PVC is an inexpensive, sustainable, and versatile material used for water mains, sewage pipes, and more.
Not only is it cheap to buy, but PVC piping is surprisingly straightforward to install. The key is to make sure you measure the piping properly to cut it down to the correct length.
Although you know how the piping should be cut, you have no idea how you should prepare it for being cut.
That’s the problem that a lot of people face when using PVC piping.
Although it is an insanely useful material, being a hollow tube makes it very difficult to actually cut without some specific piece of equipment.
As such, we’ve decided to give you a guide on just how to cut PVC piping.
Cutting Tools To Use
There are a couple of different cutting tools that you can use to cut PVC piping. Some are really easy to get and use, while others are a little trickier in purchasing.
For a start, you can use a hacksaw or handsaw.
This is quite a common cutting tool that you should be able to find almost anywhere, and you probably already have one around the house.
It will get the job done, but it doesn’t really make the best job of cutting the ends of the piping.
The saw blade tends to leave very jagged edges, which can cause problems further down the line.
If you want a better cut, a much better tool is a pipe cutter. This will make a very clean cut, and you can even use it on hard plastic piping.
You just need to make sure that you get a model that is big enough to handle the size of piping that you are trying to cut, as you will have to insert it through the tool before cutting.
Lastly, if you happen to have one, you could also use an Electric Miter saw. These saws are quick, easy to use, and give an extraordinarily clean cut.
However, with the Miter saw, they are also very dangerous and exceptionally scary.
If you do something wrong or make a mistake, you might ruin the piping, but you might also maim yourself with the blade.
Many people have lost fingers and hands from using a Miter saw wrong, so be careful.
How To Cut PVC Piping
You can use a variety of tools for cutting pvc pipe. Some prefer to use a miter box, others like to use a cable saw, or a miter saw, but we recommend cutting plastic pipe with pvc cutters.
To start with, you need to make sure that you have the right sized pipe cutter for the size of the plastic pipe that you are working with.
It might sound obvious, but you don’t want to be struggling trying to cut the piping.
If your cutting tool is too small for the pipe, you’ll have to put in a lot of effort, and it could lead to you making some poor cuts.
Once you are sure you have the right sized tool, then you need to measure the outside of the pipe.
You need to measure it, so you know you will have made the pipe short enough to fit your purpose or so you don’t misjudge how large you need the pipe, and you get a clean connection.
To do this, you will need to measure the diameter, and mark the pvc before cutting, with a permanent marker, making a line.
Next, you need to prepare a cutting table. This needs to be a flat, study area where the pipe can be cut over the side of it or on top with nothing getting in the way.
On this cutting table, you also need to prepare a steady hold – either with a tool or your hand – or a clamp of some description.
You will need to have these to stop the pipe from moving with the force of your cutting. One bad slip and you could have a terrible accident.
For the pipe cutter, holding the pipe firm with your hand should be enough, as the cutter has a hold for the pipe inside.
For the hacksaw, you need an extremely firm hold on the pipe on the cutting table, an iron clamp that could hold it at the table’s edge, or you create a hold by sawing two triangle indentations into the top of a plastic bucket on either side.
These indentations can have a pipe sit on top, with the area that needs cutting being over the edge.
By holding the pipe with your hand, you can steady it and create a fairly effective DIY solution to your problem.
For a miter saw, you will need a strong iron clamp that can line up with the throat plate of the saw.
You can never be too careful with a miter saw. The blade can be incredibly sharp, so be careful when using.
After you have everything suitably prepared, make a mark or a notch where you need to cut on the pipe. Once the notch is there, you can begin cutting your pipe as you want.
Cleaning Up After Cutting
Before you even start making the actual cuts, you need to make sure that you have everything ready for the cleanup.
You need to have a bucket underneath the table that you can put all the excess debris in.
The last thing you want is for the tiny pieces of PVC to get caught in the filter of your vacuum cleaner or become trapped in hard-to-reach places.
If you are cutting the pvc pipes outdoors, you need to make sure that you have a wide area to work with.
This is so that you can collect all the debris and make sure that nothing gets away. If you don’t collect it, it’s going to end up in the air and could even land on your garden soil.
If it gets in the soil, it can cause a lot of damage to the plants and the soil itself. So, prepare your area to contain your mess first.
Once the pipe is cut, you can then bring out your deburring tool, sandpaper, and a sharp small construction knife or utility knife.
Deburring is the process of removing the burrs from the pvc so that you have smooth lines and edges.
Deburr the end of your pipe using your tool, applying a small amount of pressure, taking some of the most obvious burrs, and then use your knife.
Your knife is not here to make everything perfect or make new cuts, it is solely to get the largest burrs that your deburring tool couldn’t do anything to.
You can take them out and make your pipe cleaner.
Finally, get some sandpaper and give the cut area a very firm rub down. You should only need about 120 grit sandpaper to do the job perfectly.
This should make your pipe smooth and free of burrs.
Cutting PVC piping can be a pain, but by preparing your station and pvc cutter tools, you make this arduous diy project that little bit easier for yourself and others.