You’d think knowing how to use plumber’s tape (also called Teflon tape) is easy. But so many people do it incorrectly, we thought we’d review the right way to use it.
And yes, it is easy! But like riding a bike, if you’ve never taught how to do it, you’re going to crash a few times before you get moving.
Video: How to Use Plumber’s Tape
For all you visual learners out there, here’s our video on how to use plumber’s tape correctly.
Instructions: How to Use Plumber’s Tape
Teflon or plumber’s tape is used to create a watertight seal on threaded metal joints. For example, like in the video above, we apply it to a shower head that needs to join with the threaded end of the chrome-plated metal shower pipe.
You can also use it to create other seals. For example, on rigid/hard plastic pipe joints that are threaded. In addition, wherever you use plumber’s tape, a great alternative is to use pipe dope. Either is a great way to make sure the joint is watertight.
- First, make sure you remove any dirt, buildup or debris from the two objects that you want to join together.
- Now take the object (let’s say it’s a shower head) you want to attach, and then screw it onto the threaded pipe you want it joined with. Make note of which direction you are screwing on the object. That is the same direction you’ll want to wrap your plumber’s tape. It should be going in the direction of the threads, not against the threads. This is critically important that you wrap it in the right direction.
- Now unscrew the object from the threaded pipe and you’re ready to begin wrapping.
- Begin wrapping the tape around the threads of the pipe — in the same direction that the shower head will screw onto it. Start at the second thread from the end.
- Pull the tape tightly as you wrap around the threads. You want to wrap around the threads about 5 times (give or take a wrap) until all but the first thread are thoroughly wrapped with Teflon tape.
- Cut or break off the plumber’s tape.
- Now take the loose end and make sure you tighten it around the wrapping and squeeze it tight.
You’re done — except for that last bit where you actually screw the shower head (or another object) onto the threaded pipe. You now have a “joint” that has a seal and is watertight.
Conclusion: How to Use Plumber’s Tape
Knowing how to use plumber’s tape isn’t hard to learn. But you do have to learn it.
The biggest takeaway is that you need to wrap the tape in the same direction as the threads (the direction that you will screw the object onto a threaded pipe).
Otherwise, when trying to screw that shower head (or other item) in place, you’ll just bust up the tape and create damaging water leak problems down the road.