How Long Does Plumbers Putty Take To Dry?

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Are you wondering if a Plumber's putty should be allowed to dry to be effective?  How long does it take to dry? We have researched this topic and have the answer below. Let's dive in!

A Plumber's putty dries at different rates depending on the humidity level, but it takes 3 to 5 hours to dry on average.

To help speed up the process, try setting up a fan to blow over the surface where the putty is applied. This can help circulate air and remove moisture away from the putty.

A Plumber's putty is one of the most versatile items a plumber uses. We will cover the best uses of this wonder putty and why you should avoid using them in certain situations, so read on!

Closeup of a plumbers hands applying plumbing putty to sink drain, How Long Does Plumbers Putty Take To Dry

Does Plumber's Putty Harden?

While it takes a long time for Plumber's putty to harden, it does so. A Plumber's putty which has not been set within 24 hours of being applied will still be soft enough to be pliable and moldable.

closeup hand holding automotive putty, polyester putty with aluminum chips designed for car repairs

That's the case when it's applied to areas where water is unavoidable.

In addition, the longer you expose the Plumber's putty to open air, the more likely it is that the Plumber's putty will harden and lose its ability to be molded and shaped to conform to the surface or gaps you apply it to.

Where Should You Not Use Plumber's Putty?

Plumber's putty is a common product used in minor plumbing repairs. It's handy and easily accessible, making it an ideal go-to solution for many plumbers and DIYers.

While this product can certainly be beneficial in many scenarios, it is not appropriate in others. The main weak point of a Plumber's putty is that it lacks adhesive properties.

This should help you identify which situations are best avoided.

You should not apply a Plumber's putty on:

  • PVC pipes
  • Pipes with metal threads
  • Surfaces exposed to high temperatures
  • Cracks between walls, floors, and ceilings

PVC Pipes

Toilet apartment in a multi-storey residential building in the city. Replacing an old iron sewer pipe with a new plastic one. Installation of the system. Black and white photography

A Plumber's putty is not designed to be used in areas with high water pressure.

This is because it lacks adhesive properties. Don't expect the putty to stick if you're applying it to a pipe or fixture where pressurized water will come into contact with it.

If you use a Plumber's putty in these situations, it will fall off within hours after application.

Water Pipes With Metal Threads

When working with pipelines, it's important to remember that you are working with a combination of pipe fittings. Metal thread fittings should never be used with Plumbers' putty, which is usually made of some clay.

Instead, a product called Teflon tape is more suitable. It is an elastic material that is made of polytetrafluoroethylene.

It is designed to be wrapped around pipe threads upon installation to ensure proper sealing. You can also use a pipe lining epoxy as an alternative.

Check out this Teflon tape on Amazon.

See this epoxy putty on Amazon too!

Surfaces Exposed To High Temperatures

As noted earlier, Plumber's putty is used as a caulking material to fill cracks and voids in minor plumbing repairs. However, the heat-resistance rating of Plumber's putty is not as impressive as those of silicone caulk.

Several issues can arise when applying Plumber's putty to areas exposed to heat. When Plumber's putty is constantly exposed to a high-temperature environment, its molecular structure will degrade.

Over time, Plumber's putty will lose its integrity when constantly exposed to heat. This can substantially affect its ability to seal cracks or voids properly.

Cracks Between Walls, Floors, And Ceilings

A plumber's putty is not designed to take on the effects of foundation settlement.

So, unless there is a specific reason why you are attempting to use the putty for anything other than a temporary fix, you should probably save your money and get a spray foam instead.

Check out this spray foam gun on Amazon.

Where Should You Use Plumber's Putty?

A Plumber's putty is ideal for the following applications:

  • Setting faucets
  • Sealing sink strainers
  • Shower and pop-up drains

Setting Faucets

Plumbers often use plumbers' putty to set faucets. This is because it can easily be shaped or used to form small pieces to fit into tight spaces.

It can also provide the much-needed watertight seal while it is still in the process of curing.

Nonetheless, a Plumber's putty dries slowly and can stay flexible for a long time. This should not be a cause of concern as the putty is already usable after its application.

Our Tip For Using Your Plumber's Putty

There are some tips you can use to ensure that your faucets will stay intact during the entire process of curing.

