When it comes to repairing PVC pipe there are many ways of going about it. In this article I am going to discuss two fast and easy ways that will work for most pipe damage.

Before any repair gets underway there are several important facts you have to “uncover”. Is it a main line or a lateral line? What size is the pipe? What is the extent of the damage?

After determining these three important facts you have to select the proper solvents and tools you will need to make the repair. On main lines I recommend using a heavy to medium bodied cement along with primer. On lateral lines a light quick drying cement could be used. You will also need the following tools: pointed shovel, trenching shovel, trowel, tape measure, channel locks or compression coupling wrenches, hacksaw or PVC pipe cutter, and some clean dry rags. Finally, you should have some lengths of pipe of the appropriate size and schedule along with slip couplings and compression couplings.

The first repair I will describe will be on small size lateral lines. The lateral line is the pipe on the outlet side of the valve used to supply the sprinkler heads. It is generally thin walled, such as class 200 or 315.

Lateral Line Repair

Dig down and past the damage at least three inches and at least two feet to either side of the break. This will give you enough room to flex the pipe in any direction.

Cut out the damage. Be sure to carefully inspect the pipe for hairline splits.

Clean off any dirt or water from both ends of the remaining pipe. By doing this you can be assured of a good solvent bond.

Select the appropriate size slip coupling, apply an even layer of PVC solvent to the coupling and to one of the pipe ends. Insert the coupling onto the pipe and give it a quarter turn. Giving the coupling a quarter turn creates a stronger bond. Hold for one minute. It is not unusual for a freshly bonded fitting to back off the pipe. Repeat the process with the other pipe end.

Measure from the center of one coupling to the other. Cut a piece of pipe according to this measurement. Apply solvent to one end of the pipe and one coupling. Insert the pipe into the coupling, give it a quarter turn, and hold for one minute. Apply solvent to the remaining pipe end and coupling.

Next is the tricky part. Bow the pipe and the coupling downward until they line up. Aim the pipe at the coupling and by slowing relaxing the tension the pipe will slip into the coupling.

Main Line Repair

The main line is the pipe on the inlet side of the valve. It’s under constant pressure and is generally thick walled, schedule 40 or greater. What makes this repair different is that you are going to use a compression coupling and a slip coupling.

The repair begins with the first three steps of lateral line repair as explained above. Then…

Apply primer and solvent to the slip coupling and to the end of the pipe to be repaired. Don’t forget to quarter turn and hold. This is very important especially on larger diameter pipe.

Measure from the center of the slip coupling to the other end of the pipe to be repaired. Cut a replacement piece that length. Apply primer and solvent to both the pipe and the slip coupling. Insert the pipe into the slip coupling. Quarter turn and hold.

This third and last step incorporates the use of a compression coupling to connect the final joint. A compression coupling is composed of five parts; one central body, two threaded caps, two buna-n-seals (the rubber washers).

To make the connection the compression coupling has to be taken apart. Slip one cap, one seal, and the body onto the replacement pipe. Slide the remaining cap and seal onto the other pipe. Remember, cap first, followed by the seal. Align the body directly over the two pipe ends. Bring the seals and caps towards the body and tighten evenly using a compression coupling wrench (or channel locks). Repair completed!