Differences between plumber's putty and silicone putty. When to use? (2023)

When looking for a watertight sealant material, caulk is one of the most popular products on the market. But in certain situations there are other products that might work even better. When it comes to plumbing, plumbing putty is one of the most common alternatives to putty.

Differences between plumber's putty and silicone putty. When to use? (1)

What is plumbing putty?

Plumber's putty, as the name suggests, is a sealing compound that is used to waterproof areas that are exposed to moisture. The putty itself is soft and pliable, allowing you to press it against the surface and create a seal.

You can think of plumber's putty as clay in your application. You can shape it like the boy's.modeling clay🇧🇷 It is often shipped in tubes or bottles which allow for easy application and storage.

Differences between plumber's putty and silicone putty. When to use? (2)

Plumbing putty has been around for a while. However, since its use as a sealant is quite limited, it is not used as widely as compared to caulking. This is mainly due to the fact that caulking is widely used in construction work, where it provides a seal or connection between materials of different types.

Plumber's putty is more specialized, so it's not used as often in construction. However, it is commonly used for plumbing work, hence the name.

(Video) How To Use Plumber's Putty

Use of plumbing putty

Most commonly, plumbing putty is used to provide a watertight seal for drains, faucets, and other plumbing parts and supplies.

Differences between plumber's putty and silicone putty. When to use? (3)
Essentially, the gasket is used around pipe joints and surfaces where a watertight seal is desired. Because of the consistency of the paste, it can be used in most situations involving faucets, drains, and the like. Putty is best used in situations where the seal is not easily accessible. These cases include a removable drain fitting.

The caulk forms a watertight seal, but is still soft and flexible enough to be removed fairly easily.

Its versatility is one of the main reasons for its popularity, but what are the differences between putty and plumbing putty?

Difference between plumber's putty and putty

Although they are quite similar in many ways, including using similar materials and purposes, there are some notable differences between plumbing putty and caulk. Understanding the differences will help you choose the best one for a specific project.

1. Materials

The main difference between plumber's putty and putty is the material itself. The putty is applied in a soft gel state, but dries quickly. While plumber's putty is applied in a soft, pliable state and stays that way for many years.

In other words, plumbing putty is a soft gasket material while putty is a hard gasket material. Both materials have a similar function but in different ways.

2. Durability

Because plumbing putty remains soft and malleable, it lasts much longer than putty in most situations. It is this continuous softness that helps the seal stay in place. As sealant hardens and becomes more brittle over time.


You can expect plumber's putty to last 15-20 years, maybe longer. Silicone gaskets, on the other hand, can last 7-10 years, although modern, high-quality gaskets can last much longer.

3. Ease of use

Both plumbing putty and putty are relatively easy to use.

For plumbing putty, apply it with your hands just as you would put clay. You shape the dough around the area that needs to be sealed. Pinch the fastening seam and trim excess material around the seam.

Sealing is usually applied with a caulking gun. Pull the trigger and the putty is applied to the spot in a soft state that hardens quickly. You must straighten the sealant straight away or it will look messy.

4. Adhesive property

Caulk adheres well to most building materials except wood and can therefore act as an adhesive.

On the other hand, plumber's putty has almost poor adhesion properties and must be applied between two rigid surfaces. It can be difficult to install in areas where it could collapse due to gravity, and you certainly can't use it to cover areas with high-pressure water supplies.

5. Drying time

Approximate prep time (how long you can mold or handle the sealant) for caulking is 2-8 minutes. After that it starts to solidify. However, the putty needs up to 24 hours to harden.

You must wait at least 12 hours before exposing silicone sealant to water. There are special sealants suchSilicone GE®Sealant that allows you to use your sink after 30 minutes.

(Video) “silicone” INSTEAD of “plumbers putty” on kitchen drain basket

Plumbing putty requires almost no drying time. You can use the kitchen sink once the plumbing is done. This is one of the main reasons plumbers and DIYers use plumbing putty in their jobs.

6. Storage

Closed seals can last up to 2 years in the pipe. But once you open the tube, the seal tends to solidify inside the tube. To avoid this, it is necessary to cover the mouth tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

If you get too much silicone sealant out of the tube, you must discard the excess as it cannot be reused.

Plumbing putty is supplied in containers. Unused sealant can be returned to the container and used for your next application. However, avoid reusing/mixing contaminated putty as this will affect the quality of the seal.

7. Cost

Both plumbing putty and putty are relatively inexpensive, only costing a few dollars for a large supply. Plumbing putty can be cheaper in the sense that you don't need any special equipment to apply the substance to the area in question.

