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Where to find PVC pipes for waste in Canada

thierry19 | Posted in Building Code Questions on

Question for fellow Canadians. I’m in Ottawa, ON, and I’m trying to solve a mystery here.

I want to do my waste plumbing with PVC because nowadays PVC is like 3x cheaper than ABS. Yet PVC is impossible to find in hardware store, except in 3in or 4in….. They have all the ABS fittings and pipe sizes, but not PVC.

Where do people get the rest of PVC pipes and fittings? In specialized stores perhaps but they often don’t do retail.

Thank you

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  1. Expert Member


    It's been a while since I looked into this but under our code here in BC I'm pretty sure you still can't use PVC for drains inside the house, and the ABS has to extend out several feet past the foundation walls. My understanding is that the PVC pipe does not meet the requirements for approval in the plumbing code sent out in Articles and It's probably the same in Ontario.

    1. Expert Member
      DCcontrarian | | #3

      Interesting. Do you know what the reasoning is?

      1. Expert Member
        MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #4


        I think it was as simple as approvals. Waste pipe inside houses has to be tested and marked as such. PVC is only rated for use as water supply here. No idea why.

        1. Expert Member
          BILL WICHERS | | #9

          Strange, I would have expected the other way around. Usually rules for supply piping for potable water are more stringent than for drains. I agree it’s probably a regulatory issue though, since oddball regulatory requirements are usually where those head scratcher issues come from.

          I seem to recall pvc drain fittings being available last time I was in Hamilton, or at least I would have thought 1.5” and 2” sizes would be for drains. This would have been in a lowes or Home Depot. I didn’t look close though since I was looking for pe pipe for a well.

          Note that we have a similar issue in the us with gas lines. Black pipe is what everyone expects to need, but galvanized is usually permitted now too. People think “gas needs black pipe” though, so the stores usually have more black pipe options than galvanized due more to people’s expectations than any technical or regulatory issue.


      2. thierry19 | | #5

        It's actually for the Quebec side and it really looks like PVC is allowed. I haven't read anywhere that it's not allowed. I don't have acces to the last version of the code.

        This doc, in French, talks about fire issues for different types of material..... PVC is in there.

        I appreciate your input

        1. Expert Member
          MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #8


          It may be as simple as the market never developed once PVC was approved, but more likely is it doesn't have the appropriate ASTM and is still not allowed.

          As a general rule of thumb, if you aren't seeing a material or piece of equipment used, and it performs similarly but is cheaper, there is probably some good reason why.

  2. Expert Member
    DCcontrarian | | #2

    How expensive is the ABS in 1-1/2" and 2" sizes? The reason I ask is you may want to do the small plumbing in ABS and transition to PVC for the drains. There are a lot of advantages to using the material that is most common where you live -- you can run out to any hardware store if you need one more fitting to finish a project, if you call a plumber he's going to have the right fitting on his truck.

    You can't glue PVC to ABS. The way to transition is to put a threaded fitting on each piece and screw them together. This can be a lifesaver too if you have to do a repair or renovation down the road, it allows you to take the joint apart without destroying the fittings.

    1. Deleted | | #6


    2. thierry19 | | #7

      I haven't checked but for a 4in pipe, ABS is 90$ and PVC is 30$

    3. this_page_left_blank | | #10

      You can glue ABS to PVC, they sell a special cement for it called transition cement.

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