PVC - Screw It Don't Glue It!
10 May 2021
I’ve mentioned in other articles that I typically don’t glue together obstacles I make with PVC. Mostly because I’m lazy. But using PVC glue can be messy, time consuming, and is often unnecessary. My laziness also helps because my obstacles are outside all year and, if any water gets trapped inside the fittings, when it gets below freezing the PVC can crack/break (you can avoid this by drilling holes in the jump feet):
If the PVC parts aren’t glued together the broken parts are easily replaced. Also, if you ever want to change the design of your obstacles you can take them apart and reconfigure them.
However, I’ve found situations, like for my PVC ring gates, the wind can be so strong it can pull the PVC apart:
I spoke with some agility equipment builders and found they use small self-taping screws, in place of PVC glue, to hold together their PVC/fittings. Screws let them replace broken pipes/fittings easily at any time. By using self taping screws you don’t even need to drill a hole before driving the screw into the PVC.
I chose to use #8 x 1/2” Stainless Steel Hex Washer Head Self Drilling Screws because the hex head won’t ever strip off. BUT, you need to have a socket that fits the head of the screw and your drill. So you might be happier with a slightly smaller #6 x 1/2 Stainless Steel Phillips Pan Head Self Drilling Screws that uses a regular screw driver bit (I’ve not tried these specific screws). If your equipment will ever be exposed to moisture use stainless steel screws to avoid rusting.
When you drive the screws place them where there is little chance of your dog contacting the screw head. Also don’t over drive the screws with your drill or they won’t hold as tightly.
You probably don’t need to screw together every piece of PVC. I’ve only been doing it when the connection isn’t snug or has come apart in the past.