90° female threaded short diameter elbow female threaded short elbow

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As mentioned in a previous blog post about PVC pipe outer diameter, PVC pipe and fittings use a nominal system for standard sizing. This is so all parts with the same size in their name will be compatible with each other. All 1″ fittings will fit on 1″ pipe, for example. That seems pretty straightforward, right? Well here’s the confusing part: the outer diameter (OD) of PVC pipe is greater than the size in its name. That means that 1″ PVC pipe will have an OD that is greater than 1″, and a 1″ PVC fitting will have an even larger OD than the pipe.

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Pipe Fittings Sizes


The most important thing when working with PVC pipe and fittings is the nominal size. A 1" fitting will fit on a 1" pipe, regardless of whether either one is schedule 40 or 80. So, while a 1" socket fitting has an opening wider than 1" across, it will fit on a 1" pipe because the OD of that pipe is also greater than 1".
There may come a time when you want to use a PVC fitting with non-PVC pipe. The nominal size, in this case, is not as important as the OD of the pipe you are using. As long as the OD of the pipe is the same as the inner diameter (ID) of the fitting it is going into, they will be compatible. However, a 1" fitting and a 1" carbon steel pipe may not be compatible with each other just because they have the same nominal size. Be sure to do your research before spending money on parts that may not be compatible with each other!

PVC End Types and Adhesives

Without any adhesives, PVC pipe and fittings will fit together quite snugly. They will not, however, be watertight. If you are going to have any fluids passing through your pipe, you will want to ensure that there will be no leaks. There are several different ways to do this, and the method you choose will depend on what you are connecting.
PVC pipe itself does not usually have threaded ends. This is just one reason that most PVC fittings have slip ends. "Slip" in PVC does not mean the connection will be slippery, but rather that the fitting will slip right over the pipe. When putting pipe into a slip fitting, the connection may seem tight, but to transport any liquid media, it will need to be sealed. PVC cement seals pipe through a chemical reaction that bonds the plastic of one part to another. For a guaranteed seal on a slip fitting, you will need both PVC primer and PVC cement. The primer softens the inside of the fitting, preparing it to bond, while the cement keeps the two pieces stuck together tight.
Threaded fittings need to be sealed differently. The main reason people use threaded parts is so that they can be taken apart if necessary. PVC cement bonds pipe together, so if it is used on threaded joints, it will make a seal, but the threads will become useless. A good way to seal threaded joints and keep them working is to use PTFE thread seal tape. Just wrap it around the male threads a few times and it will keep the connection sealed and lubricated. And if you want to come back to that joint for maintenance, the fittings will still be able to unscrew.

Furniture Grade Fittings vs. Regular Fittings

Often our customers ask us, "What is the difference between furniture grade fittings and regular fittings?" The answer is pretty simple: our furniture grade fittings have no manufacturer printing or bar codes. They are clean white or black with nothing printed on them. This makes them great for applications where the pipe will be visible, whether or not it is actually for furniture. The sizes are the same as regular fitting sizes. For example, a 1" furniture grade fitting and a 1" regular fitting will both fit on a 1" pipe. Also, they are just as durable as the rest of our PVC fittings.

PVC Fittings - Descriptions and Applications

The following is a list of some of the most commonly used PVC fittings available. Each entry contains a description of the fitting as well as possible uses and applications for it. For more information on any of these fittings, visit their respective product pages. It's important to remember that each fitting has a countless amount of iterations and uses, so keep that in mind when shopping for fittings.


PVC tees are a fitting with three ends; two in a straight line and one on the side at a 90-degree angle. Tees allow a line to be split into two separate lines with a 90-degree connection. Also, tees can connect two lines into one main line. They are also often used for PVC structures. Tees are an extremely versatile fitting that are some of the most widely used parts in plumbing. Most tees have slip socket ends, but threaded versions are available.

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