Putty needs aCartridge gun for applicationthe product. And while mechanical cartridge guns are also relatively inexpensive, the combination of cartridges andcartridge gunmakes it more expensive compared to plumber's putty.

Application: When do you use plumbing compound or putty?

While plumbing putty has its advantages, both products tend to have different uses. In other words, the overlap between plumber's putty and caulk is fairly minimal. What follows are the basic uses for both products.

  • plumber's putty: Mostly use plumbing putty to caulk faucets, drains and other features in the sink. You will see it installed at the bottom of sink drains and pop up drain applications for tubs and sinks. Sealant is applied to the underside of such fittings and then positioned to create a watertight seal. This is one of the advantages of plumber's putty as you can press it down and still easily lift it off if needed. Unlike caulk which can be difficult to access once sealed if hidden under sink or bathtub faucets.
  • Tuning: You will find sealants applied primarily to areas with no drainage or plumbing, such as: B. Window and door frames, tiles, baseboards and other areas of the home, building or structure. The putty comes in silicone and acrylic types, making it very versatile.Acrylic latex waterproofingIt is often used to seal areas that are not exposed to excessive moisture or ultraviolet light. It is most often used in interior design when the material is painted.
    Silicone sealant is best used in areas where moisture is present such as: B. in the bathroom or in the kitchen. It cannot be painted over like acrylic latex, but it can provide a waterproof seal that will last for years.

when not to use

Do not use plumber's putty or putty on the threads. It will be very difficult to unthread if you want to fix it later.
Instead, use teflon tape on the threads to create a watertight connection.

(Video) How to Use Plumber's Putty: As Easy as Playdough!

Don't use common porous plumbing stones like granite, marble, quartz, etc. The compound will stain your stone countertop unless you can find a non-staining putty.

Also, silicone caulk and plumbing putty are not ABS and PVC plastic accessories. Use polyurethane putty for plastic pipe fittings.

Conclusion: which ones should you use?

While plumbing putty has its benefits, its use is fairly limited to areas around drains, faucets, sinks, and bathtubs. That's because plumber's putty remains soft and flexible, which contributes to longevity and durability, but it's not suited to the many jobs that grout can do.

Simply put, if you need access to your faucet, drain, and drain fittings, plumbing putty is the go-to choice as it can be easily removed. Otherwise, if you're looking for a fence that doesn't require access, caulking may be your best option.


  • What is plumbing putty?
  • Use of plumbing putty
  • Difference between plumber's putty and putty
    • 1. Materials
    • 2. Durability
    • 3. Ease of use
    • 4. Adhesive property
    • 5. Drying time
    • 6. Storage
    • 7. Cost
  • Application: When do you use plumbing compound or putty?
    • when not to use
    • Conclusion: which ones should you use?


  • Can you write poetry about poetry? Will it stick?
  • Can putty be used to fill nail holes?
  • Flex Shot vs. Silicone Gasket. Which one is better?
  • Sealing 101: What is sealing for and how?
(Video) Silicone or plumbers putty? 🤫 #shorts #contractor #handyman

Haus "do it yourself


When should you not use plumbers putty? ›

Plumber's putty should not be used on plastics (PVC or ABS) because it will affect the integrity of the material and lead to product failure.

Can I use silicone on plumbers putty? ›

Whether you can use silicone instead of plumbers' putty is dependent on a few factors, the main one being how permanent do you need the fix to be. For example, if you've repaired a leaky toilet numerous times with plumbers putty, and it still leaks after a time, it might be worth using some silicone caulk.

Can you use silicone to seal a sink drain? ›

Sealing around kitchen sinks or sealing a sink drain with silicone will keep your sink in good condition and prevent future problems. Using a high quality, waterproof sealant prevents water and debris from entering the gaps.

What kind of silicone do you use for a sink drain? ›

RELN Drainage Sealant is 100% silicone and designed to be used with Channel Drains, Catch Basins and Sewer and Drainpipe to prevent leaks by creating watertight connections at each drainage assembly point.

Should I use silicone or plumbers putty for shower drain? ›

Both plumber's putty and silicone are sealing compounds designed to provide a water tight fit for pop up drains, sink strainers, undersides of fittings, showers and drains. Plumber's putty is more traditional while silicone caulking is a more modern product, but either one (in most cases) can get the job done.

Can I use plumbers putty to stop a leak? ›

The best place is with one of the most common tools professional plumbers use. Plumber's putty can help fix the leaks that spring from plumbing fixtures around the home.

