Home improvement projects don’t always have to be expensive or complicated. Sometimes, the simplest and most inexpensive materials can significantly impact the overall look and functionality of your home.
Polyvinyl chloride or PVC pipe products may primarily be for drainage, plumbing, and conduit applications, but they also have home improvement uses. This article will explore seven creative home improvement projects you can do using PVC pipes.
What are PVC pipes?
PVC is commonly used in residential, commercial, and industrial piping applications. PVC pipes are a great alternative to traditional materials like copper, steel, iron, and concrete because they are affordable, lightweight, easy to install and work with, and come in various shapes and sizes.
PVC pipes are durable, with an expected service life of around 100 years. They are suitable for above-ground installation because exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays doesn’t seem to affect their tensile strength (although UV rays may gradually erode impact strength over time).
With proper preparation and installation, the soil (particularly its movement, contraction and expansion) should have little to no effect on PVC pipes, thus making them suitable for underground use.
PVC pipes are resistant to abrasion and corrosion and are non-reactive to many fats, oils, alcohols, acids, alkalis, and salts. This makes them highly suitable for transporting not only homogeneous fluids like white water and greywater but also blackwater, slurries, and chemicals.
Why are PVC pipes great for home improvement projects?
The characteristics that make PVC pipes an excellent piping material are the same things that make them exceptionally suitable for use in home improvement projects.
PVC pipes are low-maintenance, affordable, and versatile. They can be cut, drilled, glued, and painted to fit your needs and match your home decor.
They are also lightweight, so they are easy to handle and install. Additionally, PVC pipes are weather-, abrasion-, corrosion-, and moisture-resistant, making them an excellent choice for outdoor applications and high-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
Home improvement projects using PVC pipes
Have some PVC pipes left over from your sewerage or plumbing work? Use them in the following ways to improve your living spaces.
1. DIY shelving unit
To make a PVC shelving unit, you will need PVC pipes of various sizes, PVC fittings, and adhesive. Cut the PVC pipes to your desired length, then assemble them using PVC fittings. Once you have the frame ready, put a wooden or acrylic shelf on top; attach using adhesive or cable ties.
You may use more PVC pipes not only to make the shelving unit frame but also to make the shelves themselves. Cut thinner PVC pipes to an appropriate length and install them as cross-pieces on the frame.
2. Garden trellis
A garden trellis made of PVC pipes is an easy and affordable way to support climbing plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans.
You will need PVC pipes, elbows, and plastic netting to make it. Cut the PVC pipes to the required length, then connect them using PVC elbows to create a rectangular frame. Attach the plastic netting to the frame using zip ties.
Here’s some additional inspiration. You can create an A-frame or a semi-circular frame instead of the obvious rectangular shape.
3. Pipe vase
A vase made of PVC pipes is a unique and modern way to display flowers in your home.
To make a pipe vase, you will need PVC pipes of various sizes, a saw, and some paint. Cut the PVC pipes to a suitable height; aim for different heights for visual variety.
Paint the pipes as needed to fit in with your home décor. Once the paint has dried, insert a glass vase or test tube into the center of the pipe to hold water (if using fresh flowers). Add water and flowers.
You can also try different pipe vase designs. The simplest is the fluted pipe vase design. You may put together different-size pipes cut in differing heights; they can hold flowers and add visual interest to your room. You may also connect multiple pieces of pipes using elbow connectors and create a multi-pronged pipe vase.
4. Shoe rack
Keep your shoes organized using a PVC pipe shoe rack. To make one, prepare PVC pipes, elbows, and adhesive. Cut the PVC pipes to the required length, then connect them using PVC elbows to create your rectangular frame. Add additional beams and cross-pieces as necessary for support.
Once you’ve assembled the frame, paint it to match your decor.
5. Wine rack
A PVC wine rack offers a fun and unique way to display your wine collection.
Prepare the PVC pipes, some paint, and adhesive for this project. Cut the PVC pipes into several equivalent-length pieces, paint them in your desired color, and then glue them together to form a stacked tower, diamond, triangle, or hexagonal shape.
Here’s another idea. You can install the PVC pipe pieces in a small, open cupboard to convert the cabinet into a functional wine rack.
To make a PVC lampshade, you will need at least three PVC pipes of different diameters, a saw, a rotary tool, paint, and plywood.
Cut the PVC pipes into various lengths. Drill holes all over the pipes according to your desired pattern, then paint the pipe to complement your room paint color.
Next, create a box-type base made of plywood; cut holes on top for each one of your pipes. Install a lightbulb on each hole, then enclose each bulb with a pipe.
Once correctly set up (with the switch outside the box for easy accessibility), cover the base with dark fabric to ensure the light will come out only through the pipes and not leak through the base.
7. Coat rack
Make a PVC pipe coat rack and install it in your entryway. You will need long pipes, short pipes, plumbing bends, couplings, a metal spring, cable ties, and paint.
Cut the long PVC pipes into different lengths and attach them to plumbing bends. The plumbing bends will form the base of the rack.
Bend the shorter lengths of pipes (insert a metal spring inside the pipe using a spring, then bend on your knees), then connect each one to a longer piece of straight piping using a coupling.
Gather the pipes together, arranging them so the rack ends are a fair distance from each one, forming individual “branches,” and the plumbing bends are splayed out for stability. Tie the pipes together using a cable tie. Once done, paint the coat rack in your preferred color.
Simple home upgrades with PVC pipes
PVC pipes are an affordable, versatile, and durable material you can use in various home improvement projects. From shelving units to coat racks, PVC pipes offer endless possibilities for creativity and functionality.
Whether you’re an interior decorator, a fit-out contractor, or a do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowner, consider using PVC pipes in your next home improvement project.