What tape should plumbers use?

What tape should plumbers use?

At cableties-online, we carry a wide range of tape that includes everything from PVC insulation tape and self amalgamating tape to parcel tape and masking tape. Here, we look at the most common tape used by plumbers.

PTFE tape

Named after the substance it is made from, polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE tape is commonly referred to as plumber’s tape. It is also sometimes referred to as Teflon tape but this is a brand of the PTFE material and is used like the term Hoover for a vacuum cleaner.  Other names for PTFE tape include thread sealant, thread seal tape, and thread sealing tape.

Features of PTFE tape

  • PTFE tape is a professional grade adhesive tape often used in plumbing applications like ductwork and piping.
  • PTFE tape usually comes in a plastic casing which helps to preserve the adhesive.
  • PTFE is water repellant (hydrophobic) and has very low friction.
  • There are different types of PTFE tape available which are colour coded according to their uses.

Uses for PTFE tape

PTFE tape is mainly used to fix leaking pipe joints. It creates a watertight seal between plumbing joints, lubricating the connection which makes threading easier. It helps to create a better seal on threaded joints which can then be secured more tightly.

How to use PTFE tape

The tape should be applied by hand, following the direction of the thread – when it is applied in the opposite direction, the threads will work against the tape and it will start to come off as you screw the nut on. PTFE tape can be used on metal, plastic, or rubber pipes.

Types of PTFE tape

PTFE tape is commonly colour-coded as follows:

White PTFE tape – this is the basic PTFE tape suitable for basic plumbing jobs. It is resistant to chemicals and extremes of temperature and can form a tight seal in pipe connections.

Pink PTFE tape – a heavy duty variant of PTFE tape, the pink tape is used by plumbers and pipe fitters on water lines.

Yellow PTFE tape – yellow PTFE tape meets all required regulations for use on all types of gas lines including butane, propane, and natural gas. It is vital to use the right tape when working with gas and yellow is the correct, safe choice.

Green PTFE tape – this grease-free variant is designed for use in oxygen applications as it does not allow fires to start.

Grey PTFE tape – grey PTFE tape is twice the thickness of standard white PTFE tape and has a high density rating. It is commonly used on stainless steel threads to prevent seizing and galling.  

Other tapes used by plumbers

While PTFE tape is the most  frequently used tape by plumbers, they do also use silicone tape (for creating a temporary seal on a fracture leak), PVC insulation tape (to ensure leak-free joints), and aluminium foil tape (to seal and patch air duct seams).

Plumbing supplies from cableties-online

We carry a large range of accessories that should be in every plumber’s toolkit and an extensive selection of tapes, including gas PTFE tape. For any questions about plumber’s tape, our sales team is available to help and advise via email at sales@cableties-online.co.uk or over the phone on 01623 412160.