PVC construction ... How does it hold up in the UV

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SheilaV, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. SheilaV

    SheilaV Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2011
    I am wondering how well PVC holds up over time in the weather. My experience has been that PVC pipe tends to get brittle after a year or more in the sun and fluctuations in temperatures over the seasons. Of course, this has been with smaller sizes (3/4" mostly) used in gardening projects. Do the larger sizes, being thicker, hold up well over time? I wonder if the electrical conduit, which seems to be used exposed more often than traditional water/pvc pipes, would fare better. I see PVC fencing sold regularly, so I must assume someone has a way to make it tolerant to the UV in climates like ours in North Texas. When I read "PVC", are we talking about something other than the traditional water bearing pipe? I love the idea, as PVC is so easy to work with, but I am concerned about the investment holding up with time.
  2. stilldeb

    stilldeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    NW Kentucky
    My husband has built our chicken pens out of standard PVC pipes and fittings. It's neat because you can make them any size and shape you want. I would not recommend it if you have a big predator problem, but we do not, and our chicks are locked up tight in their coops at night. The attached pens are 10' x 10' with a square roosting area in the middle that they all just love (especially the girls when the roos are chasing them!) - they have side doors where they can be let out to play in the yard and a top door that opens to put treats and things in as well. They are light weight and are anchored to the ground and the coops, but we can still easily detach everything and quickly move the whole thing from place to place for fresh grass in the yard, and we have heavy tarps over them for shade and protection from the weather. It's what works for us. We have small bantam flocks right outside our back door where I can watch them out our kitchen window.

    We have had this system for over a year with some of the worst weather I can remember as far as heat, cold, tornados, straight line 80 mph winds (and we are on top of a hill), rain, etc., and they hold up well so far. It has been a learning experience, especially with the 80 mph winds, to not keep the whole thing from becoming a giant kite, but all our chickens are still present and accounted for. That's about all I can tell you.

    deb g
  3. latebloomer

    latebloomer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2011
    green mountain state
    Schedule 40 pvc, typically used by electricians for outside applications, is supposed to do better outside than the regular type.
  4. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    The gray electrical conduit has some UV resistance, the white stuff does not. I have many 2" pvc lines outside of my koi pond filtration and it has botten VERY brittle. I need to replace it all this year.
  5. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Although it requires some degree of labor, PVC pipe will last longer painted. Paint protects the PVC from the UV light.

  6. SheilaV

    SheilaV Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2011
    I ask because I am torn between using PVC and standard chain link railing. Having dealt with dogs for so long, I am well versed (and equipped) in building panels and gates with steel, but I am concerned about cost and, frankly, weight. I have not begun any construction yet, as I am in the middle of another project at the moment, but I am considering how I want to do it. I like the idea of panels (be they PVC or steel or wood) as that makes them adjustable and moveable, but it also requires some additional considerations for wind and predators. I am also considering the practicality of using a steel awning structure... not sure what they are called. I actually am using a couple to park my truck and car under (like carports.) They have plastic tarps on the top, which has to be replaced every few years, but if they are assembled with some screws in the joints and with the feet firmly anchored in the ground, they work quite well for me. I am careful to anchor them to any adjacent structures (fences, buildings or whatever). They are about 10' wide and 16' to 20' long. The last one I got was just over $125. For this purpose, I would want some sort of netting or poultry wire on the top, and when the cheapo tarp is in shreds, I would not have to replace it with the 12x20' size, but could just use a standard 8x12 or so to cover an end (I am referring only for use as the run, not the actual shelter itself. That structure is already available.) It is largely a matter of how do I want to spend the money, how much work do I want to give it, and how permanent do i want it to be... just the normal decisions.

    Thanks to all for your input.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  7. colebarnhart

    colebarnhart Chillin' With My Peeps

    I thought you were talking about feeding & watering. I'm not sure PVC would be all that great of an idea to build a coup with. Read thru the predator posts and you'll probably change you mind.
  8. jamband

    jamband Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2011
    the gray stuff has some uv protection. some folks have luck with it but I dont think I would use it. Between freezing and the sun on bent pipe its just a matter of time until one shatters or at least cracks.
  9. bcray

    bcray Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    I don't know how long they will last, but that's what I have. I don't have a top on mine
    So I had to clip some of my chickens wings. I move it from one side of the chicken house, Gives them fresh grass and keeps the mess down some. When using I set each section at an angle,
    makes it more stable.

    I made mine 5 ft high - 10 long sectionsI have 5 sections.
    3/4 heavy schedual pvcpipe is glued .
    Wire is fastened to 5x10 frames with Zip ties.
    Frames are tied with Zip ties.

    I think if I do it again I'll use 1 inch pipe.
    Hope this may help someone.
  10. twentynine

    twentynine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    I have had some regular schedule 40 white PVC pipe with 40# water pressure, exposed to direct sunlight for years and years (5+), no problem.

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