Plumbers putty is one of the most popular sealant options for many DIY home improvement projects. You can use plumbers putty to get a watertight seal in exposed areas.
But how long does plumbers putty take to dry?
The drying time for this material is actually 10 to 15 years. But you don’t need to wait that long to finish your project!
Plumbers putty isn’t supposed to dry fully. While some people recommend waiting a few hours, most say that you can use your kitchen sink or bathroom sink immediately after getting the right seal.
Plumbers Putty Versus Caulk
If you’re wondering how long does plumbers putty take to dry, a related question might be whether it can replace caulk.
You can sometimes use plumbers putty in place of silicone caulk, but it really depends on the project. It won’t function as the best alternative in every scenario.
Caulk is better than putty in these cases:
You need to glue two pieces together, like with a drain assembly and a drain pipe.
You need to prevent water leaks in exposed places where the putty might rub off.
But plumbers putty is often used to seal a sink drain. When it comes to assembling a new countertop, though, you want caulk to do the job.
Plumbers putty can be easily removed and replaced. This makes it a popular choice for things like sink strainers and pop-up drain setups.
To get the best results, you just scrape off the excess putty and let the material do the sealing work.
Tips For Using Plumbers Putty
No matter what type of putty you’re using, it should be flexible and easily rolled. This allows it to conform to complicated areas like a faucet or drain flange.
If the putty is too hard to mold, or it cracks when you roll it out, then it has outlived its lifespan. You’ll need to get a new batch from Amazon or your local hardware store.
Putty will dry out faster if the tub is not properly sealed. With a good seal, one tub can last for years before beginning to crack.
Another note is that you should double-check the label before you use the putty on any porous surface. If you have granite countertops, the petroleum-based material might stain them.
But some forms of putty are specifically formulated for use on stone and other surfaces.
How To Use Plumbers Putty
Oatey has a helpful guide for how to use this product. Its main purpose is to prevent the sink, tub, and faucet from leaking.
While it isn’t meant to be installed underwater, it does protect against leakage.
The main way that the putty is used is by placing it under a flange. You can use it to set a basket strainer, a faucet, a drain, and many other basic plumbing appliances.
Since the putty doesn’t dry, you can easily replace it if need be.
These are the basic steps to using plumbers putty:
Make sure that you are working with a compatible material. If you need stain-free putty, check the label first.
Remove enough putty to place around the flange. Then seal the container so the remaining material stays clean.
Knead the putty until it is a long rope around 1/2 inch in thickness.
Completely encircle the bottom of the flange in question.
Press the flange into the drain or other area so that the putty oozes from the sides.
Wipe up the excess putty.
One note is that if you’re working in a cold environment, you should give yourself ten minutes following the installation. Then double-check the security of the putty. It might need one more turn to keep from coming loose.
Plumbers putty is a popular sealant because it doesn’t dry for years. It remains flexible and easy to remove.
You can replace it at any time, and dissembling parts for maintenance is simple.
However, you don’t want to use plumbers putty on projects that need major sealant. You also don’t want it in exposed areas.
In these cases, caulk works better because it does dry and creates an adhesive seal.