One tip is to ensure that the putty will dry evenly and not in any direction. If the putty is applied unevenly, it could leave a weak spot which would be the first to crack.

Sealing Sink Strainers

Closeup of a plumbers hands applying plumbing putty to sink drain.

Plumber's putty is an excellent choice for sealing sink strainers because it is easy to apply. Aside from providing a watertight seal, it will hold its shape.

In addition, the primary ingredients of Plumber's putty are mainly organic, so you don't have to worry about any toxic chemical residue in your sink after application.

However, not all Plumber's putties have the same formulation. You should double-check the label for any synthetic additives.

Pop-up Drains

Plumbers putty is used to seal around gaps and openings to ensure water doesn't leak out.

It is made specifically for this purpose. Because it can be applied easily, it works well in the sealing shower and pop-up drains.

View this Plumber's putty on Amazon.

Which Is Better: Plumber's Putty Or Silicone?

Plumber's putty is a gooey mixture of powdered clay and linseed oil. Silicone caulking, on the other hand, is made of silica stone which is more reliable when providing adhesion and sealing between gaps.

While each type of material has its benefits, the main difference is that Plumber's putty is softer than silicone caulk.

Just like a Play-Doh, Plumber's putty can be cut and shaped into small pieces that are easier to work with.

How Thick Should I Apply Plumber's Putty?

When selecting your Plumber's putty thickness, remember that any extra putty will be squeezed out once you tighten the fixture. There is no standard for how thick a Plumber's putty should be.

It's a personal preference.

Most plumbers like to put a very thin layer, just enough to seal the gap. Some prefer to use a thicker layer of Plumber's putty to provide more cushion to the fixture sitting on top.

Nonetheless, as a general rule, it should be at least 1/8" thick.

How To Remove Plumber's Putty

A hardened Plumber's putty can be removed by applying pressure, so it cracks, and you can scrape away the hardened putty.

If the putty is not hardened, it can be scraped with a putty knife or other scraping tool that will not cause damage to the finish of the tub or to whatever material it has been applied to.

You could use some paint thinner or mineral spirits to remove residue.

14oz container of Plumbers Putty, formulated for stainless fixtures, ACE Hardware stores brand

How Long Does Plumber's Putty Last?

Keep in mind that Plumber's putty is not intended to be a permanent fix but rather a temporary seal. So you may need to replace the putty at some point in the future, as it does begin to deteriorate over time.

As mentioned earlier, water pressure is its mortal enemy. Even the trickling of water dripping from the faucet will ultimately wear it down over time.

This is especially true for putty applied around sink strainers and pop-up drains.

Another thing that contributes to its quick deterioration is the lack of adhesive properties. Even in its pliable state, it can easily be squished out of shape and position.

In addition, the amount of stress and wear and tear you put on the putty over time is another major factor in how long it will last.

Is There A Better Alternative Than A Plumber's Putty?

Silicone caulk is made of pure silicone and can be used in any application that Plumber's putty is used. Silicone caulk bonds to the surfaces it comes in contact with quickly and easily.

Additionally, it is more flexible and can handle larger temperature changes than Plumber's putty. It also doesn't require ventilation to dry out and provides a long-lasting seal.

Check out this silicone caulk on Amazon.

How Do You Store Plumber's Putty?

Here are a few things to look out for when storing a Plumber's putty properly:

  • The container must have an airtight seal
  • Do not store in a place where the temperature is high

Putty Must Be In An Airtight Container

The Plumber's putty must be stored in a sealed container. It should not be exposed to air for long periods. Air can cause the putty to dry out and lose its tackiness.

If this happens, you may not be able to use the putty.

Store Putty In A Cool, Dark Place

Plumbers' putty should be stored in a cool, dark area. The best storage conditions are a tad lower than room temperature.

If the putty is exposed to a lot of heat, it will affect its consistency and become tackier.

To Finish Up

Plumbers' putty is a beneficial product. There are times when you may want to use it, and there are times when you should avoid it altogether.

This article will hopefully give you the information you need to determine which situation calls for a Plumber's putty application.

And while we have your attention, check out these related posts!

How To Remove Drylok From Basement Walls?

How To Apply Drylok [A Detailed Guide For Beginners]

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