Plumber’s Putty and its Many Uses in Plumbing Applications

Plumber’s putty is a soft, malleable material that is used to make leak-proof seals around drain pipes, faucets, and the like. If you’ve tried removing an old faucet and spotted a bead of clay-like material along the faucet’s underside, there’s a good chance it’s dried-up plumber’s putty. Back in the day, plumbing putty was used in a variety of applications before eventually being replaced by caulk. Of course, there are instances where plumber’s putty is still the top choice and knowing what those are can help you greatly with your plumbing tasks.

This article will discuss what plumber’s putty is all about and how to use it properly to create watertight seals.

Why use plumber’s putty

Plumber’s putty is among the basic tools that professional plumbers in Perth must have in his arsenal. Many plumbing technicians utilize it because it remains pliable for a very long time and maintains a leak-proof seal. However, unlike silicone and other types of caulk, plumber’s putty is not an adhesive and is actually weak at adhering two parts together. The upside is that you can easily remove a fixture or a drainpipe should you need to replace it.

While silicone is popular in today’s use, it’s not as dense and it isn’t as easy to work with compared to plumber’s putty. This makes the latter more suited at filling wide gaps and hard-to-reach areas. If you ever need to use plumber’s putty in a jiffy, you don’t have to worry about drying times because it cures much faster than caulk does.

Where to Utilize Plumber’s Putty

Plumber’s putty is typically utilized to seal along the base of faucets and other sink fixtures prior to setting them onto the sink. It’s also used on the undersides of sink strainers and pop-up drain fittings for tubs and sinks. In all of these common applications, the putty is concealed under a flange, lip, or edge and remains hidden when the part is installed. If you were to use caulk for these plumbing tasks, it would be very difficult to cut the caulk since you have very limited space to work with.

With plumber’s putty, you simply mould the material around the plumbing parts and it should create a nice, watertight seal. Do note that plumber’s putty is not meant to be used on pressurised connections as it does not bond two parts together nor should it be used for threaded metals/plastic fittings.

How to Use Plumber’s Putty

Plumbing’s putty is an extremely low-cost material that is offered in small plastic tubs. It is usually shaped by hand and is ready to use straight out of the container. Using plumber’s putty is pretty straightforward and requires very little effort on your end. Follow these practical tips to use plumber’s putty to its full effect.

  • Make sure both surfaces are clean prior to using plumber’s putty.
  • Use your fingers to scoop out a ball of putty from the tub.
  • Roll the putty back and forth in between your palms to create a long rope (similar to making a snake out of Play-Doh). The length of the rope should be longer than what you need and the diameter should be slightly bigger than the gap you’re filling it with.
  • Place the putty on the part you wish to seal and wrap it around to form a complete ring.
  • Install the piece and apply pressure. The excess putty should ooze out from the sides.
  • Wipe down the excess putty using a cloth.
  • Test out the putty for leaks.

Tips when using plumber’s putty

While plumbing professional’s putty is much better than caulk in some instances, it’s not intended to replace it. Avoid using plumbing technician’s putty where you require adhesive strength (to bond products or avoid them from moving) or where you need a watertight seal in exposed locations. Follow these other pointers for the finest results:

  • Plumber’s putty should be malleable and easy to roll. If it cracks when you try to shape it, it’s likely that the putty you have is old and will dry out easily. Get a new tub of putty if this is the case.
  • Always keep the putty’s tub tightly sealed. This helps prolong the putty’s lifespan and prevents premature drying.
  • Read the label of the plumber’s putty prior to using it on porous surfaces. Plumber’s is petroleum-based and can potentially stain surfaces like granite and marble. The instructions on the container of putty will let you know what surface areas it can be used on. There are stain-free kinds of plumber’s putty for use on stone and other porous surfaces.

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