Drain Pipe Repair Like A Plumber Does It

Making a drain pipe repair in your home can sometimes be necessary. Leaking drains are a common occurrence. Kitchen drain leaks, tub drain pipes or cracked main drain pipes are a homeowners nightmare. In this plumbing blog we’re going to discuss how to perform a drain pipe repair like plumbers with plastic pipes.

How to repair a broken or leaking plastic drain pipe like plumbers do

PVC and ABS plastic drain pipes are the most common types of drains in a home. There aren’t many differences between them other than their chemical makeup, color and the glues you use to join them. If you’re repairing an ABS drain pipe you’ll need to use the single stage ABS glue instead of the primer and glue process discussed below. No primer is needed. Otherwise, it’s done exactly the same as PVC plastic pipe repairs.

PVC drain pipe repair

If you find that you have a section of PVC piping that has a leak at a fitting or a crack you can easily repair it yourself. When a plumbing customer calls with a cracked kitchen drain pipe or a broken clean out drain tee the plumbing portion of it is pretty straight forward. Remember all you have to do is cut out the cracked pipe or leaking fitting and rebuild it exactly.

How to cut PVC pipe when making a drain repair

PVC drain pipe repair
How to cut PVC drain pipe

You do this by using your cut out portion of damaged PVC pipe as a guide. Measure each piece of pipe you removed. Then cut new pieces to the same lengths. If you’re going to use glued couplings remember to subtract a quarter of an inch to make up for the stops in the PVC couplings. If you’re using rubber couplings with band clamps you won’t need to subtract a quarter inch.

To cut PVC plastic pipe you can use a saw or power saw. I’ve used a chop saw or table saw at times. Clean the burrs on the cuts. Fittings will be the same dimensions. So just purchase the exact same fittings at your local home store.

How to rebuild a cut-out portion of damaged PVC pipe and glue it

Assembling drain pipes
Mark the repair before assembling it

You always want to “dry-fit” the pipe fittings and pipe by assembling it before gluing it. Arrange each fitting at the correct angle and insert pipe cuts completely. Measure your assembled repair and compare it with the cut out portion. If it matches correctly make a one inch mark on the fittings and pipe while assembled so that you’ll know how they are to be assembled exactly.

Disassemble your repair. Always use clear PVC primer and medium set clear PVC glue when working with plastic PVC pipe. Apply the primer inside each fitting and on the outside of each piece of pipe. Only primer to the point that they will be attached. And I will normally be sure to pass over the plastic at least three times to be sure that it’s clean and free of debris. I also like to primer and glue the face of the cut pipe.

gluing PVC drain pipe
3 rotations on pipe & fittings when applying glue & primer

Then apply glue to each pipe ene and pipe fitting to be attached. Apply glue only to one connection at a time. And then make your solvent weld joint immediately. Insert the pipe into the fitting fully and twist the pipe about a quarter turn until your marks line up. Hold them in place for about 10 seconds so they don’t push apart. Move on to the next connection. Continue until you’ve completely assembled your repair.

Install your assembled PVC pipe repair

At this point I normally use a glued PVC pipe coupling on one end of the newly assembled pipe and fittings and a rubber coupling on the other. I glue a coupling on one end of my assembled pipe repair. Then I slide my rubber repair coupling fully over the other end of the assembled repair. If the pipe is too short for the rubber coupling to go on all the way I slide it all the way onto the pipe that it’ll be attached to. Then primer and glue the other end of the standing pipe and glue your assembled repair. Quickly push them together. Position the pipe repair and slide the rubber coupling so that it’s half on each pipe. Tighten the bands with a screwdriver or 5/16″ nut driver.

Rubber coupling drain pipe transition
Rubber coupling transition

When to hire a professional plumber

If the idea of making a plastic drain pipe repair yourself is too intimidating then call Advocate Master Plumbing. Our technicians are all master plumbers. And they are all union trained and live and work in Lee’s Summit, MO. Let us diagnose your leaking drain pipe correctly and give you all the information to make an informed decision. We’re not here to sell you. We’re here to serve you.

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