What is Plumbers putty? The Best Answer

 Plumbers putty is a type of flexible sealant that is often used in plumbing. It comes in the form of a doughy, brownish-yellow material that sticks to surfaces and can be molded into any shape. It is usually applied by pressing it over an opening between two surfaces. This creates an airtight seal that prevents fluids from leaking out. Plumbers putty is a type of material that is often used to make sure that sinks don’t leak and install the sink strainer. You can compare it to clay. It is rolled by hand and then a circle is created with it. This is then used to seal the inlet of the sink. A rubber ring can be used as well but plumbers putty is very easy to use.  Furthermore, plumbers putty keeps dirt away. A rubber ring might not be able to do this and break sooner.


It is petroleum-based and often comes in a pot. You can get some out using a knife or your hands. It is possible to get strips as well. These are easier to install because you don’t have to deal with a full pot. 

When should you use Plumber’s putty?

Plumbers putty works by creating an airtight seal. It is used in plumbing because it is flexible and can be molded into any shape, unlike other materials like epoxy. Plumbers putty sticks to surfaces and has a high elasticity, which means it will stretch to fill gaps as they are created. This flexibility prevents fluids from leaking out.

There are many reasons to use plumber’s putty, but one that stands out is when there is a need for an airtight seal. Use it on pipes, joints, valves, and other plumbing fixtures to create a watertight seal.

One of the most obvious advantages of plumbers putty is its versatility. You can use it for a number of different things, like creating an airtight seal to prevent fluids from leaking out. It also has a long shelf life, which means you can save it for later and it will still be effective. Another advantage is that it is easy to apply. You don’t have to be an expert to use plumbers putty; just take a handful and press it over the opening between two surfaces and you’re done! One more thing – plumbers putty is very inexpensive!

It is fun and easy to work with this material. It is quite similar to working with clay and can bring back childhood memories. It is also quite hard to mess it up. Just use enough of it and you should be good to go. Apply a lot of pressure on the sink strainer so that you can remove excess putty. You can also test the installation afterward to see if it doesn’t leak. Sinks can often last for several decades without a leak if the putty has been properly installed. In some humid climates, the putty might have to be replaced sooner. 

There are also several qualities of putty. Some tend to crack over time as the ingredients were not well created. 

Disadvantages of plumbers putty: Plumber putty alternatives

Plumbers’ putty is often used to seal the inlet of a sink. This makes sure that water goes in the drain instead of next to the sink. Some people don’t enjoy using plumbers’ putty so let’s take a look at some alternatives.  

1/ Silicone

Plumbers putty is not a perfect solution for all plumbing needs. The main problem with plumbers putty is that it is flexible and can move when you touch it. For this reason, silicone is commonly used in showers to waterproof them. Silicone is more stable and can make sure that objects don’t move. Some argue that this is better than plumber’s putty for your sink as well.

Silicone can be used to seal the kitchen drain basket. This material keeps water away and can be used to make sure that all the water goes inside the drain instead of around it.

Some people argue that silicone is a better option than plumbers putty as it won’t crack when you accidentally bump against the drain. 

 Silicone lasts quite a long time but some argue that plumbers’ putty lasts longer. Both materials are cheap so are great options.

Be sure to clean the sink completely when you want to apply plumbers putty or silicone. 

2/ Thread sealant

Some people argue that you can add sealant as well. We are not a big fan of this as it can make it harder to remove the inlet if there is a  problem. You won’t be able to unscrew the tread and this can make it harder to fix leaks or problems. 

3/ Pipe dope

Some tread sealants might also be used for this application. Carefully read the instructions as it is important that you use something that lasts a long time and is waterproof. Having a leak under the sink can cause a lot of damage so it is something that should be avoided. 

There is also another putty that can be used such as pool putty but it is best to stick with the proven method. Plumbers’ putty works quite well and is cheap. For this reason, a lot of plumbers enjoy using it. There are some alternatives out there but they don’t have the same track record as plumbers’ putty and might have some disadvantages such as making it harder to remove afterward.

Plumbers’ putty also shouldn’t be used near marble surfaces as the oil in it can stain this. This means that you have to be careful if a bathroom or kitchen has marble areas. Some might also not be applicable on plastic and granite. Carefully read the instructions when you get putty to see where you can use it. Some brands use more petroleum in it and this can make them less applicable on some materials. 

Does plumbers putty harden?

 This depends on the brand. Some brands can harden over time. In some instances, it is possible to heat it up or use water to get it flexible again.  Others use a composition that makes sure that the putty lasts a long time. After 10 years or so this putty might harden out anyway and you might have to replace this. This is quite easy to do as you just remove the trap and the inlet and apply new putty. This is done by cleaning the surface and applying a lot of putty.  Once this is done you set the faucet or drain in place. The last step is to remove the excess putty. 

The plumbers putty will generally not harden like other types of caulking because it is designed to remain flexible but time and weather can deteriorate it. Also you should store it in a cold and dark place and close the lid. The expiration date of this product is generally 2 years after it has been manufactured. Once it has been applied, it gets wet when you use the sink so it lasts longer.

The most popular brands are Oatey and AquaPlumb.These have a lot of reviews and have been installed in countless sinks. Their quality is impeccable as they have shown that it works in a lot of situations. Don’t go for unknown brands as you won’t save a lot of money and don’t know how well they perform over time. 

To conclude, we can state that plumber putty is a great tool to install an inlet in a sink. You just use your hands to roll it. Make sure that it is thick enough. Once this is done, you make a circle with it. Make sure that you use a lot of putty. Once this is done, you simply press the inlet into this. Then you can install the trap of the sink. Remove the excessive putty. The goal is to make sure that the sink doesn’t leak water. You can test this after installation and make adjustments if needed.