It’s not un-common to purchase a new shower rose or bath spout for example and find the manufacturer has supplied a small roll of white Teflon tape with the fitting to assist you with the installation of this product.

There are a few little tricks and hints I have learnt along the way during my 20 years in the plumbing industry about putting Teflon tape onto the threads of plumbing fittings and the different types of Teflon tape on the market, knowing when to use each one to suit its correct application in order not to get a water leak.

In this week’s instalment to my blog I would like to give you a few handy hints and also explain the differences in Teflon tapes so that next time I come to your house you understand a little more about what is being performed for you.

Selecting The Right Plumbers Tape

When selecting Teflon tape for the task there are a few things to consider: Is the fitting loose and if so it may require a thicker tape to take up the slack? What material are you joining, if its pvc threads you want something thinner so that cross threading does not occur when tightening the fittings up.

Each situation is different and in some circumstances the threads may be really tight and require a small amount of tape to achieve a water tight joint. If you are doing up pvc to pvc joints a trick I have learnt in the field is to leave the first thread naked in order to ensure that cross threading does not occur and you get the threading process started initially without cross threading.

using plumbers tape

Applying The Tape

When it comes to the application of the Teflon tape there are a couple of good points to note. Firstly apply the Teflon tape in the direction in which you will be screwing the connection so that as you begin to tighten the fittings the Teflon tape binds into the threads. Secondly roughen the male threads a little, I usually use a hacksaw blade and gently graze the threads so that when the Teflon tape is applied it wants to grip onto the threads and not just slip and slide off the male threaded fitting.

These are two great pointers which should always be remembered and will make a huge impact on getting a water tight connection.

White Tape

Without a doubt the most common colour of Teflon tape you see around is white, it is also the thinnest version of Teflon tape on the market. Now when using the white Teflon tape, because it is very thin you need to apply more than the other tapes on the market. As a rule of thumb I suggest somewhere between 10 to 15 times around the male thread is usually a good indicator, but each circumstance is different, as previously mentioned above.

Pink Tape

Secondly another colour of Teflon tape on the market is pink, this is a slightly thicker version of tape and hence does need to be applied as many times to the thread. As a guide when it comes to applying pink Teflon tape I apply between 6 to 9 rolls around the male thread.

You will find that this is not as common to get a hold of and may need to be acquired from a plumbing merchant, not just a regular hardware store. It will be higher in price, but you don’t need as much and in a lot of cases it provides a better guarantee against water leaks as it is thicker and binds into the threads better.

Yellow Tape

And probably the least common type of Teflon tape on the market especially available to the general public is a yellow version. The yellow version of the Teflon tape is predominantly used in the gas and petroleum fields of plumbing due to its properties which make it resistant to harsh chemicals and does not break down which can lead to leaks.

This type of Teflon tape is the thickest and once again does not need to be applied as liberally as the white version and can be used on water connections as well. I find that in a case where I have a large threaded fitting such as 32mm up wards it comes in handy for couple of reasons. Firstly the last thing you want is a leak on such a large fitting because the chances are you had a hard time getting it done up initially and Secondly the larger fittings can be a little looser and require a thicker tape to achieve the water tight connection.

As I have touched on during this post each circumstance is different and can require the many years of experience which only a Master Plumber can offer to select the right tape for each job. Its only after seeing different situations present themselves that a plumber will then know what is going to be the right selection for each situation. So if you are in doubt call a Licensed Master Plumber from Mayfair Plumbing and Gasfitting on 0429 361 819.

I hope that you have found a few handy tips in my recent blog this week. If you are looking for other pieces of information relating to plumbing and gas please have a scroll through some of my other blog posts.

Aaron Stewart

Aaron Stewart is the found and owner operated of Mayfair Plumbing & Gasfitting based in Adelaide, South Australia.

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