Is silicone the same as plumbers putty? ›

The key difference between the two is the material compound. Plumber's putty is soft sealing material and that means it won't harden over time, making it easy to disassemble or remove after several years. Silicone on the other hand, dries up and hardens over time, making it difficult to remove or work with again.

Is silicone putty waterproof? ›

The Benefits of Silicone Putty

The waterproof material is resilient against leakage and maintains a strong hold in a variety of temperature conditions.

Can I use plumbers putty to seal a shower drain? ›

Plumber's putty is product that's used to seal drain bodies to tub surfaces. The putty typically comes in small containers or tubs and is sold at home improvement stores. The durable putty will not stain, crack, crumble or shrink.

Will silicone stop a leaking pipe? ›

Silicone is one of the most frequently used sealants to achieve a waterproof, protective joint seal. The flexible, rubbery plastic has high heat resistance and low toxicity, making an ideal sealant choice for plumbing pipes, aquariums, ships, and other metal fabrication projects that require a watertight seal.

What is the best caulking to use around a sink? ›

The best caulk for a kitchen sink

Silicone sealant is the best type of caulk for kitchen use. Silicone is waterproof and non-toxic. It is flexible, durable and rarely cracks. It is capable of adhering to a wide variety of substrates, including metal, glass, porcelain and ceramic.

What is the best sealant for a bathroom sink? ›

Caulk that utilizes silicone or latex is best for bathroom use. Silicone formulas (like GE Advanced Silicone caulk, available on Amazon) provide a stronger seal against moisture, but latex tends to be easier to work with.

Do all sink drains need plumbers putty? ›

Increasingly, I'm finding that plumber's putty is not recommended for sink drains, especially if it has its own rubber gasket. In places where the manufacturer does not supply a gasket (and the flange is not metal) they suggest silicone caulk. Be sure to read the directions for your drain assembly!

Can I use plumbers putty on plastic sink drain? ›

-DO NOT use plumber's putty on plastic or metal threaded pipes to seal between joints. This is a job for Teflon tape. -DO NOT use plumber's putty to seal the area between the sink vanity and the wall. This is a job for caulk.

Is plumbers putty a permanent fix? ›

Both plumbers putty and epoxy pipe lining use epoxy for sealing water leaks. However, plumbers putty goes on the outside of plumbing pipes in order to temporarily stop a leak, while epoxy pipe lining is used to permanently stop leaks and restore the integrity of the plumbing pipe.

How long does plumbers putty take to harden? ›

Normally, it would take about a few hours or so to completely dry. However, if you find that the area you applied it to needs more putty after the first layer has dried, you may need to apply another layer over the first one, resulting in more hours of waiting time.

Can you use plumbers putty to plug a hole? ›

Plumber's Putty – The Purpose and Practical Usage Options:

It can be used as a water-tight seal on drains, tubs, kitchen sinks, and other sink fixtures. I also like to use it underneath the lip of a kitchen sink if I'm installing it into a hole and laminate countertop.

What is silicone putty used for? ›

This silicone putty is a strong, flexible, food-grade mold-making material for plaster, concrete, wax, soap, low-melt metals, baking, chocolate, ice cubes, air-dry clay and resins. It's ideal for use with Castin' Craft Clear Polyester Casting Resin and EasyCast Clear Casting Epoxy.

Should plumbers putty dry before use? ›

You can start using the sink drain or faucet immediately after installing plumbers putty. There is no drying time because it doesn't dry. It just seals the gaps and the sink, drain, or faucet which can be used immediately after application of the plumbers putty.

Where should you not use silicone caulk? ›

Silicone caulk does not accept paint; your paint will simply bead and fail to adhere to the surface. So if you are considering applying silicone caulk anywhere that is painted—which is most commonly the wooden surfaces in your home—you will be unable to touch up any of the paint in that area later.

What happens if you apply silicone to wet surface? ›

Sealing joints on a damp surface should be strongly avoided, since silicone sealants generally do not adhere as well to moist substrates. If you want durable joints, never apply sealant in rain, freezing rain, snow or heavy fog.

How long does it take for silicone putty to dry? ›

Silicone sealant generally cures within 24 hours. If it has been over 24 hours, check the silicone sealant “Use By” date on the package.

How long until silicone is waterproof? ›

Generally speaking, most silicone sealants take about 24 hours to cure completely. After this point they can be safely exposed to water, moisture, and other conditions of normal use.

Can water get through silicone? ›

Silicone sealants are in fact waterproof. They are often used for underwater projects, semi-submerged aquatic settings and other projects with water and weather exposure.

Should I put silicone around sink faucet? ›

Mount the Faucet With Silicone

Most new faucets include a gasket of some type to create a seal between the faucet and the sink, but it's still a good idea to apply a bead of clear silicone caulk to the bottom of the faucet and the bottom of the gasket to ensure a good seal.

