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How To Use Plumber's Putty

by Sara Cook

Plumber's putty creates a watertight seal around a fixture. But despite this, the putty remains relatively soft, making it easy to work with. It is usually better than silicone both because it can act as a better filler and because it is easier to work with. The most common places that plumber's putty is used is at the base of sink fixtures. The plumber's putty is applied right before the fixture is placed onto the sink. Pop-up drains usually have plumber's putty on them. However, there are many other less common uses of plumber's putty. If you are installing certain types of fixtures, you will need to know how to properly use plumber's putty.

Turn Off the Water

Before you use plumber's putty, you will want to turn off the water supply valves under your bathroom sink. If the valves are not working or if you want to be extra safe, you can shut the water off with the main shutoff valve. You will also want to place a bucket underneath the sink.

Clean the Area

Make sure that the area where you will be applying the plumber's putty has been wiped clean. Small amounts of dirt and dust can create openings that can allow water to leak through.

Begin Adding the Putty

To add plumber's putty, tear off a piece of it. Then, roll it as if you were forming a snake, which will create a shape that can easily be positioned correctly. Place the putty around the base of the faucet or drain lip. Sometimes, there is a really large space near the drain area, so make sure you have enough putty to fill this area.

If the plumber's putty is too hard, apply heat. Rub the substance between your hands or warm your hands up before working with the putty. If the putty is too hard, it will be too difficult to work with.

Remove Excess Putty

After you have put the putty in position, wipe away the excess putty with a damp, clean cloth and put the fixture in position. If the putty is allowed to dry, it will be more difficult to remove and will also look bad. Then, allow the rest of the putty to dry.

Plumber's putty should only be used under circumstances it was intended to be used. It is not meant to seal joints on pipes, fill in the space between the wall and a sink, or connect two different pipes. If you need help, contact a plumbing company like Biard & Crockett Plumbing.