How To Connect ABS To PVC: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

Perhaps you’re revamping part of the plumbing system in your home, like the pipes leading away from a bathtub or faucet. The old pipes are made of ABS, but the new lines you bought are made of PVC.

So, can you join the two together? While you can connect these two pipes, it isn’t as simple as slapping some cement on the area and waiting for it to solidify. Instead, there are plumbing codes that require certain connections, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly. This article explains what you need to know before starting, so continue reading to learn more!

Key Points:

  • It is possible to connect PVC and ABS pipes with a transitional coupling but check local plumbing codes first.
  • A transitional coupling consists of a rubber sleeve and steel jacket that tightens with clamps.
  • To connect the pipes, prepare them with a saw and sandpaper, position the jacket, install the rubber sleeve, and tighten the clamps. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the proper tools.

Can You Join PVC And ABS Pipe Together?

PVC and ABS pipes are common picks for drain plumbing, as they’re relatively inexpensive and easy enough to work with. Their plastic composition makes them a budget-friendly choice, so if you’re remodeling on a budget, you might end up with one or the other.

Many new residential construction builds feature these plastics, but there may come a time when replacements are necessary. You might need to connect PVC to ABS, which is entirely doable.

Before you reach for the plumbing cement or glue, you’ll need to check the local plumbing code. In many areas, you’ll need to use a transitional coupling, which is just as easy to use (maybe even easier) than gluing the two.

What Is A Transition Coupling?

Supply Giant 6I45 Flexible Pvc Coupling with Stainless Steel Clamps, 1-1/4", Black

You’ll probably need a transition coupling if you’re connecting PVC and ABS piping. Although some areas may allow the use of glue or cement, these couplings are widely required. The assembly consists of a rubber sleeve with a steel jacket that slides over the top.

The neoprene rubber sleeve slides into place over the pipe ends to create a watertight seal. The steel jacket slides over the sleeve and features integrated clamps that tighten the sleeve in place.

There are different types of transition couplings, each designed for varying types of pipe. So, before you buy the transition coupling for your project, ensure you find the right one. They usually feature labels indicating what kind of pipe they can be attached to, such as plastic ABS and PVC pipes, copper, cast iron, or steel.

What Glue Do You Use To Connect ABS To PVC?

Generally speaking, you need to use a transition coupling to join ABS to PVC. However, if you’re browsing through your local home improvement store, you might come across a cement or glue labeled for this particular scenario. It might say something like “ABS to PVC Transition Cement” or something similar.

While this could work (and it has), it might not be allowed in your area. Many areas require plumbers to use transition couplings when connecting ABS to PVC. So, if you’re hoping to solvent-weld (glue) ABS to PVC, it’s best to check with local requirements first.

You can always contact your local plumbing inspector for assistance if you’re unsure where to look. Your plumber should know as well, so you can also reach out to them.

How To Connect PVC And ABS

Manufacturer Direct DWV Drain Pipe - Black ABS Custom Size and Length 1-1/2 inch (1.5) Inch - 1.5 inch x 2'

Since glue or cement might not be allowed in your area, you’ll need to use a transitional coupling. Luckily, these couplings are straightforward and easy to use, so you shouldn’t have any issues installing them. Before you get started, you’ll need a few tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Socket wrench
  • Hand saw (as necessary)
  • Sandpaper (as necessary)
  • Transitional coupling

Prep The Pipe

If you’re working with two fixed ends of piping and inserting a new section in between, you’ll need to ensure you have enough space. So, cut the new piece of pipe to fit the gap, ensuring there’s roughly ⅛-inch at each joint.

After cutting the pipe to the proper size with your hand saw, use a piece of sandpaper to buff out any rough patches around the cut.

Position the Jacket

Remove the jacket from the rubber sleeve by loosening the clamps. Slide the jacket onto the fixed pipe above your working joint. This allows you to position the rubber sleeve in place, easily slide the jacket down, and tighten the coupling to form a seal.

Install The Rubber Sleeve

Once the jacket is positioned above the joint, push one end of the rubber sleeve onto the fixed pipe. Carefully roll the sleeve, folding it over the portion wrapped around the fixed pipe. Position the new piece of pipe under the fixed pipe, then unroll the folded piece of the sleeve over the new pipe.

Secure The Coupling

Once the rubber sleeve is positioned over the end of each pipe, slide the metal jacket down from its perch. Tighten the clamps to secure the jacket over the sleeve, then use a socket wrench to create a snug connection.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I Need To Re-Do The ABS-PVC Joint If It’s Secured With Cement?

Perhaps you moved into a new home and came across an ABS/PVC connection secured with cement or glue. So, do you need to remove it and replace it with a transition coupling? Technically, it depends on the local plumbing code, which can vary from one location to the next.

If the connection begins to fail, then you’ll probably want to replace it with a transition coupling. However, if the local plumbing code doesn’t require transition couplings and the joint remains strong, there’s no need to replace it. After all, you’d only be making more work for yourself, as these connections are usually incredibly strong.

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