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The Home Depot

Pipe Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > Pipe Installation Guide
Pipe Installation Guide

Although you may not think about your pipes on a daily basis, that’s probably because they work without issue. The moment any problems occur with plumbing pipes, they become an immediate priority because of the damage and inconvenience that usually accompanies them.


Some of the top issues that homeowners experience includes malfunctioning water heater thermostats, toilet problems, sink drain issues, old pipes and leaking faucets. It’s likely that you’re dealing with at least one of these issues in your own home.


Once you’re organized and ready to begin your plumbing project, keep a pipe installation guide handy to provide help and assistance along the way.

  1. 1.Pipe Options

    The moment any problems occur with plumbing pipes, they become an immediate priority because of the damage and inconvenience that usually accompanies them.

    Although cast iron drains were the material of choice for home plumbing for many years and brass supply pipes were the norm, PVC plastic, flexible PEX and copper rule the plumbing world now.


    PVC is a rigid plastic, ideal for straight sections of plumbing. PEX is flexible plastic, ideal for pipes that need to curve around corners as necessary. Many homeowners opt for plastic over copper because of the cost per foot -- copper is almost twice as expensive as PVC per foot. PVC and PEX also have a simpler installation process than copper.

  2. 2.Tools and Materials

    Gather tools and materials for your pipe installation project. You will need a tube cutter that will cut your specific piping material. You may need a tube cutter with a special design that will enable you to cut pipes already in place. You will need primer and glue for working with PVC or PEX pipes. You will need a propane torch kit (containing everything you need to connect copper pipes), flux and solder to work with copper pipes.

  3. 3.Installation Overview

    Handle PVC pipes carefully to prevent cracking. You may not notice a hairline crack in the PVC pipe, which could lead to a damaging pipe burst after installation. To connect PVC pipe joints, you simply apply primer and then glue over both ends of pipe before pushing them together. After holding the connection for a few seconds, it will stay secure. The primer and glue has a strong odor – apply these products in a well-ventilated area for best results. If you make a mistake with the PVC connection, your only option is to start over completely with a new connection.


    To connect copper pipes – called “sweating” -- you must solder the connection. Drain the pipes completely before you begin soldering because water will prevent a solder connection. Apply flux to the connections and then connect them. You must then apply heat to the copper joint with a torch and hold the solder at the edge of the joint away from the direct flame of the torch. Wait until the solder melts into the copper joint and then extinguish the torch. If you make a mistake with the copper connection, you simply reapply the heat of the torch so you can readjust the connection and then solder it again.


    Take care when soldering copper pipes with wood in the surrounding area because it can be easy to scorch the wood accidentally with the torch. You can prevent this by spraying wood carefully with water before soldering or by covering the wood with a heat resistant cloth. Make sure no water contacts the pipes before soldering, though.


    After installing your pipes, wait about six hours before allowing water to run through them to ensure a flawless installation without leaks.

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