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Monday, June 19th 2006, 4:19pm

PVC primer

Question: What is primer used for?

A. to remove any dirt and grit from the pipe
B. to make the two pipes fit together easier
C. to remove the hard coat from the pipe
D. to soften the pipe

Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks


Advanced Member


Tuesday, June 20th 2006, 2:49am

You want to use purple primer, and make sure the pipe is clean. You don't want to rely on the primer to clean dirt and grit off the pipe.


Supreme Member


Wednesday, June 21st 2006, 11:58am

Pretty much all of the above.

However, as DOORZ points out, you should remove heavy dirt and grit off with a towel and only rely on the primer to to finish cleaning off minor bits of dirt and grim.

About the only answer that doesn't really fit is B.
#1. You don't use PVC primer/cement to connect two pieces of pipe. You use it to connect a pipe to a fitting.
#2. The pieces have to almost fit to begin with. If they don't primer ain't going to 'fix' it. I believe the idea situation is that the pipe snuggly fits half-way into the fitting. If the pipe can slide all the way to the fitting stop, the joint might not be as strong as it should.


New Member

Posts: 2

Location: USA


Sunday, July 2nd 2006, 1:22pm

Basically, the previous posts have correct information, but here is a little more info that I just happen to know from being an installation supervisor about 20 years ago:
Primer is absolutely required to chemically complete the bond between the PVC pipe and/or PVC fitting molecules and the PVC glue itself. Without it, the bond will typically fail 10 to 100 times earlier than with primer. Primer is terribly toxic and should be not breathed or gotten onto your skin if at all possible. I know installers who thought it was good hand-cleaner!! It is if you don't mind wrecking your liver before you're about 30 years old!

Most primer is purple, but it is also readily available clear and occasionally in other colors like blue and red. One reason to use clear would be if you were using it for an application such as building PVC furniture where the extra purple stains are almost unavoidable and are highly undesireable. Otherwise, for virtually 100% of plumbing applications the purple is better since you can tell how much and where you've put it much easier to get the application correct.

For those of you who are environmentally-minded, primer is very toxic to all bugs and critters who live in the ground along with your pipes and valves and such. Not only that but I promise that it's best to keep it out of our groundwater everywhere-- this is a no-brainer!! Be very careful not to spill it at all by using an additional "carrier" such as a tray or box that doesn't leak. If you are really diligent you can put old rags or newspapers under your work area to catch drips of primer and glue, too, which is also toxic but not near as bad as the primer. By the way, when the chemical bonding is complete and the pipes and fittings have cured 100%, to my knowledge normally there is no longer danger of instant contamination of the immediate surroundings under normal conditions/circumstances and all the products have become virtually inert, as the pipes and fittings were to begin with. It's also a good idea when using/handling PVC primer and glue to use a chemically impervious pair of gloves such as nitrile health care gloves or other specially chemically-resistant gloves usually available at hardware stores or grocery stores or online there is an amazing diversity of these products at If you happen to get some primer or glue on your bare skin, you want to wipe it off quickly and as thoroughly as possible with a cotton rag or cloth or paper towels. Other than regular soap and water and gentle scrubbing, I know of no product(s) designed to remove PVC primer and glue residue from human skin or tissue, so it pays to pre-protect yourself and use great care and caution during handling and installation of these products. People with severe skin allergies or overly sensitive skin might want to consider not doing this type of work themselves, but instead get a good installer who has the experience to deal with this normally, although I've seen enough bozos in my time to know this isn't a guarantee just because he/she says they're a "very-experienced" installer. But, it'll be their liver not yours that gets cooked.

I hope this information helps lots of you out there, but don't let it ever discourage you from using primer-- it is absolutely necessary for good PVC bonds and no good system will be found without it (without it, pipes and fittings will "blow-out" occasionally out of the blue as if you'd used nothing on the joints at all, who knows, maybe at 3 am?). That being said, it is not needed, of course, for other products like poly-tubes and barbed fittings, it is only used for PVC and CPVC and related products-- always consult the supplier you are purchasing from, because they will know for sure whether the pipes/tubes and fittings you are using will require PVC glue, primer or both.

And, there's one more little thing about primer-- never, never use it alone on PVC pipe/fittings for things like softening the PVC threads on a threaded male adapter that will be used screwed into a brass valve, for example, o


Active Member

Posts: 43

Location: USA


Sunday, July 2nd 2006, 3:32pm

ok buddy, its friggin pvc primer. Thats a little overboard..but good work
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Advanced Member


Wednesday, February 21st 2007, 7:36pm

primer justs roughs the pvc up a little to make a stronger bond. the same concept as sanding something before painting it. they make pvc glues that now require no primer as long as the pvc is clean.


Advanced Member

Posts: 158

Location: FT. Walton Beach, Florida


Thursday, February 22nd 2007, 9:17am

Well put cascadeshiker! <><
Irrigation /Landscape Lighting / Pump and Well Specialist


Supreme Member


Friday, February 23rd 2007, 9:55am

I thought primer was a way for the glue companies to suck more money out of us

malibu jim

Active Member


Friday, March 16th 2007, 5:36pm

I hate to beat a dead horse, but in my opinion, the primer is really an acid etch, used to break the glaze on PVC so the glue can adhere to the surfaces. If you ever got any on an open cut, you'll know it's acid.


Supreme Member


Friday, March 16th 2007, 6:06pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by malibu jim</i>
<br />I hate to beat a dead horse, but in my opinion, the primer is really an acid etch, used to break the glaze on PVC so the glue can adhere to the surfaces. If you ever got any on an open cut, you'll know it's acid.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Isn't that basically option C?

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