Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between standard (solid core) and Foam Core PVC pipe?
A: Short answer is: Foam Core PVC pipe has structural foam sandwiched between (2) layers of PVC - it is cheaper & lighter than Sch 40 pipe and cannot be used for pressure applications.
Long answer: standard PVC pipe (solid core) is suitable both for pressure and non-pressure (DWV) applications. Pressure applications include carrying water (up to 140°F) under pressure (actual pressures vary by temperature and pipe diameter - see specs sheet). Non-pressure, or DWV (Drain, Waste, Vent) applications include installations where pipe is used for sewer, gravity drainage, venting and other uses with no internal pressure (except for hydrostatic leak testing applications, as defined by mfr). Foam Core pipe is suitable for DWV or non-pressure application only.
Q: What is the difference between Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 PVC pipe?
A: The main difference is wall thickness - Sch 80 has a thicker wall, designed to handle higher pressures. Sch 40 PVC pipe is way more common and is used widely in residential DWV, pool and other applications. The outside diameters (OD) of the Sch 40 & 80 pipe and the inside diameters (ID) of the Sch 40/80 fittings are the same, meaning they are interchangeable, although mixing the two is not considered to be a good practice (due to difference in max. pressure). Most manufacturers make Sch 80 PVC pipe in grey color to easily differentiate from Sch 40 PVC pipe, which is white.
Q: Which type(s) of fittings can be used with this pipe?
A: Dual-rated Sch 40 / DWV pipe can be used either with Sch 40 PVC fittings (for pressure applications) or with DWV PVC fittings for non-pressure drainage & venting. DWV-only rated Foam Core pipe is compatible with DWV PVC fittings only.
Q: What is Bell-End PVC pipe?
A: PVC pipe where one end is factory-expanded to form a socket (to accept standard PVC pipe) is called Bell end pipe. We do not stock or sell this pipe at the moment - all of our PVC pipe is standard, with male (spigot) connections on both ends.
Q: How can PVC pipe be cut?
A: Smaller diameters (up to 1-1/2" or 2") can be cut using a PVC pipe cutter (manual or battery operated). All sizes can be cut using a hand saw, chop saw or miter saw (if saw blade is marked as being appropriate for PVC/plastic pipe).
Q: How to connect PVC pipe?
A: Sch 40 pipe is most commonly connected using the solvent weld method (cement/glue + primer). For DWV applications, no-hub couplings can be used to joint straight lengths of pipe. Although Sch 40 PVC fittings are available in threaded version, manufacturers do not recommend threading Sch 40 PVC pipe due to insufficient wall thickness - use Sch 80 threaded pipe/nipples instead.
Q: What are the proper ways to support PVC pipe in construction?
A: For DWV applications, manufacturers recommend supporting horizontal pipe runs every 4 ft (using hangers, J-hooks, etc.) and vertical runs - on every floor, or, every 10-12ft (using riser clamps or strut clamps).
Q: Is PVC pipe UV resistant?
A: For unprotected pipe, the answer provided by manufacturer is No. However, mfr states that PVC pipe can be painted with water-based latex paint to minimize/prevent UV damage. Also, for non-pressure and non-critical applications PVC pipe could be used as is, but with prolonged exposure to sunlight it will turn yellow and become brittle over time. Actual lifespan in such a scenario is hard to determine and could be from several years to a well over a decade.
Q: What is the maximum temperature/pressure rating for PVC pipe?
A: Sch 40 PVC pipe has a max. temperature rating of 140°F, however, the pressure factor varies greatly by water temperature and is different for the pipe itself and the connection (whether solvent weld or threaded). Check out the Temperature/Pressure and De-Rating info in product listing for details.
Q: Can PVC pipe be used for potable water?
A: While both Schedule 40 PVC pipe and Sch 40 PVC fittings are approved and can be used for potable water, the application is limited for outdoor use only (not for installation inside the building).
Q: Can PVC pipe be used as vent pipe for a water heater or boiler?
A: Even if appliance (boiler/water heater/furnace) manufacturer allows PVC for venting applications, we advise against doing so, as this pipe was never designed for this purpose.
Q: Can PVC pipe be installed underground?
A: Yes. See manufacturers' instructions for underground installation in product listings under Literature/Documents tab. Typical underground uses include lawn sprinklers, rainwater & general purpose drainage, septic pipes and others.
Q: Is PVC pipe suitable for uses other that carrying water?
A: Yes. PVC is among the most versatile pipes out there and has a long history of use for greenhouses, outdoor furniture, crafts and other DIY projects.