What Is a Plumber’s Tape?

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Plumber’s tape, or PTFE tape, is a handy tool used by plumbers around the country. Also known as thread seal tape, plumber’s tape ensures that pipe joints are strong and waterproof. With that in mind, the team at Pride Services is here to answer the question: “What is plumber’s tape?”

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What Is Plumber’s Tape?

Plumber’s tape is a kind of tape that consists of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE tape is commonly used by plumbers, contractors, and roofers because it can create an extremely strong and waterproof adhesive seal. Plumbers specifically use plumber’s tape on pipe connectors without rubber seals to stop leaking.

Plumber’s Tape Properties

Plumber’s tape is different from other kinds of heavy-duty adhesives, like duct tape. Teflon tape is not as sticky as other types of tape and usually only has one adhesive side. Plumber’s tape is waterproof, chemically inert, and resistant to heat, pressure, and electricity. 

Plumber’s Tape Uses

Plumber’s tape is one of the most versatile tools contractors use and serves a variety of purposes in different industries. Some common uses are on:

  • Shower heads
  • Shower arms
  • Pipe valves
  • Garden hoses
  • Irrigation systems
  • Toilet valves
  • Tub spouts
  • Radiators
  • Faucets
  • Water heater connections

Plumber’s Tape Color Coordination

So, what is plumber’s tape, and why are there different colors? Plumbers, electricians, and contractors often use colored plumber’s tape to mark and identify different components. For example, a plumber might use red tape to signify which pipe is a water main. Common color designations for Teflon tape include:

  • Yellow. Yellow tape typically indicates butane, natural gas, and propane lines. 
  • Pink. Plumbers use pink tape to identify water lines and water mains.
  • Red. Red tape is mostly for pipes with larger diameters.
  • Gray. Gray tape is for stainless steel pipes and prevents the pipe from seizing due to high or low temperatures.
  • Green. Green tape signifies oxygen supply and lines. 
  • White. White tape is the standard color for securing pipe joints. 

How to Use Plumber’s Tape

The key with plumber’s tape is to apply it in the opposite direction the pipe screws into the mount. For example, if the pipe screws clockwise, you should wrap the tape counterclockwise. Plumber’s tape is relatively soft, so you shouldn’t need scissors to cut strips for application. You can also use some pipe joint compound to make the seal tighter. 

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use plumber’s tape effectively.

  • Clean debris from the pipes and dry them with a towel to remove all moisture. 
  • If necessary, apply a small amount of pipe joint compound on the edges of the two connectors. 
  • Attach the tape to the end of the pipe near the second-to-last thread. 
  • Begin wrapping the tape around the pipe in the opposite direction of the pipe threads. 
  • The tape should complete two to four complete rotations around the pipe. Don’t wrap the tape too tightly, or else you won’t be able to tighten the water pipe connectors. 
  • Tear off the excess tape at the end and smooth out the edges.

Plumber’s Tape FAQ

Below are some of the most common questions we receive about plumber’s tape and its uses. 

Is Plumber’s Tape Waterproof?

Yes, plumber’s tape is waterproof and creates an impermeable seal in pipe joints. Plumber’s tape can also create air-tight seals to prevent air and gas leakages. 

Does Teflon Tape Use Real Teflon?

Many people refer to plumber’s tape as ‘Teflon tape’ due to the similarities between Teflon and plumber’s tape. However, ‘Teflon’ tape is not a product of DuPont and doesn’t use the proprietary Teflon material. Instead, Teflon tapes use a knockoff version of Teflon powder.

Do I Need to Use Pipe Dope with Plumber’s Tape?

You do not need to use the two together, but it can help. Apply the pipe dope to the connector joints before wrapping the plumber’s tape. The combination of pipe dope and plumber’s tape can create a durable, watertight seal.

Is Plumber’s Tape Safe to Use on Drinking Water Pipes?

Yes, plumber’s tape is 100% safe to use on pipes that contain potable water. The tape will not contaminate drinking water from your faucets. 

Contact Us Today!

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is plumber’s tape?” it’s time to take the next step. Our team at Pride Services provides superior craftsmanship and customer service, which is why we are the Rockville area’s go-to provider for all things plumbing-related. Read our blog to learn about plumbing ideas to conserve water. Fill out a contact form or call us today at 516-528-3432 to schedule an appointment!

Published: Dec 10, 2022

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