What You Need to Know about Plumber’s Putty

Do you have this product at your home? If not, it’s a good idea to purchase some and keep it in your toolbox patching pipes and other DIY projects while you wait for a licensed plumber to get to your home.


Did you know when you fix a leaky pipe you save money on your water bill? Although the savings is around 10%, that’s still savings that adds up over time. If you have a leaky pipe or a leaky fixture at your home that you need to fix, plumber’s putty is a great place to start.


Let’s take a closer look at how plumber’s putty works.


What’s Plumber’s Putty?


This moldable putty has a clay base that also has mineral oils or vegetable oil to help it stay malleable. When sealing plumbing fixtures, you want a substance that won’t harden or crack and is easy to manipulate. You also want a substance that gives you plenty of time to work with it. Silicone-based sealants aren’t always great for plumbing jobs because they harden faster. If you’re not sure what you’re doing and make a mistake, you need a product that gives you time to make and correct mistakes. Plumber’s putty is a perfect pipe sealant as long as it isn’t applied to pipe threads.


When to Use Plumber’s Putty


When it comes to plumbing problems, leaks are very common, especially around toilets and drains. These areas, as well as sinks and tubs, respond well when plumber’s putty is used to stop leaks temporarily.


There are places that you shouldn’t use plumber’s putty though. Earlier we mentioned you don’t want to use it to seal pipe threads. This is because the consistency is all wrong for this kind of job. You also don’t want to use plumber’s putty on any fixture experiencing high water pressure.


We also recommend being very careful when using plumber’s putty around granite or marble countertops. The oil in the putty isn’t a good match for these stone products. Instead, you need a water-based or silicon type of sealant instead.  Additionally, if you’re going to be sealing a leak with the putty on a stainless steel surface, look for plumber’s putty made specifically for stainless steel.


Where to Buy Plumber’s Putty


You don’t have to search too hard to find plumber’s putty. All hardware stores carry the product because it’s one of the most popular plumbing tools.  If you’re worried about staining, look for a putty labeled “stain-free.” This product should be fine for all types of plumbing surfaces.


How to Use the Product


When you begin using the putty, it will be cold and hard. That’s okay. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Don’t worry that you got a bad product. Once the putty heats up it will start to form into stretchable substance. Roll a small amount between your palms. The heat generated will soften the putty.


When the putty is softened, determine how much you need to place over the hole where the leak exists. Before you place the putty on the pipe or fixture make sure it’s completely dry. If the surface is even the slightest bit wet, the putty won’t adhere.


Next, spread the putty around and make sure there are no gaps. Also, don’t add layers. You want one simple layer of putty. More is not better. Press the putty into place using your fingers.


Once the putty is firmly in place, re-assemble the fixture or drain. Make sure everything is secure to ensure the putty does its job while you wait for a plumber to arrive.


How Long Will Putty Last?

For small leaks, plumber’s putty can hold back water for quite some time. However, remember the putty is only a temporary fix. It’s not meant to fix the problem for weeks or months. It’s designed to help you get through a few days until you can call a plumber.


Hire a Professional


Does all this sound like too much work? No problem! Call a plumber at Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter and we’ll come out right away to fix those leaky fixtures and pipes. Our team is here for you 24 hours a day for emergency pipe repair and other plumbing services. Call us at (888) 668-8922.