How to make PVC pontoons

Updated February 21, 2017

Pontoon are large round pipes or devices that allow an object (normally a raft or boat) to float. PVC pontoons are used on many pontoon boats because they are dependable and inexpensive. Large PVC pipes can be made into pontoons in a matter of hours. Pontoons can be tapered or blunt at the end; the pontoons described here are blunt.

Place the wooden rod in the middle of the wood block and screw the wood screws into the bottom of the block into the rod to hold them together.

Measure and cut the foam insulation sheets into circles that have a diameter of 12 inches. Use the compass to draw the circles and use the utility knife to cut the circles. Create two circles for every 10 inches of PVC pipe.

Pair up the foam insulation circles in groups of two and duct tape them together. Groups of four disks can be used in areas that will hold a lot of weight.

Press the foam into one end of the pipe. Use the wooden block screwed to the wooden rod to push the foam into the pipe. Foam sheets are placed every 10 inches or as close as possible. For long pontoons, the foam can be placed in the middle and the other pairs pushed in from both ends of the pipe.

Continue pushing the foam in until all the foam disks have been inserted.

Apply PVC glue to the outside of the ends of the PVC pipe and slide the end caps over the ends of the pipe. The PVC glue must cover the entire edge. If any part of the pipe is not glued, a leak can appear in the pontoon and it can sink. Allow the cement to set for the allotted time. Some PVC cement brands will dry in 30 minutes, while others can take up to 3 hours to dry.

Test the pontoons to make sure they are airtight. Drop the pipes into a bucket of water or pond and test for leaks. If the pontoon is releasing air bubbles there is a leak somewhere. Remove the pontoon, dry it and seal the leak with PVC glue.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC pipe, 12-inch diameter
  • 2 PVC end caps, 12-inch diameter
  • Foam insulation sheets
  • Compass
  • Utility knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Duct tape
  • Wooden rod
  • Wood block, 11-inches long
  • Wood screws
  • PVC cement
  • Water
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About the Author

Donna Armstrong is a freelance writer who has been writing since 2005. She has provided copy for catalogs, newspapers, newsletters, blogs, informational and e-commerce websites. She has written on a variety of subjects including state-of-the-art electronics and household products. She has worked for such websites as and She attended the University of Texas, where she studied history and education.