Pipe Load Guide

If you need an idea of how much weight your PVC pipe structure can hold, you can use our horizontal pipe deflection load chart below.  This will help you design your structure for the correct pipe size and minimum/maximum lengths.

Important Note
The following is a conservative estimate of the pipe loads and only reflects the horizontal loads of Furniture Grade PVC pipe.  Due to differing environmental conditions, FORMUFIT provides no guarantee that our products will maintain or exceed the loads defined on this page.


What is Deflection?

There are two types of pipe deflection:

Self Deflection:  This is where the weight of the pipe by itself causes it to bend.  Since the pipe is so heavy, it tends to bend on its own, horizontally.  Lengths in these sizes should not bear the additional weight.

self deflection definition

Load Deflection:  This is the bending of horizontal pipe when external weight is applied only.  This size and length of a pipe that does not bend under its own weight and is ideal for weight-bearing structures that will have persons/items placed upon it.

How to use our Load Deflection Chart:

  1. Determine the size of PVC you believe you want to use for your structure.
  2. Create your design and determine the lengths of pipe you will need.
  3. Use the chart below to see if your pipe lengths are Self Deflecting (SD) or Load Deflecting (LD):
    • If your segments are self deflecting (SD) the number listed is the total number of inches deep the center of the pipe segment will bend, from fully horizontal under its own weight..
    • If your segments are load deflecting (LD) the number listed is the maximum load before the pipe begins to bend.
Horizontal Span Length (ft.) 1/2 in. Size 3/4 in. Size 1 in. Size 1-1/4 in. Size 1-1/2 in. Size 2" Size
1' LD 18 lb. LD 28 lb. LD 40 lb. LD 50 lb. LD 58 lb. LD 70 lb.
2' LD 5 lb. LD 10 lb. LD 24 lb. LD 35 lb. LD 45 lb. LD 55 lb.
3' LD 3 lb. LD 6 lb. LD 11 lb. LD 20 lb. LD 30 lb. LD 35 lb.
4' LD 2 lb. LD 3 lb. LD 6 lb. LD 11 lb. LD 23 lb. LD 28 lb.
5' SD 0.25" SD 0.25" LD 5 lb. LD 10 lb. LD 16 lb. LD 22 lb.
6' SD 0.50" SD 0.75" SD 0.25" SD 0.25" SD 0.25" LD 12 lb.
7' SD 1.00" SD 1.00" SD 0.50" SD 0.25" SD 0.25" LD 6 lb.
8' SD 1.75" SD 1.25" SD 0.75" SD 0.25" SD 0.25" LD 2 lb.
9' SD 3.00" SD 2.00" SD 1.25" SD 0.75" SD 0.25" LD 1 lb.
10' SD 3.75" SD 2.25" SD 2.00" SD 1.25" SD 0.50" SD 0.25"


What about the load on a PVC pipe vertically?

Since the wall of a PVC pipe is stronger in the vertical position, you can multiply any vhorizontal load numbers by a factor of 2.8. A vertical 3-foot length of 1-1/4" PVC pipe will hold:

20 lb. x 2.8 = 56 lb. vertical load

Basic Load Guidelines

While there are a large number of technical and design factors involved in determining the total load a PVC pipe structure can bear, we've provided some basic guidelines below:

Determine Total Horizontal Load

For Load Deflecting pipe, you can estimate the total load a PVC structure can bear by adding up all of the segments that will have a load applied to them to find the total weight that the horizontal element(s) of the structure will bear. This is only in situations where the load is even across the surface.

While this does not mean that the structure can only support the weight shown, it does provide a conservative estimate of the total load the horizontal structure can bear.