How to Use Plumbers Putty

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How to Use Plumbers Putty

Plumbers use plumber's putty in the installation of drainpipes, sinks, and valves. The putty seals areas exposed to unpressurized water, preventing leaks and seepage. Some people also use it to seat fixtures such as sinks and toilets as it keeps fixtures in place, but is not as difficult to remove as some silicone products. This clay-like compound is flexible and pliable, making it easy to use. Before using plumber's putty, people should learn when to use it, what to use it for, and how to apply it. Buyers can find plumber's putty at most hardware and home improvement stores as well as online from retailers and sellers using marketplaces like eBay.

When and Where to Use Plumber's Putty

Plumber's putty is easier to use than silicone caulking is as it is simpler to apply and does not require the same drying period. In addition, silicone is not as dense as plumber's putty as is not as good of a filler. Plumbers use this putty at the base of faucets and other sink features before setting them on to the sink, on basket strainers and pop-up drains in kitchen and bathroom sinks, in tub drains, and to attach toilets to bathroom floors.

One cannot use this product in pressurized areas as it does not hold. The table below lists three situations where a person may be tempted to use putty with alternative product recommendations.


Alternative Product

Cementing together plastic pipes without thread

PVC cement

Sealing joints between metal or plastic threaded pipes

Teflon or plumber's tape

Sealing space between sink and wall

Silicone caulk

Plumber putty can also weaken plastic and stain porous materials, such as granite, marble, and synthetic marble. In addition, users should avoid using putty on areas that stain easily, such as white cupboard or drawer fronts. In these situations, silicone sealant is a better choice. Alternatively, people should use water-based putty instead of standard oil-based putty. Water-based putty is suitable for porous materials, and areas prone to staining. Users should always read the manufacturer's instructions to ensure that the products they choose are suitable for the task.

How to Apply Plumber's Putty

Applying plumber's putty is easy. Users should clean the surfaces to which they are applying the product, prepare the putty, and apply it.

Cleaning the Surfaces

For plumber's putty to adhere to the surface to which a user applies it properly, the surface must be clean. Dust and debris can also cause irregular and potholed putty that does not seal properly. Before applying the product, the user should thoroughly clean the fixtures or fittings with a clean, damp cloth. For heavily soiled surfaces, users can a solvent, such as paint thinner, to clean the area. They should take care when using these products, as they are harmful, can cause eye injuries, and produce powerful vapors.

Preparing the Plumber's Putty

Plumber's putty requires heat to work effectively. The user should warm his or her hands by rubbing them together before rolling the putty in both hands for several minutes. The putty should be soft and pliable. If it is too hard, it does not seal properly, and it is more difficult to use. Once the putty is smooth and soft in texture, the user should form it into a long, thin snake shape. The putty "snake" should be long and thick enough to fit around the join or fixture the user wants to seal.

Applying the Plumber's Putty

To apply the putty, the user should place it against the threads of the piping or fixture before screwing the components together while ensuring there are no gaps. He or she should apply pressure to the putty after tightening the thread to ensure a watertight fit. The user should wipe away the excess putty using a clean cloth. Leaving the product to dry makes it more difficult to neaten one's handiwork and impedes the effectiveness of the seal.

Users should always check the manufacturer's instructions regarding drying times before allowing the putty to come into contact with water. If the putty is easy to access, one can test whether it has dried by gently prodding it with one's finger.

How to Buy Plumber's Putty

eBay sellers offer a variety of plumber's putty products at competitive prices. To find what you need, use the search field, which you can access from every page. To search, simply type a keyword phrase like "stainless plumber's putty" into the search bar. Refine your search by choosing the most suitable category and item specifications.

Plumber's putty is a versatile, relatively inexpensive product for sealing and seating plumbing fixtures. Never use this product on plumbing components exposed to water pressure. Carefully clean surfaces before application and warm the product until it is smooth and pliable. Wipe away excess putty before it dries.