A Plumber doesn’t just glue pipes together


Last week my dad and I drove into Bunnings because we had to get some timber and non-plumbing supplies for the truck. When it comes to plumbing fixtures and fittings, we always go to Reece Plumbing where we have an account and get good service.

As we drove into the Bunnings car park, a man came out carrying PVC pipe, some PVC bends and a container of glue. It looked like he was going home to do some DIY plumbing work. This man made the ultimate rookie mistake though of only purchasing glue when he also needed to buy the cleaner or as plumbers know it, primer.


How did I know that this guy didn’t have primer? Because the colour of the lid on the container he was holding told me it was glue and he was carrying no other containers for the primer.


A plumber doesn’t just glue pipes together, they weld them using techniques that are taught on the job and at Tafe. PVC pipe is welded together when the primer and glue are applied to each touching surface of the fitting and pipe.


If the primer isn’t used before the glue when connecting fittings and pipe together, the installation will be weak and the fittings and connections will eventually leak.


When PVC pipes and fittings are welded together, each surface that needs to be glued must have red primer smeared on first and then the glue is applied. The primer and glue act together to weld the pipes together creating, essentially, a strong bond and hold. Both surfaces fuse together.


One of the first things plumbing inspectors look at when it comes to installing PVC waste pipes, is the red smear from the primer at each joint. If they can’t see the red dye from the primer, they assume the plumber has just glued the joints together and will ask for the job to be completed again.


Some plumbers have been caught out by taking a short cut and just gluing the pipes together. I remember one commercial job where all the joints leaked on the PVC waste within 6 months of the job’s completion. It was found that the plumber hadn’t used primer and he had to reinstall the waste pipe correctly at his cost. It became a lesson for all our plumbers to never forget to use primer.


So while some plumbing jobs look easy to attempt, plumbers do follow a procedure to guarantee the longevity of an installation. It’s in everyone’s best interest to engage a licensed plumber to do all plumbing work at one’s home. The alternative options of doing it yourself or hiring a handy man sometimes produce a poor outcome in the long run.