Do You Have to Use Plumbers Putty when Installing A New Faucet
Many plumbing projects list plumber’s putty as a necessary material. Unfortunately, unless you are a plumber or an avid DIYer with a closet full of plumbing materials, you probably don’t have plumbing putty on hand.
Now, you’re in the process of installing a faucet and you just noticed that the instructions clearly say “putty for plumbers”. Yes, you can go to the store and buy it, but you want to be able to do this without having to go back to town.
So, you may be wondering: do I really need to use a plumber’s putty, or can I do without it? Well, the answer to this important question depends on what you’re doing. Read on to find out if a plumber’s putty is really necessary for your project.
Is Plumber’s Putty Necessary
Technically speaking, there are two answers to this question: yes and no. It may be necessary if you’re installing faucets, but it may also not be necessary. The reason is that some faucets have a rubber or plastic washer or trim ring near the faucet deck plate that fits over the faucet hole in the sink. In this case, a plumber’s putty isn’t exactly necessary, but it can’t hurt.
Now, if your new faucet doesn’t come with a handy little rubber gasket, then a plumber’s putty is your best bet. It will help create a leak-free seal at the bottom of the faucet, helping to ward off any unwanted leaks. While you can skip it and take your chances, you’re better off getting it right the first time.
So if you’re going to the store for supplies, maybe a face wrench (great for installing faucets), pick up some plumber’s putty while you’re there. Then, the steps in your installation process will be much easier.
How To Use Plumber’s Putty
Plumber’s Putty is like grown-up Play-Doh. It has a very similar consistency, which makes it easy to work with. For this part of the project, here’s what you’ll need.
- Plumber’s Putty
- A damp rag
- Dry towel
- Putty knife for plumbers
Before you prepare the putty, clean the area where you are going to apply it. Make sure the surface is dry. If it is not dry, dry it with a clean rag or towel.
Start applying the right amount of putty. Roll it in your hands to warm it up, then start rolling it into a snake shape, making it as long as you need. Then, lay the putty on the area to be sealed. Press it into place until it sticks to the surface.
Scrape off the excess putty with a putty knife and you’re done.
How Long Should You Let The Plumber’s Putty Set
Contrary to popular belief that a plumber’s putty takes time to set, it doesn’t actually dry as much as you might think. Many people wonder how long they will have to wait for the putty to seal and dry. If you want it to dry, you’ll have to wait a long time. It doesn’t really set like glue or caulk.
So once your seal is complete, the faucet should be ready to use, provided you’ve done everything else.
Is It Better To Use Silicone Caulk Or Plumber’s Putty
Silicone caulk and plumber’s putty are variations of sealing compounds commonly used to provide watertight seals for sink drains, showers, faucets and fittings. They are both well suited for sealing a variety of plumbing projects.
A plumber’s putty is easier to work with because it stays malleable. If it’s not in the right place, all you need to do is pull it off and reapply. It lasts a long time and is easy to remove when you remove what it has sealed.
However, it is not an adhesive and will not fix cracks or hold parts together. Also, you will have a tough time getting it to hold on to a surface that is not good for you. It’s also not the best choice if you need to seal a large area.
On the other hand, silicone caulk is great for larger areas. It can be used as an adhesive and is often used to fill breaks or cracks. It hardens significantly during the drying process and does not crack or break easily.
Silicone caulk can be difficult to remove. You’ll need some sort of scraping tool to remove all the little bits, which you’ll need to do if you want a good seal on the replacement fixture. Once it’s applied, it’s not easy to work with, so you need to get it right the first time.
What Can I Use Instead Of Plumber’s Putty?
If you don’t have a plumber’s putty, you have some other options. So, before you go to the store, look in your cabinets for these alternative materials
- Silica gel. We mentioned this in our answer to the previous question. If you don’t have a plumber’s putty, then try this.
- Adhesives: You can buy various types of adhesives that will form a watertight seal. They are perfect for use on plastic, rather than plumber’s putty, which does not stick well. However, it takes a while to dry, so keep that in mind.
- Fish Tank Putty: While it may not seem like a suitable choice, fish tank putty is great for plumbing. It still creates a water-tight seal and can handle water pressure up to 1000 PSI. It does take about 25 minutes to an hour to cure.
- Plumber’s Chalk. This is one of the best alternatives to plumber’s putty. Plumber’s Chalk is weather and water-resistant and easy to use in a variety of situations. In addition, it is easy to apply and is mold resistant.
Can I Use Too Much Plumber’s Putty?
Yes, technically you can use too much plumber’s putty. However, it’s clear that you’ve gone a little overboard. But, don’t worry. If you’ve used too much, you can strip it down and start over, or scrape off some of the excesses with a putty knife.
Is Plumber’s Putty Safe For Drinking Water?
The answer to this question depends on the particular putty in question. If you want to know if your plumber’s putty is safe for drinking water, check the label. If it has a clear NSF certification, then it is safe for drinking water. If it does not, and you need to use it in areas that come in contact with drinking water, you probably should not use it.