found on PVC or CPVC fittings where the outside of the fitting is threaded to facilitate connection with a female pipe threaded end (FPT).


    NPT – National Pipe Thread – the US standard for tapered threads. This standard allows NPT threaded fittings to fit together in a water-tight seal.


    NSF – (National Sanitation Foundation) a system of standards for public health and safety.


    OD – Outside Diameter – the longest straight distance between the outside of a piece of pipe on one side to the outside of the pipe wall on the other side. A common measurement in PVC and CPVC piping.


    Operating Temperature – the temperature of the media and immediate surroundings of a pipe line. PVC has a maximum recommended operating temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.


    O-Ring – a ring shaped gasket usually made from an elastic material. O-rings are found in some PVC fittings and valves and are used a seal to create a water-tight joint between two (usually moving or removable) pieces.


    Pipe Dope – the slang term for pipe thread sealant. This is a pliable material that is applied to the threads of fittings before installation to ensure a water-tight and long-lasting seal.


    Plain End – standard end type for pipe. Unlike belled end pipe this pipe is the same diameter the entire length of the pipe.


    PSI – Pounds per Square Inch – a unit of pressure used to describe the maximum recommended pressure to put on a pipe, fitting or valve.


    PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – a rigid thermoplastic material that is corrosion and chemical resistant. Used commonly in a wide range of commercial and consumer products around the world, PVC is known for its use in media handling pipe.


    Saddle – a fitting used to create an outlet in pipe without cutting or removing the pipe. Saddles generally clamp on to the outside of a pipe allowing a hole to then be drilled for the outlet.


    Sch – abbreviation for Schedule – the wall thickness of a piece of pipe


    Schedule 40 – usually white, this is a wall thickness of PVC. Pipe and fittings can come in various "schedules" or wall thicknesses. This is the most commonly used thickness for home projects and irrigation.


    Schedule 80 – usually gray in color, schedule 80 PVC pipe and fittings have a thicker wall than schedule 40 PVC. This makes sch 80 able to withstand higher pressures. Sch 80 PVC is commonly used for commercial and industrial purposes.


    Slip – See Socket


    Socket – an end type on a pipe fitting that allows the pipe to slide into the fitting to create the connection. In the case of PVC and CPVC, a solvent cement is used to weld the two pieces together.


    Solvent Weld – a method of joining pipe and fittings by applying a solvent chemical softener to the material.


    Spigot (Sp or Spg) – a type of fitting end that fits inside of another socket fitting of the same size (Note: This fitting does NOT fit inside of pipe! No pressure fittings are designed to fit inside of pipe)


    Threaded – a type of end on fittings in which a series of interlocking tapered groves come together to form a water-tight seal.


    True Union – a style valve that has two union ends that screw off to allow the valve to be removed from the surrounding pipe line after installation.


    Union – a type of fitting used to join two pieces of pipe. Unlike couplings, unions use a gasket seal to create a removable connection between pipe.


    Viton – a brand name fluoroelastomer used in gaskets and o-rings to provide a seal. Viton is a registered trademark of DuPont.


    Working Pressure – the recommended pressure load on a pipe, fitting or valve. This pressure is usually denoted in PSI or pounds per square inch.


  • How to Install a Tank Adapter

    How to Install a Tank Adapter - Simple Instructions

    Tank adapters are extremely useful in many fields. They make it possible to create a line out of a tank or container. They work by creating a seal from the inside of the tank with an opening through it. The adapter is held in place by a nut that is screwed over the adapter on the outside of the tank. Want to know how to install your own bulkhead fittings? See the easy instructions below.


      1. 1. Drain the tankIf you can’t drain the tank below where the adapter will be installed, prepare for a LOT of leakage and a sub-par install. You need to be able to work comfortably in and outside the tank.


      1. 2. Drill your hole. Your hole should be able to just fit the bulkhead through it without gaps on the sides. It’s a good idea to practice by drilling some sample hole sizes in scrap material first.


      1. 3. Install the inside of the adapter. The main part of the bulkhead will be installed through the inside of the tank. TIP – If your tank is deep and hard to access, fish a lead through the top and out the hole you just made. Then send the adapter down over the lead. It should follow right to the hole so you can feed it through.


      1. 4. Screw on the outside of the tank adapter. Once your bulkhead is fed through the hole and is sticking out, it’s time to screw on the outside nut. Make sure this is at least hand tight, but not over tightened. Test the seal by filling the tank up beyond the bulkhead.


