How do I wrap pipe threads with teflon tape?

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When wrapping pipe threads with teflon tape (thread seal tape), what is the direction and recommended number of times to wrap the tape around the threads? Any other recommendations or tip/tricks when applying teflon tape?

Jeff Widmer

Posted 2010-11-15T10:36:24.410

Reputation: 6 971

Answers

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Wrap clockwise - i.e. in the same direction as the tightening action of the nut. This means that you are also tightening the tape around the thread.

If you wrap anti-clockwise I find that the tape bunches up and comes away.

As for the number of layers - I usually wrap the tape around at least twice, maybe even three or four times.

ChrisF

Posted 2010-11-15T10:36:24.410

Reputation: 16 130

1@BrownRedHawk Let's be honest.... we all use it to fill the gaps though – Joe Phillips – 2015-09-08T16:29:13.570

1@JoePhilllips What?! [Starts to quiver] Why would anyone use a product outside of its intended and prescribed use!? – BrownRedHawk – 2015-09-08T16:32:15.507

1@BrownRedHawk Because when your NPT pipe nipple doesn't stick out of the wall the absolute perfect distance to make your elbow face the correct direction, you have limited options – Joe Phillips – 2015-09-09T14:34:32.290

1re: wrapping twice, thanks for the advice. Elbow joint on my dishwasher intake was giving me fits with a very slow leak with just a single wrap of tape. Double wrap of tape is holding so far :-) – leedm777 – 2011-08-01T03:38:26.957

Actually, if I stick the right thumb down the pipe, my right fingers curl around the pipe in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. From knuckles to finger tips is counter-clockwise. From finger tips to knuckles is clockwise. – None – 2016-05-12T00:27:14.393

I often wrap several times - just depends as you do not want so much that it prevents the full tightening but do want enough to seal. – Mark Schultheiss – 2012-06-22T20:05:55.500

Huh, I just naturally wrap it that way - never really thought about it before. Good to know my subconscious is looking out for me! (Either that or I got lucky.) – Doresoom – 2010-11-15T14:30:03.477

2@Doresoom - I always have to think about this. I wish I could get it right every time! – ChrisF – 2010-11-15T14:32:36.517

7Just use the right hand rule. If the end of the pipe is facing you, point the thumb of your right hand down the pipe and curl your fingers into a fist. The direction your fingers curl is clockwise. Either that, or you need to go to a hospital because your hand is broken. – Doresoom – 2010-11-15T14:35:57.513

1Just remember, teflon tape is meant to allow you to tighten the fitting more tightly, it is not meant to fill in any gaps or looseness. The teflon is more slippery than the original surface. You just need enough teflon to overlap. Anything else is overkill and could actually PREVENT a tight, leakproof fit. – BrownRedHawk – 2015-03-17T17:55:37.933

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For the correct number of times to wrap the tape, check the instructions on the tape package (that tiny little printing in white plastic you can barely read). It should tell you. Different manufacturers will have different specs on this (depending on the thickness of the tape).

I highly recommend the higher-density pink teflon tape. It is a tiny bit more expensive, but I have found that it stays put on the threads much better and seals better.

The pink tape I use (CFPC) says:

  • 3 full wraps for pipes up to 1"
  • 4 wraps for pipes 1" - 1.5"
  • not to exceed pipes > 1.5"

Using too much tape is bad, too little is bad.

Oh, and ditto what ChrisF said about wrapping the tape in the proper direction!

myron-semack

Posted 2010-11-15T10:36:24.410

Reputation: 3 115

Good to know. I've always used WAY too much; like 20 wraps. But I've always been happy with the performance of it. This is the uber thing white stuff though. Thanks for the recommendations, I'll check the documentation next time and look for the pink stuff. – Sean Reifschneider – 2010-12-06T07:53:32.833

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Personally I would recommend avoiding teflon tape altogether and use TFE paste instead. It can be a bit messy, but aside from that it's pretty hard to do it wrong - just goop the stuff on there and screw it together.

Eric Petroelje

Posted 2010-11-15T10:36:24.410

Reputation: 8 593

Is this rated to be used with PVC (plastic pipe) as well? I know some pipe dope cannot be used with plastic, because it will react with the pipe and cause future leaks and/or failures. – Tester101 – 2010-11-17T17:39:05.267

@Tester101 - Not sure, can't say I've ever tried to use it with PVC or plastic fittings. – Eric Petroelje – 2010-11-18T17:44:19.847

Some are OK for PVC or CPVC, but not ABS plastic. "Rectorseal T plus 2" is OK for all of the above, but "Rectorseal #5" is not. (Both are sold at my local Lowes and Home Depot.) – myron-semack – 2011-01-03T18:00:34.060

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A good plumbing friend gave me a tip which is worth knowing. After wrapping the tape, run the back of a hack saw blade across the threads. This assists in the tape not slipping when you screw on your fitting

BTB

Posted 2010-11-15T10:36:24.410

Reputation: 11

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I watched a qualified person install my on demand water heater and he used the paste followed by the yellow Teflon tape. I would do the same if I had to do an installation on my own. This fellow is knowledgeable and a very good friend.

Nonie

Posted 2010-11-15T10:36:24.410

Reputation: 1

I've tried using JUST paste before and it did not seal. I then tried again with JUST Teflon and it sealed great – Joe Phillips – 2015-09-08T16:30:51.900

1The yellow tape is made for gas lines, not for water. – Jason Hutchinson – 2015-09-08T19:57:20.477

@JasonHutchinson you can use it for water - it's just a bit thicker (more expensive) that's all. – Ariel – 2016-05-03T17:53:05.253

What paste did he use? – Niall C. – 2012-10-20T14:29:22.057

I would at least get a second opinion on this--I've heard people (who also seemed knowledgeable, to me) say that they degrade each other when applied at the same time. – msouth – 2014-06-17T13:04:02.567

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Do it 4 to 5 wraps around the pipe Hold the fitting with you left hand and the Teflon tape with the thumb Go up first For pvc and any metal pipe use Teflon compound so u don't put too much stress in the pvc fitting

julio pinon

Posted 2010-11-15T10:36:24.410

Reputation: 1