If you want a fun and easy fix for your low cost decorating dilemma, make PVC furniture. Furniture constructed from strong PVC plastic is durable, easy to work with and can look surprisingly good.
Advice About Making Furniture From PVC Piping
The acronym PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, a thermoplastic polymer that's widely used in the construction industry. You may be familiar with PVC because of its widespread use in commercial and residential plumbing. PVC is a strong, rigid plastic that weathers well and is very lightweight. It's also available in a number of diameters and colors, with a wide variety of possible fittings, the connectors that let you put PVC pipe sections together into different configurations.
Cutting and Assembly
PVC can be cut relatively easily with a PVC cutting tool, handsaw or hacksaw, and assembly can sometimes be as easy as tapping fittings into place on pipe ends with a mallet. In some instances, no glue or cement is required.
You're probably beginning to see the potential for easily constructing simple furniture using PVC as a foundation. Because it's weather resistant and lightweight, PVC based furniture is a natural for indoor-outdoor use on decks, and in sunrooms and family rooms. It's easy to clean too, which makes it a good choice in a child's room, kitchen or around pets.
Although PVC plastic isn't the greenest choice, it can be recycled, which makes it a better option than some synthetic materials on the market. It also has the advantage of being easy to knock down and possibly reuse in other projects.
Where You Can Find PVC
PVC pipe, couplings, elbows, caps and other specialty fittings are available at most home improvement outlets. Sold in 10-foot lengths or longer, you may be able to get your retailer to cut the pipe for you for a small fee.There are a number of PVC diameters to choose from starting at around 1/2 inch and going up from there. The measurement refers to the internal diameter of the pipe. Furniture patterns will typically specify a recommended diameter. 1-1/4 inch is a popular PVC diameter in furniture projects for chairs, tables and carts. To be safe, check your specific pattern before you buy in bulk. If you want to use PVC you have left over from a previous project, verify the recommended diameter of any pattern you plan on using. Some small modifications in PVC diameter may not be significant, particularly in non-weight bearing projects and if all fittings accommodate the size PVC you have.
Color and PVC
Although most rigid PVC sold on the market is white, there are other colors available, like bone, gray, green/black and clear. You can also buy basic white and paint it yourself with specialty paints designed for use with plastic. This is a great way to personalize your PVC furniture and integrate it with the rest of the furnishings in your room. Choose a colorful fabric for cushions and you have a one-of-a-kind piece.PVC has some real advantages over wood and metal as a foundation for furniture. Aside from being lightweight, PVC will never chip or peel. It doesn't oxidize. It's light, but still has enough weight to stand up to a breeze. It's sturdy, but is still easy move around. An advantage to using UV stable PVC is that it resists deterioration and discoloration from exposure to ultra violet (UVA and UVB) light, making it a great choice for areas that experience punishing sun extremes during the summer season that degrade most other materials.
Working With PVC Can Be Fun
When you make PVC furniture, one of the biggest challenges may be just getting the long lengths of pipe home to your workshop. After that, you might decide that using a material that's this easy to work is a lot more fun than you thought it was going to be.