Current thoughts on Plumbers Putty vs Silicon Caulk

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by racine, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. racine

    racine New Member

    Jan 30, 2007
    I'm sorry to have to bring this up again but I've already done a search and read all the discussions. Problem is I'm new in this small town, the plumber who put in my plumbing (5 faucets/ sinks, showers, etc...) lost his wife to Cancer halfway through his job on my house. Since then all faucets, sinks have leaked partially damaging cabinets. He didn't even use teflon tape on the shower heads and all 3 leaked.

    I disassembled my kitchen sink today and the putty disintegrated. I'm wanting to install this myself as the last 2 plumbers I called didn't even return my calls? Now I'm leaning towards using silicon caulk for the kitchen sink and wondered what your thoughts were and what brand and type you've recommend. I know I'll have to let it dry for 2 days or so but please share some of your quick thoughts- I'd be very grateful and thank you in advance.
    Hanging out in Lower Mississippi,

    PS. Should I use the rubber washer on top instead of on the bottom or get another one for both top and bottom?
  2. norcal1

    norcal1 Plumber/Owner

    Jan 24, 2005
    I never use silicon on basket strainers, I only use plumber's putty...never had a problem with leaking.

    No, don't use a rubber gasket under the basket strainer, that goes under the sink.

    Also, I don't use teflon tape on showerhead installs. They have rubber washers that are supposed to create a seal with the shower arm.
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  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Ditto what Norcal said.
  5. Racer814

    Racer814 New Member

    Dec 24, 2006
    I use putty...some people view it as an archaic method and silicone as the modern way but it works as well as silicone does and I like the ease of disassembly.....those basket strainers won't leak either way if done correctly but you will thank yourself down the road for using putty when you decide to change them out ....
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    What leaked on the faucets? Many faucets, these days, have built in, or added, seal so that neither putty or silicone is needed. Most shower heads gave a rubber flow restrictor that also acts as the seal so they do not need a joint compound or tape to seal them either. As far as the putty that disintegrated, where was it used? Plumber's putty stays soft and pliable for a long time after it is installed.
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    Improper instaltion of putty, by using to much will cause it to wash out over time. I have seen many installs that the plumber used to much and did not comperss it enough and eventualy it washed out. Again the most common problem I run into is using to much putty.

    Some bathroom sinks come with a warning not to use putty because the oil in the putty can cause them to crack and discolor.
  8. racine

    racine New Member

    Jan 30, 2007
    No on the Silicon Caulk

    Thanks for your opinions and replies. As far as the shower heads go all of them leaked around the threads. I used teflon tape on all and the leaks stopped-was there a better method?
    As far as the faucets went, they all leaked from the plastic tubes/water source leading up to the metal faucets(every last one of them Moens). I simply tightened all of them up and that fixed it?.
    Everyone so far has recommended putty. Should I use 10 yr old stuff or get new putty( hardware store help said 'putty is putty, I know my dads a plumber.')? I appreciate all of your responses very much and thank you for sharing your experience...
  9. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Aug 7, 2005
    Use plumbers putty, it's not expensive.
  10. racine

    racine New Member

    Jan 30, 2007
    Thanks Much

    I chose the putty simply from all the comments and suggestions. I put this together in 5 min. and hope not to look back for a long time. Your many inputs have be helpful for someone who has never done this. Thanks Again.
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