Repairing a leaky pipe with tape? Yes, it might sound crazy, but it is possible! However, when we talk about using tape to repair pipe leaks, it’s important to know that we’re talking about special kinds of tape—not your average scotch or even duct kind. It is also important to note that there are different types of tape for different types of plumbing tape for different types of pipe problems. Keep reading to learn how to repair a leaky pipe with tape, as well as what kind of tape works best for what situation, courtesy of our professional plumbers at Carter Quality Plumbing.
How to Use Pipe Tape: What Kind & Where
There are two specific types of tape that can be used to fix plumbing leaks. The first is pipe thread tape, often colloquially referred to as “Teflon tape,” thread seal tape,” or (you guessed it) “plumber’s tape.” The second is silicone tape, which may also be called “self-amalgamating tape,” “self-fusing tape,” or “leak repair tape.”
When to use pipe thread tape and when to use silicone tape to fix a leaking pipe:
- Silicone Tape: Silicone tape is special because it is double-sided—though probably not in the way you think. While traditional double-sided tape is used to fuse two surfaces together, silicone tape is fused to itself. Silicone tape does not have a traditional adhesive, and is instead made of stretchy material that can be used to create a waterproof seal around your pipe. This type of tape not only works underwater, but can be very heat-resistant, too. For this reason, silicone tape is most appropriate for small cracks and hairline fractures in your pipes. Of course, silicone tape isn’t meant to last forever. You should use silicone tape, ideally, after you have already turned the water off and called a plumber. This will ensure no leaks occur while you wait for a permanent fix. You could potentially use this tape to patch up a rubber hose, but for more important parts of your plumbing system, do not use silicone tape in lieu of an actual repair.
- Pipe Thread Tape: Pipe thread tape is primarily used to deal with leaking joints. Your pipe joints may start to leak for a myriad of reasons over time, from loose connections to worn out tape putty. Regardless, if you want to fix a leaking joint, you should first turn off your water supply and disconnect the pipes where the leak is coming from. From there, you can remove the worn-down seal and wrap the tape around the pipe thread. If there is already a strip of pipe thread tape in place, remove it so you can put down a new one Make sure you are going in the opposite direction of how you screw the pipe in (i.e. if the pipe screws in clockwise, thread the tape counterclockwise.) You should wrap the tape around between four and six times, going from the bottom up. You may want to stop applying the tape at the top of the first thread, as too much pipe thread tape can get bound up between your pipes. After the tape is applied, you should be able to turn your water on and use your piping again without that joint leaking. Pipe thread tape can be a long-lasting solution to leaks, though you should avoid using it on pipes and hoses that use an o-ring or gasket to create a seal, rather than traditional pipe threading.
Carter Quality Plumbing Takes Care of Leaks & More
Make sure to check back with our blog every month for more DIY plumbing tips and tricks, and remember that if you are ever uncomfortable fixing a pipe on your own, Carter Quality Plumbing is here to help. Our licensed, bonded, and insured plumbers offer comprehensive leak detection to make sure your pipes stay in great shape. And with 24/7 emergency availability, you can always count on Carter for your essential plumbing services.