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Thread: Teflon Tape vs Joint Compound

  1. #1

    Default Teflon Tape vs Joint Compound

    Just a curiosity question from a total novice.
    What little pipe work I have had to do I have always preferred teflon tape just because it was less messy --
    But the guy at the Orange box recommende joint compound (RectorSeal 5) so I gave it a try.
    Pretty much every joint I made with joint compound - leaked - and I went back and used teflon tape -- leak gone.
    I am SURE part of the issue is user error --
    But -- is one generally considered superior in making leak free connections?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Some plumbers use both. If applied properly and the connection is tightened enough and you (may have to) wait a little, either should work. With the tape, you should be able to open things up right away, I'm not sure about the pipe dope; have to read the instructions carefully.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    i use teflon tape for small joints (up too 1"). teflon paste on larger joints. It essentially does the same, but past is more practical on large joints.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I used to use tape and had little problem, but to me, pipe dope is easier. True, it is a bit messy, but tape has to be wrapped just right or it doesn't seal. I know some use both, and that's their choice, but I like the dope alone.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default compound

    I have used dope alone for over 50 years and it has served faithfully. If you had problems it was user error. I only use tape for PVC threaded connections.

  6. #6
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    hj- what compound do you like. Gasoila is my favorite but is a little pricy. It sticks to everything. Even hard to get off hands.

  7. #7

    Default

    Re HJ
    Readily acknowledged - plumbing NOT my strong suit -
    My guess is Jad is right - I didn't let it set enough.

    Computer geek by trade -- cabinet maker by hobby.
    General remodeler by necessity -
    This particular project - kinda got backed into this project -
    Started when my semi-significant other wanted a new tub surround
    which became a new tub
    which became reorient the tub -- TWICE
    which became - how about a new tile floor.

    Remind me again what I thought was so bad about living alone in an apartment.

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    There is no "set" time for 99% of most pipe dope.

    The joint was not tight enough, too little or lousy pipe dope, bad threads or some combination of the 4.

    Teflon tape has more bulk and fills the threads more.

    My guess is not tight enough, thats why the teflon tape worked.
    Last edited by Cass; 04-04-2006 at 08:06 AM.

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks Cass - that is a possibility too -
    I had been warned - also by the guy at the orange box --not to OVERtighten and strip threads -
    So I stopped at about a turn and a half past hand tight

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default joint

    [QUOTE=PaulHG]Thanks Cass - that is a possibility too -
    I had been warned - also by the guy at the orange box --not to OVERtighten and strip threads -
    So I stopped at about a turn and a half past hand tight

    If the guy at the orange box store knew as much as he thinks he did, he would be out making money installing the pipes. There is no standard that says a turn and a half past hand tight is all that is needed. Who determines how tight "hand tight" is? Is it how tight a boy could turn it, or your wife, or a sumo wrestler? There is also no "set time." You apply it, tighten the joint, and then turn on the water. And the next joint that is "stripped" by overtightening will be the first one. It cannot happen. Other things can happen but only if you have a very large wrench or pull very hard on a small one, but by that time common sense should have kicked in so you would realize it is tight enough.

  11. #11

    Default

    TOTALLY agree on the level of 'expertise' in big box stores (orange or blue or any other color)
    I USUALLY ask straight out - if they have had exprience plumbing (or flooring or whatever I am asking help on) - RARELY some do -- most are honest enough to admit when they don't.
    This time I took what he said at face value - although it DID sound kinda squirelly to me.
    Sometimes its best to go with your gut -
    Thanks for letting me know that this time -- I should have.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member Cal's Avatar
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    Dope on some , tape on others . If I'm going to be heating a joint,ONLY DOPE.

    Things like shower arm threads or pvc tape.

    My boring 2 cents

    Cal

  13. #13

    Unhappy

    Question from a newbie here - does one use glue, putty, or nothing when fastening a toilet flange (4") to a 4" PVC pipe?

    George

  14. #14
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A PVC flange must be glued to the pipe...prime it first to prepare the plastic (it cleans and etches it). It really is more of a solvent as it melts the surface, allowing the two pieces to mate, then when the solvent evaporates (really quick), the pieces are more welded together than merely glued. Sort of like putting together a plastic model from your youth...remember how messy that got and the fingerprints you left in the surface if you touched it with glue on your fingers?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  15. #15

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    Jim:
    A follow up question - when my plumber roughed in an upstairs bathroom for us, he provided what appears to be a 4" ID elbow for me to fasten my 4" (PVC-1 NIBCO) flange into. I find that fitting the flange into the elbow is a very tight fit that might not accomodate solvent glue very well. A force fit isn't good, huh?

    George

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