PTFE tape is thin-film tape used by heating engineers and plumbers for sealing pipe threads. The tape can be used in a number of pipework and plumbing applications, including being wrapped around pipe threads and joints to form a tight seal, which helps to stop any leaks. These applications lead to the other names for PTFE tape, including Plumber's Tape, Thread Seal Tape, and PTFE Film Tape. This type of tape comes in spools of various tape thicknesses (mm) and colours such as white, brown, black, grey, and translucent to suit the requirements of various applications.
What is PTFE and what does it stand for?
PTFE stands for Polytetrafluoroethylene. PTFE is a tough, flexible material which has a wide temperature range, excellent chemical resistance, and has a long-lasting work life. The tape acts as a deformable filler and thread lubricant, helping to seal the joint without hardening or making it more difficult to tighten, and instead making it easier to tighten. It also protects the threads of both male and female pieces from direct contact with each other and physical wear that occurs over time, and helps seal and prevent leaks from the connection. It is mainly used with new PVC pipes (water supply, sewage, and drainage lines) to ensure smooth joints that are leak-free and easy to fix.
How to use PTFE Tape or Plumbers Tape
The proper way to apply PTFR plumbers tape is by wrapping it around the male half of the fitting or joint in the direction of the thread, which is typically clockwise. This means the tape remains in place as the joint is tightened, rather than being undone. The industry recommendation is to wrap it around the thread three to four times. Thick enough to ensure there will be no leaks, but not too thick to prevent the joint from fully closing.
Advantages of PTFE Tape
PTFE thread seal tape is usually sold on convenient plastic spools pre-cut to specific widths thicknesses and lengths (mm). This makes the application quick and easy with no mess or waste. PTFE tape is used in heating, plumbing and jointing applications. The benefits of PTFE tape include:
- Chemical resistant, waterproof and durable
- Malleable and non-hardening
- Withstands high pressures
- High tensile strength
- Low friction lubricating
- Heat resistant