What’s Plumber’s Tape?


According to the pros of Calgary Plumbers & Drains, plumber’s tape is one of the most important tools in a plumber’s toolbox. The pros use this tape, also called PTFE, Teflon or thread seal tape, to seal pipe threads. It creates a secure and watertight seal around threaded fittings, preventing leaks. The most common use for the tape is in kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor taps. You will also find it around the fittings of your tankless water heater and other pipes.

When should I use plumber’s tape?

If you own a home, having a roll of plumber’s tape on hand is a wise decision. In fact, this inexpensive material can come in handy in preventing water damage, such as from a small leak or drip. The most common areas for problems like these are where fittings connect onto water pipes.

Even the best plumbing companies rely on this tape on a daily basis. They use it for threaded joints to improve water-tightness. They also use the tape around the dishwasher, washing machine and new tap fittings. If your showerhead leaks or drips, you can fix that problem using your own roll of PTFE tape.

How does this tape work so well?

It is almost hard to believe that a roll of tape can stop water from dripping from a pipe. But PTFE tape creates a watertight seal around the threads of pipe and ductwork joints. Besides preventing leaks in this way, the tape also adds lubrication to joint threads. Properly applied, the tape enables pipe joint threads to mate tightly. It also keeps the threads from seizing when you need to take them apart.

Where to Use PTFE Tape

Where to Use PTFE Tape

Knowing where to use PTFE tape is key to getting the most out of it. This tape is a thread sealant. It minimizes leaking around pipe and fitting joints.

Common uses for this tape by plumbing companies and other industries include:

  • Sealing plumbing leaks by wrapping the male component with the tape before joining
  • Fixing damaged, degraded or incorrectly fitted joints
  • Sealing gas pipes using gas-rated PTFE
  • Sealing and lubricating automotive fuel line joints

How to Apply Plumber’s Tape

It is important to properly affix plumber’s tape in order to ensure it works as it should. You should also use the proper type of PTFE tape, such as the gas-rated type for gas pipes.

Steps for applying plumber’s tape include:

  • Cleaning the threads of the duct joint or existing pipe
  • Allowing the cleaned joint threads to completely dry
  • Wrapping the threads with PTFE tape, starting one thread down from the open end and in the same direction as the threads
  • Overlapping layers of tape by half the tape width to ensure complete coverage from leaks
  • Ensuring you keep the tape pulled tightly enough when wrapping to enable threads to form defined ridges
  • Wrapping until you wrap once past the end of the last thread

Having a roll of plumber’s tape, or multiple rolls of different sizes, in your home toolkit can certainly provide leak protection while you await the arrival of your plumber. Most people who have this tape on hand use it multiple times and consider it an essential part of their home maintenance kit. Of course, like an adhesive product, this tape has a shelf life. Periodically check your tape to ensure it is still functional and add more to your stock to ensure you have it on hand when you need it.

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