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Thread: Plumbers putty on fiberglass tub?

  1. #1
    DIY Member jwray's Avatar
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    Oct 2004

    Default Plumbers putty on fiberglass tub?

    I found an old post on here that said not to use plumbers putty on a plastic tub as the oils would eat the finish and leave cracks. Use silicone instead.

    I installed a tub drain using plumbers putty to seal the strainer about a month ago. The tub is fiberglass w/ (I think) acrylic gel coat finish. Am I going to have a problem down the road?

    If so how can I clean it off and replace w/ silicone? Also, is this just regular silicon caulk or is there a special silicone putty to use in this case?



  2. #2
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area


    Depending on the quality of the finish of the tub usually has a bearing on what plumber's putty does to the finish. Most times it will yellow the surrounding area of the tub.

    The silicone goes on the same exact method the plumber's putty went on, just don't mess with the excess until an hour later so you don't get that all over the tub.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  3. #3


    Use G.E. 100% silicone for tub and bath.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member construct30's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    NorthWest PA


    I only use 100% silicone. Some plumber's putty does say it is safe for use on fiberglass, but I find it can dissolve in the water and start to leak. I threw away all my plumber's putty and use the silicone on everything including the kitchen sink. Don't just use any kitchen and bath caulk, only the 100% silicone.


  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    cold new york


    What is the best way to get it (silicone) off a stainless sink if it was smeared on at installation of the faucet? It is dry now.

    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

  6. #6
    Plumbing Contractor srdenny's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    SF Peninsula


    Next time use this:
    Sta PutŪ Ultra™
    A unique, professional grade non staining plumber’s putty that is safe for most types of plumbing fixtures and surfaces. Unlike all other plumber’s putty Sta Put Ultra is oil-free and can be used without pre-treatment. This includes natural, porous surfaces such as stone, marble, granite, plastics, rubber, and fiberglass, as well as grout and on manufactured sinks, shower bases, countertops, and other surfaces. Molds easily, remains permanently soft, malleable, and flexible. Sta Put Ultra does not melt, rot, crumble, dry out, or shrink. Easy to clean-up. Does not leave a greasy residue on hands or surfaces. Meets or exceeds Federal Specification A-A-3110 (formerly TT-P-1536A).
    U.S. and foreign patents pending.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Terry; 10-16-2008 at 09:49 AM.

  7. #7


    Plumbers putty is fine! You will not have any problems down the road. I have installed litteraly hundreds of fiberglass tubs and have never had a problem with using putty. Maybe 50 years from now the putty will be dried up but until
    the actual seal is disturbed deliberately you will not have a leak. By the way, when and if that ever happens all you have to do is loosen the finish drain with a spud wrench and give it a fresh ring of plumbers putty and tighten it back up. VIOLA.
    Why is the B in plumbing silent?

  8. #8
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY


    Molo -

    Sucks to be you: a razor blade, a very delicate touch, and a whole lot of patience...

  9. #9
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Licensed Grump


    The ONLY thing plumbers putty should NEVER be used on is granite/marble.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member bradak's Avatar
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    Oct 2008

    Default is this a marketing ploy or liability issue

    Seems to me there is a lot of mixed feelings on using plumber's putty with acrylic tubs. I called up the manufacturer of acri-tec to find out if I could use plumber's putty on the drain. They said it would be fine. Has anyone ever seen a yellow stained acrylic tub from plumber's putty? Can someone post a photo of it? How about a deteriorated mushy eaten drain hole from the putty? Maybe the plumber putty manufacturer just doesn't want a claim due to a lower quality plastic tub staining. The directions say plastic, not acrylic. There are many different types of plastics out there. Many of them hold oil and others hold acid or caustic. What's your motor oil come in? or your cooking oil? Well, I used it on the acrylic tub drain. I also used it between the overflow abs tub side flange and the tub wall. Silly rubber gasket between overflow shoe/elbow and rough tub fiberglass outside wall wouldn't seal.

  11. #11
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Nov 2005


    Personally it would be an extremely rare situation where I would use silicone...

  12. #12


    I use putty except on natural stone surfaces, however I use silicone on shower drains as they are prone to work loose over time...it's just the way I was taught frankly and it works as good as anything else...I don't really understand the need for silicone on basket strainers and such and want to choke the sh8t out of someone when I have to go behind them.
    Just because you aren't paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you...

  13. #13
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    S. Maine


    Silicone, 4" sheetrock screws, duct tape, JB Weld. Four of the most mis-used products in history.

    Silicone should never be used under the drain or for that matter on any part of the drain. Nor should it be used under the faucet unless you plan on ripping out the whole fixture next time you need to service it because sure as hell it ain't coming apart without damaging something. I can't count the number of kitchen faucets I've had to sawzall off the deck because someone siliconed the faucet down.

  14. #14
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Dec 2007


    I hate it when people glue down drains and faucets with silicone rtv...
    I'd go postal if I saw someone doing it!

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member alek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Kensington, MD

    Default Don't use silicone

    I have never had any leak from any plumbing joint whether solder, plumbers putty on a drain, etc. until my shower drain showed evidence of leaking. I installed 6 years ago following directions on the drain flange and utilized a small bead of silicone caulk....big mistake. I'm now ripping out my drywall ceiling below the drain to replace. I will use the plumbers putty to replace. Never a problem with the putty on all of my sinks in other locations.
    Silicone did not work for me.

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