What is Plumbers Tape and where do I use it?

Every home should have a roll of plumbers tape – but what is it and what do you use it for?


Plumbers tape, also known as thread seal tape, PTFE tape or Teflon tape, is a flexible tape that is used to seal pipe threads. The tape is wound around threaded fittings to create a secure, watertight join.

Plumbers generally use this tape when they are installing fittings in a bathroom or kitchen, or for outdoor fittings such as garden taps and the like.

When to use Plumbers Tape

Having a roll of plumbers tape in your home toolbox can be a lifesaver if you have a small leak or drips where fittings are connected onto a water pipe. It costs around R10 per roll, so not expensive to add to your toolbox.

With a single roll of plumbers tape, you can improve the water tightness of a threaded joint when adding new fittings such as a dishwasher, washing machine, or even if you are replacing old taps with new ones. You can also use plumbers tape on shower heads if you suspect a leak on these fittings.

How to apply Plumbers Tape

If you need to create a watertight joint, wrapping the end of a threaded fitting with plumbers tape will ensure a tight seal. Make sure to wipe the thread clean before applying the tape, and make sure you apply it in a clockwise direction. If you wrap the tape anti-clockwise on the fitting – it will come loose when you screw on the fitting.

Wrap plumbers tape around the threaded rod at least 4 to 6 times – more if you are using the tape to stop dripping from the join.

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