    1. 5. Hook up your pipe or valve. Once your bulkhead is in you can attach your pipeline to adapter. You should be good to go!


  • How is PVC measured?

     PVC Pipe Measurements - Explained



    How is PVC pipe measured? The basic sizes of PVC pipe are in inches and schedule - but those sizes don't tell you the exact measurement of a piece of pipe. For that you will need to consult the seller or manufacturer for a few bits of information. There are three common measurements used to describe PVC pipe. They are: Inner Diameter (I.D.), Outer Diameter (O.D.). and Wall Thickness. From these measurements you should be able to tell if a piece of pipe will fit into or over anything you need. View the diagram above for details on what exactly each of these measurements covers. You will see them demonstrated in both a side view and a straight on view of a piece of pipe.


  • Furniture Grade PVC

    What is furniture grade PVC?

    PVC pipe was designed in the 1920’s to be lighter, cheaper, and easier to use than old style metal and cement piping. Builders and plumbers loved how quickly they could install it, and how well the pipe held up over time. Over the years PVC has become a household name, and today pipe and fittings can be found in most hardware stores around the US.

    Realizing PVC’s low cost, accessibility, and favorable building qualities, many people began to experiment with it. Search the internet and you’ll find hundreds of ideas for things you can create from PVC pipe and fittings. They range from dog agility equipment to home décor, to full outdoor furniture sets. As this sort of PVC use became more and more popular, there arose a need for specialty parts that didn’t exist for plumbing use. Several manufacturers began making PVC pipe and fittings for a whole new purpose – building custom structures, contraptions, and furniture. These special parts and any PVC parts created for similar purposes are referred to as furniture grade PVC. Continue reading →

  • Should I Use PVC or CPVC Pipe?

    PVC or CPVC - That is the Question

    The first difference between PVC and CPVC pipes that people notice is usually that extra “c,” which stands for “chlorinated” and affects the uses of CPVC piping. There is also a significant price difference. Even though both of these prices are more affordable than alternatives like steel or copper, the price of CPVC is much higher. There are many other differences between PVC and CPVC piping, like size, color, and limitations, that will determine the best choice for a project.

    Differences in Chemical Makeup

    The biggest difference between the two types of pipe is not visible from the outside at all, but exists on the molecular level. CPVC stands for Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride. It is this chlorination process that changes the chemical makeup and properties of the plastic. View our selection of CPVC piping here.

    Differences in Size and Color

    From the outside, PVC and CPVC appear to be very similar. They both are strong and rigid forms of pipe, and they can be found in the same pipe and fitting sizes. The only real visible difference may be in their color – PVC is generally white while CPVC comes in a cream color. View our supply of PVC piping here.

    Differences in Operating Temperatures

    If you’re wondering which material to use, there are two important factors that should help you decide. The first is temperature. PVC pipe can handle max operating temperatures of up to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit. CPVC on the other hand, is more resistant to high temperatures due to its chemical makeup and can handle operating temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Why not use CPVC for everything then? Well, that brings us to the second factor – cost.

    Differences in Cost

    The addition of chlorine in the manufacturing process makes CVPC pipes more expensive. The exact price of PVC and CPVC, as well as the quality, depend on the specific manufacturer. While CPVC’s resistance to heat will always be higher than PVC’s, the material isn’t always safe up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to check the specifics on the pipe before installation.

    CPVC is a more expensive product so it is usually the chosen material for hot water applications, while PVC is used for cold water applications like irrigation and drainage. So, if you’re stuck between PVC and CPVC on your next project, remember to take into account at least two important factors: temperature and cost.

    Differences in Adhesives / Bonding Agents

    Depending on the materials and particulars of a certain job or project, certain types of adhesives, like primers, cements, or bonding agents, may be necessary to connect pipes and fittings. These adhesives are made specifically for PVC or CPVC pipes, so they cannot be used interchangeably between types of piping. View adhesives here.

    CPVC or PVC: Which Do I Choose for My Project or Job?

    Making a decision between PVC and CPVC pipes depends on the specific needs for each project, which is why it’s so important to understand the capabilities of each material. Since they serve very similar functions, best option for a project can be determined by asking a few specific questions.

    • Are the pipes going to be exposed to any kind of heat?
    • How important is the material’s cost?
    • What size pipe does your project require?

