What is Plumber’s Putty?


Plumber’s putty is a sealant that comes in handy for plumbing. This putty is a pliable material that can be used around taps or drains to seal leaks. It dries into a watertight seal and is often used by plumbers while replacing plumbing fixtures or installing new ones. Of course, if there is a large gash in one of your pipes, using a plumber’s putty will not be able to seal off the leak.

However, the substance is ideal for use as a sealing compound to make the installation of any plumbing fixture watertight!

What Is Plumber’s Putty Made Of?

Plumber’s putty is made using various formulations. However, one of the most common formulations is linseed oil and powdered clay. This composition makes the putty extremely soft and pliable, allowing you to mold it around various fixtures. In some cases, limestone and fish oil may also be used to create plumber’s putty.

There are various ways of making plumber’s putty, but if the sealant is pliable and can be applied around fixtures to make them watertight, they would be referred to as putty.

Plumber’s Putty or Silicone?

Plumber’s putty has traditionally been found in any plumber’s toolkit, however, silicone is a modern addition that also functions as a sealant. Both substances do a great job of sealing off leaks and making the corners of fixtures waterproof.

When used with some materials such as granite, marble or plastic, plumber’s putty may leave stains, so people prefer to use silicone in those situations. However, there are also stain-free formulas that you can use in those situations.

But one of the biggest benefits of using plumber’s putty over silicone is that the material remains soft for a very long time while still being watertight. So if you want to remove a fixture or want to carry out modifications, the putty is not at all difficult to remove.

On the contrary, silicone becomes very hard and you will need to chip through the material to remove it if you want to install a new fixture or remove an old one that has been sealed using silicone.

Using Plumber’s Putty

Remember, if the putty is too hard to roll or is cracking as you handle it, it has become old and dried out. This putty will no longer provide the kind of sealing you require and you need to get fresh putty.

It is important to keep a new tub of putty sealed so it does not dry out. At some point, the putty will dry out, but that will not be for years if you seal the tub right.

Final Thoughts

There are several other materials one can use instead of plumber’s putty, but despite all the new additions to the market, plumber’s putty has remained a loyal and reliable material.

I think there is a reason why professionals reach for a tub of putty still, despite other entrants in the market. This is a simple formula and it may not be as sophisticated as silicone or some other materials, but it is a trusted formula that I think has endured for years.

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