Express Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

There are many different products available for use in the plumbing trade. So these products can range from harmful, to questionable to necessary. There is also a lot of confusion about which product to use, when to use it, and where to use it. Below is a list of the most common products. Whit a short explanation of each.
Thread Paste:

Also known as “pipe dope”. The main function of pipe dope is to seal threaded connections by filling in the tiny voids. Applying the paste will also act as a lubricant and help to tighten the connection a little better. There are many different kinds of thread paste on the market, and some contain different chemicals. So you should always be sure that the paste you are using is ok for the material you are using it on. There are a few other situations that plumbers like to apply the paste. Such as on the mating surfaces of certain kinds of unions. Inside compression fittings. Inside flared connections. Or on the bottom of certain types of gaskets.

PFFE Tape:

This abbreviation stands for polytetrafluoroethylene tape. Or thread tape is commonly (and mistakenly) called Teflon tape. Since Teflon is a trademarked brand of the DuPont Corporation this product should not be called “Teflon tape.” On threaded connections. So it’s important not “overwrap” the threads with the tape. This could possibly result in putting too much stress on the female fitting and cracking it.

Plumbers Putty:

This is probably the most widely misused plumbing item there is. That is always a sure-fire leak. Putty should only be used on the underside of something that will be tightened or compressed down. Such as the underside of sink drains, shower drains, and bathtub drains. Some plumbers will use it underneath stainless steel sinks to seal them to the countertop as well.

Latex Caulk and Silicone Caulk:

Caulks and silicones should never be used to seal any piping. Or seal around areas that should not allow water in. So examples include, caulking down sinks, tub spouts, outside penetrations, maybe even faucets. Some plumbers like to use silicone on the underside of the sink, shower, and bathtub drains in lieu of the plumber’s putty.

Plumbers Grease:

Any time you take a faucet apart, grease up everything. This includes O-rings, threads, and any moving parts.


It cleans the pipe and slows the solder to flow into the fitting.

Brad Jordan

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