When coming across do-it-yourself plumbing projects, you are likely to have come across a thin, white tape wrapped around the threading of pipes. The presence of that plumber’s tape, as it is sometimes called, is there for more than just for decoration. Learning how to use plumbers tape — or teflon — is critical in a proper plumbing project.

Other names of this material — pipe thread tape, thread seal tape, or PTFE tape. Simply put, calling it plumber’s tape is an apt description for its usage and application. It is used to create a watertight seal between joints and is also used to lubricate the connection of the joints to make the threading smoother and easier to disassemble. 

If you find that a pipe’s joint is leaking, it may be because the tape has worn out, or that there is no tape present at all. Pipe thread tape will help this problem, and the way is pretty easy. After turning off the water, you will disconnect the pipe from the joint. Remove any worn out tape and then apply new tape. 

You will want to wrap the tape around the thread in the opposite direction from how you will screw the pipe back in. Wrap the tape around the joint about four to six times, starting from the second thread from the bottom. The tape needs to be sung with the threading before reconnecting the pipe to the joint. Then turn the water back on and test for leaks.

For leaks that are not at the point of joints, plumber’s tape is not ideal. For fracture leaks, you instead turn to silicone tape. This tape will help create a temporary waterproof seal while you search for a more permanent fix. 

When you locate the leak, and are sure you know where it is, that is where you will use the silicone tape. Again, turn the water off first, and then dry the area as best you can. Wrap the silicone tape around the area with the leak, overlapping several times and as tight as possible. You can extend the wrapping to the surrounding area of the pipe to make with that you have the area sealed.

Pipe thread tape can last years when applied properly, but may need to be replaced after it has worn down or when you notice a leak. Silicone tape, however, is only a temporary solution. In that situation, it will only prevent a leak from getting worse, and not fix the leak completely.

Being aware of how, when and where to use plumber’s tape will make DIY projects around your house easier and quicker. Not all situations can be fixed with tape, and that is when you should bring in the professionals. For any help you need with your home’s plumbing system, call Kellermeier Plumbing at 616-866-5134. At Kellermeier Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being honest and upfront with our customers and strive to provide our clients with the highest level of service.