How to Bend PEX Tubing

Blue PEX tubing bent with a 90-degree elbow, bend support and clamps

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5

One of the many benefits of using PEX tubing for plumbing projects is that it is so simple to use. PEX is inexpensive, cuts and joins easily, and requires few special tools. PEX tubing is also very easy to bend. To help PEX tubing make turns, you have a choice of three methods: 90-degree elbows, bend supports, and clamps.

PEX 90-Degree Elbow

An elbow is an L-shaped fitting that helps to create a 90-degree bend in PEX pipes. An elbow doesn't bend the PEX tubing itself. Rather, two straight sections of PEX tubing are connected to a 90-degree, L-shaped connector.

Push-fit 90-degree elbows allow you to push the PEX tubes straight into the elbow, with no other tools directly involved (you may need a PEX cutter and a PEX removal tool, however). An alternative is the crimp-fit joint system. The PEX tubes are pushed over a brass fitting. Brass rings are crimped over the ends of the PEX tubing with a special tool.

PEX Bend Support

PEX bend supports are 1/4-turn metal or plastic devices that hold the PEX in place for a 90-degree turn. Some supports have nails that allow you to secure the support to the surface below.

Bend supports generally bring the PEX to its tightest allowable 90-degree turn without folding or crimping. Turn radii differ according to PEX pipe diameter. For 1/2-inch PEX pipe, the tightest radius is usually 5 inches.

PEX Clamps

PEX clamps are individual plastic clips with attached nails. The clamps are nailed over the top of the PEX pipe. They allow for a range of turns, from tight turns similar to those produced by bend supports to wide, sweeping turns.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Heat gun
  • Indelible marker
  • Straight edge or Speed Square
  • Hammer
  • Crimper tool

Materials

  • PEX tubing
  • Bend support
  • Push-fit or crimp-fit elbow
  • PEX clamps

Instructions

Materials and tools to bend PEX tubing

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

How to Bend PEX With a 90-Degree Elbow

  1. Clean the Tube Ends

    Tube ends should be square-ended, clean, and free of plastic burrs. Clean off the ends with a cloth.

    Blue PEX tubing ends cleaned with white cloth

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Mark the Tubes

    If using push-fit connectors, use an indelible marker to mark the insertion or stop point on the PEX tubes for the connector. Fittings with different brands may have different insertion depths. Consult the pipe insertion depth chart for your brand. Be sure to mark both tubes.

    Marker adding line to PEX tubing end for connectors

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. Push the Tube Into One Side of the Elbow

    Hold the elbow in one hand and the tube in the other hand. Push the tube into the elbow. You must push in a single, firm motion. Because of push-fit connectors' internal barbs, the tube cannot be pulled out by hand. You will need to use a special remover tool.

    PEX tubing pushed into one end of 90-degree elbow connector

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. Push the Tube Into the Other Side of the Elbow

    Complete the joint by pushing the other PEX tube into the other side of the elbow.

    PEX tube pushed into other end of 90-degree elbow connector

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Bend PEX With a Bend Support

  1. Warm the PEX Tube

    Though PEX tubing bends well, it can crimp if it is bent improperly. Start by warming up the PEX tubing, either by letting it sit in a warm room or by using a heat gun at the lowest temperature setting.

    Blue PEX tube warmed with heat gun

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Push Into One Side of the Bend Support

    Push the PEX tubing into one side of the bend support. Work quickly to maintain the pliability of the tubing.

    Warmed PEX tube pressed into bend support

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. Bend the PEX Tubing

    Very slowly bend the PEX tubing until it matches the curve of the bend support. If you bend too quickly, you will crimp and fold the tubing.

    PEX tubing curved slowly inside bend support

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. Push Into Other Side of the Bend Support

    When the tubing curve matches that of the bend support, push the tubing into the support until it clicks into place.

    PEX tubing clicked into other side of bend support

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Bend PEX With Clamps

  1. Examine the Nailing Surface

    When bending PEX with clamps, the nailing surface must be wood. This wood must be flat and sturdy enough to prevent the nails from pulling out. When PEX is initially bent with clamps, it places stress on the clamps.

    Wood surface examined before nailing

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Mark the Intended Curve

    With a pencil and a straight edge or Speed Square, mark the intended curve of the PEX tubing. In most cases, you can mark the angle out with two straight lines rather than creating a curve. This makes it easier for you to determine the angle, as well.

    Speed square marking angle for PEX tubing curve

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. Nail Down One Clamp

    On one side of the curve, nail down a PEX clamp to the board. Be sure not to break the plastic sleeve on the clamp. Slide the PEX tube into the clamp.

    Tip

    If you are continuing an existing pipe rather than starting a new one, the clamp is nailed down over the pipe.

    PEX clamp nailed to wood surface

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. Bend the PEX Tube

    Slowly bend the PEX tube to the intended position. To prevent stress from pulling out the first clamp, you may need to hold that end of the tube in place.

    PEX tube slowly bent alongside wood surface

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  5. Nail the Second Clamp

    Lay the second clamp over the PEX tube. Nail it down. Release your hold on the tube only when the clamp is firmly in place.

    Second clamp nailed to wood surface on other end of PEX tube

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris