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Thread: Shower arm - pipe dope question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member ultra60's Avatar
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    Default Shower arm - pipe dope question

    Hello,

    I am replacing a shower arm. Instructions only call for use of tape. I've heard so many say tape + pipe dope. Which pipe dope is recommended? I have some Rectorseal 5. Can this be used with the TEFLONŽ tape? If not, could use please recommend something that is readily available?

    Sorry, but I'm not sure what the technical name for pipe dope is.

    Thanks for your help.
    Chris
    Last edited by Terry; 09-03-2013 at 10:45 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    This is not a critical area, TEFLONŽ tape (7 or 8 times around in the direction of the thread) will be just fine.

    There are various thread sealants on the market, and together with teflon tape, make very good connections where you need them.
    Last edited by Terry; 09-03-2013 at 10:45 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member ultra60's Avatar
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    Thanks.. so thread sealant/pipe dope is not needed for the fitting inside the wall?

    Is pipe dope also known as TEFLONŽ pipe sealant?
    Last edited by Terry; 09-03-2013 at 10:45 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultra60 View Post
    Thanks.. so thread sealant/pipe dope is not needed for the fitting inside the wall?

    Is pipe dope also known as TEFLONŽ pipe sealant?
    Teflon pipe sealant is a brand of pipe dope.

    Tape or dope, which one is better? for most applications, they are about equal, but tape is less messy. Dope has been in use much longer than tape, from the days of the string sealant.

    For gas applications, you can't use white TEFLONŽ tape (you can use yellow teflon tape) and most old time plumbers prefer dope.

    For connections under stress and pressure, I like to use both.
    Last edited by Terry; 09-03-2013 at 10:46 AM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Unless a threaded connection has a gasket at the end (like on say a garden hose), the threads themselves will NOT create a waterproof seal. On EVERY tapered pipe thread, you need some sort of sealant. That can be pipe dope (and there are various types, some contain Teflon, some don't, it really doesn't matter!) or tape. Some use the belt and suspender method of using both, but either one, installed properly, will seal a pipe joint. Some of the pipe dopes will stay soft, some will harden (somewhat, but typically don't crumble or crack out). You only NEED one or the other, but you can use both.

    If one part is not metal (say a showerhead containing plastic fittings), you need to ensure you use a pipe dope that is compatible with plastic, or it may damage the material. Some are, some aren't - read the label! Tape isn't an issue, since it's not reactive. BUt, you can wipe the excess pipe dope off on the pipe, it's much more difficult to 'hide' the tape, should you want to.

    Just get a good coat all the way around on the male threads, then tighten it up when using pipe dope. An advantage of using tape is if you find it gets tight in the wrong orientation, you can redo it and add another wrap or two BUT, normally, you can continue around making things tighter to get it where you want it without damaging anything.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; TEFLONŽ on pipe sealant is a brand of pipe dope.

    The company that MAKES TEFLONŽ has emphatically stated that there is NO " TEFLONŽ" pipe tape, and should not be advertised as such. It is generic TPFE tape. I never use tape on metal threads, only pipe dope/joint compound.
    Last edited by Terry; 09-03-2013 at 10:47 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member ultra60's Avatar
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    If I decided to use both, would it be tape on the shower arm, dope on the fitting in the wall, then screw them together?

    Thanks

    Just saw HJ's post after I submitted this one. So it sounds like with the connection in the wall, I only need pipe dope perhaps.
    Last edited by ultra60; 09-02-2013 at 04:31 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Don't read into this or over think it...it is not that hard...EVERY threaded tapered pipe joint needs some sealant, whether it is pipe dope or tape (or both). It's far easier to put it on the male threads (and the only place you can put the tape) than on a female fitting.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    I use the tape and the the dope. Dry fit the connection first. Make sure the threads are clean.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    DIY Senior Member asktom's Avatar
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    Rectorseal on the male threads and twist it in. PTFE tape would also work. PTFE & Rectorseal would work. Hope this is all moot because the job is done.

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    DIY Junior Member ultra60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asktom View Post
    Rectorseal on the male threads and twist it in. PTFE tape would also work. PTFE & Rectorseal would work. Hope this is all moot because the job is done.
    Yes.. the job is done, and thanks for all the replies. I stopped by a plumbing supply house and got some thread sealant. I installed the arm hand tight, getting about 4 turns in. Not sure if I should have cranked it one more time around. Feels pretty solid as is.

  12. #12
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultra60 View Post
    Yes.. the job is done, and thanks for all the replies. I stopped by a plumbing supply house and got some thread sealant. I installed the arm hand tight, getting about 4 turns in. Not sure if I should have cranked it one more time around. Feels pretty solid as is.
    Can you remove the trim and shine a little light through the wall. If it's dripping you can most times see the drip flash in the light.

    I hope your shower arm is a chrome plated brass and not chrome plated plastic. The plastic ones suck and can easily break.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    DIY Junior Member ultra60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    Can you remove the trim and shine a little light through the wall. If it's dripping you can most times see the drip flash in the light.

    I hope your shower arm is a chrome plated brass and not chrome plated plastic. The plastic ones suck and can easily break.

    John - not sure if it chrome plated brass, but I'd say its not plastic for sure.. has some weight to it. Am able to look into the wall, and don't see any drips.

    Thanks,
    Chris

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