    Based on the answers to those questions, a right decision can be made about which material is needed. If the pipes are going to be exposed to any kind of heat, it’s safer to use CPVC because it has a higher resistance to heat. Read our post to learn more about CPVC and PVC pipes uses in hot water applications.

    There are many cases in which paying a higher price for CPVC doesn’t offer any additional benefits. For example, PVC is often recommended for cold water systems, vent systems, drainage systems, and irrigation systems. Since CPVC is more expensive and doesn’t offer anything additional, PVC would be the best choice.

    Hopefully, we’ve helped you understand the differences between PVC and CPVC piping. If you have any additional questions or you’re still uncertain about which type of pipe to use, give us a call at (866) 777-7990 or use our contact form to ask your question. We’re happy to help!


  • What's the Difference Between Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 PVC?

    Schedule 40 vs Schedule 80 PVC

    Wall Thickness

    There are two common types of PVC pipe – schedule 40 PVC and schedule 80 PVC. Schedule 40 PVC is usually white in color and schedule 80 is usually a dark gray (they can also be found in other colors). Their most important difference, though, is in their design. Schedule 80 pipe is designed with a thicker wall. This means the pipe is thicker and stronger, and as a result it can handle higher pressures.

    You are probably most familiar with schedule 40 PVC pipe. It’s the white pipe you see used for drainage around buildings, and it can be found in local hardware stores. This pipe is best suited for drainage, irrigation, and other cold water systems. Schedule 40 PVC pipe is strong, rigid, and can handle pressure applications.

    For jobs that require a higher pressurization though, schedule 80 pipe is better suited. Most PVC pipe and fittings have a maximum pressure rating listed so you know what it can handle. Typically this is listed in pounds per square inch or PSI.

    The amount of pressure a pipe is rated for varies based on size, but a 4” schedule 80 PVC pipe for instance is rated at 320 PSI while a schedule 40 PVC pipe of the same size is only rated at 220 PSI. You can find schedule 80 pipe used most often in heavy duty commercial and industrial applications.

    Pipe manufacturers usually make it gray just to differentiate it from standard schedule 40 PVC (though you should always check the manufacturer markings on the pipe to be sure).

    Inside Diameter of Schedule 40 vs Schedule 80

    If the pipe were the same color, it would be difficult to tell the difference from the outside. In fact, both schedule 40 and schedule 80 PVC pipe have the same outside diameters. So a 1" size sch 40 PVC pipe has the same O.D. as a 1" sch 80 PVC pipe.

    The difference is in the inside diameter or I.D. of the pipe. Schedule 80 PVC pipe will have a smaller inside area than Schedule 40 pipe because of its thicker wall. For that reason, flow is more restricted in Schedule 80 pipe vs Schedule 40 of the same size. The same is true of PVC fittings in both schedules.

    Weight & Price

    Two other factors that may play into which schedule PVC you choose are weight and price. Since schedule 80 PVC has a thicker wall, it is heavier than comparable schedule 40 pipe and fittings. That generally makes it more pricey to ship and more difficult to handle when installing large size pipe and fittings. Schedule 80 PVC is also more expensive than schedule 40 because it requires  more PVC material and has to withstand higher pressures.

    Other Schedules & Materials

    PVC is most commonly found in schedule 40 and 80, but schedule 120 PVC pipe exists also. This is an even thinner wall pipe than schedule 40. These schedules are applied to other materials, too. For instance you can buy schedule 40 and 80 CPVC pipe and fittings. Most manufacturers use different colors like light gray to differentiate this material from PVC. Aside from plastic pipes, schedule is also used to describe metal piping like steel.

    Which to Use - PVC or CPVC?

    So, if you’re planning to run a high pressure or industrial pipe line, schedule 80 PVC may be a good choice for your project. If not, schedule 40 PVC is more than enough for many pressurized and non-pressurized jobs. Schedule 40 PVC is also relatively inexpensive which makes it great for non-plumbing applications like a PVC pool chair or science project.

    Don't forget your fittings come in both schedules also! That means all the tees, elbows and couplings come in both schedule 40 and schedule 80 options. Though schedule 40 and 80 fittings will fit on pipe of either schedule, we recommend you use schedule 40 fittings with schedule 40 pipe and vice versa. A pipeline is only as strong as its weakest link - the part or pipe with the lowest pressure rating.


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