Should you silicone around bathroom sink? ›

Bathroom sinks: If it's an undermount sink, yes, it must be caulked. This prevents any water from penetrating into the countertop material and cabinetry below. Otherwise, you could get mould. (Always make sure to use waterproof, mildew-resistant silicon caulking in kitchens and bathrooms.)

Why does my tub caulk keeps cracking? ›

This can be due to a number of reasons such as the age of the caulking, poor surface preparation, or even an imbalance in the bathroom surfaces. In order to fix this problem, you may need to use a different type of caulk or even just apply a wider bead of caulk.

Are there different types of plumbers putty? ›

Oatey®, Hercules® and Harvey™ Plumbers Putty helps provide a waterproof seal between two rigid surfaces. Plumbers putty is a long-lasting, easy to use fixture setting compound for setting frames, faucets, bath wastes and basket strainers. Product remains flexible and resilient.

Should you caulk around your toilet? ›

Caulk keeps your toilet secure the floor, and avoids any chance of injury or toilet malfunctioning. It's actually required by the International Plumbing Code to caulk a toilet to the floor, and now knowing the reasoning behind it, why would you not want to?

What is the best silicone for kitchen sink? ›

For caulking kitchen counters, it's important to get a caulk that's designed to provide a tough, watertight, mold-resistant seal. Loctite 100% Silicone is a top choice. It holds up to extreme temperatures and contains Mildewcide, a property that prohibits the growth of mold.

What can I use to seal a leak under the sink? ›

If your sink is leaking from a drain gasket, these steps will help you fix it:
  1. Grab some plumber's putty. ...
  2. Unscrew the sink drain. ...
  3. Clean out old putty. ...
  4. Add a fresh layer. ...
  5. Screw the drain back together.
  6. Alternatively, if you can't get hold of plumber's putty try silicone caulk.
Mar 12, 2021

Can I use plumbers putty on stainless steel sink? ›

Plumber's Putty is an easy-to-mold setting compound designed for use with stainless-steel sealing applications such as frames, faucets and strainer baskets. Not for use on plastic, marble, granite, limestone or other dimensional stones.

What type of plumbers putty for garbage disposal? ›

Oatey 1-1/2 in. White Plastic Slip-Joint Garbage Disposal Install Kit with 9 oz. Stain-Free Plumber's Putty 31177-A - The Home Depot.

How soon can you run water after using plumbers putty? ›

You can start using the sink drain or faucet immediately after installing plumbers putty. There is no drying time because it doesn't dry. It just seals the gaps and the sink, drain, or faucet which can be used immediately after application of the plumbers putty.

Do all drains need plumbers putty? ›

Increasingly, I'm finding that plumber's putty is not recommended for sink drains, especially if it has its own rubber gasket. In places where the manufacturer does not supply a gasket (and the flange is not metal) they suggest silicone caulk. Be sure to read the directions for your drain assembly!

Should I use plumbers putty when installing a faucet? ›

Assemble and Place the New Faucet

Apply a bead of plumber's putty or silicone caulk around the bottom of the faucet or the faucet holes on top of the sink, if called for in your instructions. Place the faucet gasket over the tailpieces so that it is between the sink and the base of the faucet.

Does plumbers putty ever Harden? ›

Plumber's putty, used to create watertight seals around faucets, drains, and sink fixtures, does in fact harden. It's an easier solution than caulk that can be difficult remove if necessary. Plumber's putty is therefore convenient.

Is it OK to leave Liquid Plumber overnight? ›

Wait at least 15 minutes after pouring this product down the drain before flushing with water. If you have an especially difficult clog, you can safely let the product sit overnight.

What is the best way to seal pipe threads? ›

Two of the most commonly used methods for sealing metal pipe threads are anaerobic pipe thread sealant and PTFE thread sealant tape. To apply PTFE thread sealant tape sealant on a pipe, you wrap the male pipe in the direction of the thread tightly.

Do you silicone around a sink faucet? ›

Mount the Faucet With Silicone

Most new faucets include a gasket of some type to create a seal between the faucet and the sink, but it's still a good idea to apply a bead of clear silicone caulk to the bottom of the faucet and the bottom of the gasket to ensure a good seal.

Where do you put plumbers putty on a faucet? ›

Where to Use Plumber's Putty. Plumber's putty is commonly used to seal along the base of faucets and other sink fixtures before setting them onto the sink. It's also applied to the undersides of sink strainers and pop-up drainfittings for sinks and tubs.


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