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F.H. Furr's Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical Insider Blog

Two Common Mistakes for the DIY Homeowner: Caulk Vs. Putty

F.H. Furr has great respect for all you DIY-ers out there. It can be intimidating to sort through a plethora of Internet resources, or filter through a slew of comments on your facebook status plumbing inquiries — just to find the right quick fix for your minor plumbing problems. Though we recommend you contact an F.H. Furr professional for any of your plumbing needs (improper DIY repairs can complicate the problem and end up costing you more money!), we acknowledge that many of you prefer to try your hand at home remedies first. Throughout our 30+ years of serving Northern Virginia and surrounding areas, we have seen some DIY failures that we would like to share so you can avoid further financial strain (not to mention save yourself the embarrassment!)


Here are the two most common DIY Plumbing Repair Mistakes, Caulk Vs. Putty:


Misuse of plumber’s putty –This is NOT the plumber’s “duct tape”; plumber’s putty is a malleable substance used as a sealant for plumbing fixtures to aid against water exposure

DO NOT use plumber’s putty on plastic or metal threaded pipes to seal between joints. This is a job for Teflon tape.

DO NOT use plumber’s putty to seal the area between the sink vanity and the wall. This is a job for caulk.

DO NOT attempt to use plumber’s putty to join plastic pipes. This is a job for PVC primer.

DO NOT use plumber’s putty on porous matter such as granite or marble—the composition of plumber’s putty will stain these surfaces


Misuse of caulk – This is misused in much the same way as plumber’s putty; It is a substance that seals against water intrusion and is often seen where the plumbing fixture meets the wall

DO NOT use caulk on anything pressurized


Contrary to several online message boards and discussion forums, these two substances do have a specific purpose and can be used incorrectly. If ever you have a question about possible home remedies and minor DIY repairs, do not hesitate to call an F.H. Furr trained professional. We pride ourselves on honesty and fair dealings. Good luck on all your DIY plumbing endeavors!