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About Plumber’s Putty

A good sealant is one of the most valuable items in a home improvement or DIYer’s toolkit, and some kind of caulk or sealant that makes a watertight seal, is especially useful in a plumber’s toolkit, and plumber’s putty is the most common and popular. 

What is plumber’s putty used for? 

This gummy compound is applied along drains, sink drains and fixtures to create a watertight seal. It remains soft enough that if you need to replace a fixture, you can do so without disturbing the waterproof seal or damaging the plumbing fixture. This makes plumbers putty a superior sealant to silicone. Silicone, or silicone based epoxy, first needs to dry out, and then it can cause trouble when it comes time to replace a plumbing fixture or sink or tub drain.

Where Do You Apply Plumber’s Putty?

Plumber’s putty is often placed along faucet bases and other sink fixtures, with stainless steel, garbage disposals, kitchen sinks, lavatory, counter-tops, sink strainers and more, prior to installing them. This can help create a waterproof seal, or gasket, for the plumbing fixture. It is a quick setting compound, making it ideal for plumbing repairs. You can also utilize plumber’s putty for pop-up drains and basket strainers. You will also see putty in most tub shoe screws that lead to waste and overflow.

Common Uses For Plumber’s Putty?

When using a plumber’s putty, you want to grab a quantity, the size of a golf ball, and massage and roll it, warming it up, and rolling it into a “putty snake”. Then you can line this around the base of faucets or the lips of the kitchen sink drains, tub drains, or any other drain or plumbing fixture. If you’re uncertain of how much to use, err on the side of adding too much because once you put the fixture in place, any excess putty will be forced out and you can simply remove the excess putty to store it in the container for future jobs. Here are a few tips to help you use plumber’s putty:

  • Putty is supposed to be soft, so if it resists being molded or is cracking, you will need to dispose of this batch and purchase new plumber’s putty. It takes a long time for it to “dry out” in the tub, but it is possible.
  • Make sure the container of putty is as airtight as it can be, otherwise your putty could age prematurely.
  • Instruction labels are your friend, especially when it comes to porous surfaces. The label will tell which surfaces you can and cannot use putty for. For instance, granite could be stained by some versions of putty.
  • Some will use putty, or another solvent or sealant, to create a gasket around where countertops meet the wall or other seams.
  • It can be used to create a waterproof seal for sink drains, tub drains, water heater drains, kitchen sinks, faucets, garbage disposals and other plumbing fixtures.
  • Pricing can vary and there are many brands of plumber’s putty. Oatey, Hercules Sta Put, Rectorseal are a few, however there are many brands to choose from, however most will have some form of powdered clay and linseed oil, though some putty may use limestone or talc. Most will have some kind of warranty, so be sure to keep receipts.
  • Most are not for use on granite, limestone, marble, plastic or any other dimensional stone.

Plumbing questions? Call a Kansas City plumber at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service!

When it comes to installing fixtures or fixing problems with plumbing, do not hesitate to turn to the experts. At A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc., we have been serving the Kansas City area for decades, and our friendly team of plumbing technicians can address any plumbing issue you have and provide competitive pricing for your plumbing repair. No project is too great, and no problem is too small for us to handle. We also offer emergency and weekend service. Whatever the plumbing problem, you can rely on our team. Ask for your quote today!