Understanding Teflon Tape And Plumber's Putty

If you want to complete a fairly simple plumbing job, then you may know that you need the right supplies. If you go to your local plumbing supply store, then you will be presented with dozens of material options to choose from. These options may include the materials that are needed to secure pipes to one another. Specifically, you may notice plumbers putty and Teflon tape. If you are inexperienced when it comes to plumbing work, then you may not understand the difference between the two materials. Keep reading to learn a little bit more about them so you know when each should be used.

Teflon Tape

Teflon tape is an extremely thin type of tape that is placed on a small plastic roll. The tape is made from polytetrafluoroethylene and this is the same type of compound that is used to make Teflon coated products. Teflon is a non-stick material, but its astounding strength is what helps to make it useful as a plumbing product. Teflon is also quite durable and it reduces friction.

Teflon tape is a thin and is usually one-half inch in diameter. This type of tape is usually white in color and it best used to create watertight seals when installing water pipes. You may notice both red and green tapes at the plumbing store. However, these varieties are used for larger pipes and for ones that supply gas.

If you want to secure a general use water pipe, then wrap the tape around the threaded male end of the pipe. Wrap the tape tightly around the threads. You want to create two or three layers of the tape. Thankfully, several layers will not add bulk to the pipe since the tape will conform to the threading. You can easily screw the taped end into the female side of the pipe fitting when you are done. This will create the seal that will be resistant to pressure once water flows through the pipe.

Plumber's Putty

Plumber's putty is a thick type of putty that contains clay, linseed oils, talc, silicone, sealants and a variety of other materials. Pipe dope remains pliable and flexible once it is applied, but it does create a watertight seal. Since the putty is pliable, it cannot withstand the same type of pressure and stress as Teflon tape. This means that the material cannot be used on sections of water pipes. 

Plumber's putty is best used on faucets, sink fittings, and other types of fittings that are installed in the home. In general, you want to use it on any type of reversible fitting that may need to be twisted off at some point. When using the putty, spread a generous amount around the fitting and then twist it into place. When you are done, use a cotton rag to wipe away the excess. 

For more information about plumbing repairs, contact Kelly's Pipe & Supply Company.