Tape sealants are found all over the plumbing world. They are used in many Industries as there are different tape sealants for specific applications. If you need tape specifically for stainless fittings, there's a tape for that. Tape sealants are simple to use, but like most things if not used correctly it can cause you stress and stress on the fittings.
In this blog, we are going to go over the different tape sealants available and what the best applications are for each tape.
What is PTFE Tape?
Polytetrafluoroethylene, is short formed to PTFE, for obvious reasons. PTFE is a hydrophobic which basically means neither water or liquids containing water can make PTFE tape wet. PTFE is less likely to cause friction against other solids.
Standard PTFE Tape
Standard PTFE tape is mainly used for water system connections, either potable or non-potable as they are corrosion and acid resistant. Applications where the standard PTFE tape works best is in high pressure lines and used best with most chemicals.
Premium and Specialty PTFE Tapes
The main difference between standard PTFE tapes and specialty PTFE tapes is that the specialty tapes come color coded for specific applications. This makes it easy to ensure you are grabbing the correct tape for each application. Specialty PTFE tape is also much thicker than the standard tape and it has significantly higher density.
White Premium High Density
The white premium PTFE tape is good to be used for all industrial applications. There is no pigments or additives making it good to be used on all applications including water, oil and food processing. Mainly places where non-contamination standards are set pretty high.
Just like the name implies, this PTFE tape is most commonly used by plumbers and pipe fitters. It is color coded pink to signify that this tape is a heavier duty tape than the standard white thread seal tape.
Yellow Gas Line
This PTFE tape is designed specifically for gas lines of all types, propane, butane lines and even natural gas. This yellow PTFE tape meets all gas company standards world wide and it seals threads quickly and easily.
This specific tape is colored green making it ideal for oxygen applications like oxygen lines. It is grease free but it does not support combustion.
Gray Stainless Steel
The Gray Stainless tape has nickel pigment color added ensuring it is good to be used with all stainless steel fittings. This tape prevents galling and seizing. Being 4 mils thick and having a high density rating makes it the perfect tape for coarse stainless steel threads. If you would like to look into the benefits of PTFE tape with stainless fittings and how to properly use it check out our blog How to Properly Seal Stainless Steal Fittings, Nipples & Well Supplies .
Tips for Proper Wrapping
By using a PTFE tape sealant with a minimum thickness of 2.5 mil. you ensure that the tape is thick enough to provide a good seal and you won't waste tape. To ensure a good seal, wrap the tape in the direction of the threads. You only need to use 2-3 wraps of tape, however thinner tape may need 4-5 wraps. Make sure you start wrapping at the end of the fitting, covering the end to prevent the thread from seizing. For the joint assembly, you should tighten the threaded joint 1-2 turns beyond finger tight, be careful not to over tighten.
Also, be aware of how much tape you are using. Excess tape increases the diameter of the male thread adding additional stress. However, tape that is too thin will not provide good sealing.
Things to Keep in Mind
An important thing to remember is that PTFE tape should not be used when connecting PVC fittings or valves with a female (FPT) thread. If the tape is used on female connections, a wedging action can occur which will cause major stress on the joint during assembly.
PTFE tape does not guarantee a leak free connection. Make sure you always inspect the connections with water pressure to confirm that the connection is not leaking.
Knowing how to correctly wrap PTFE tape is the key to easy and stress free installations. Having specific tape sealants color coded for different applications makes it even easier. Book mark this simple guide as your go-to the next time you need to properly wrap a fitting, maybe even show a friend how to properly use the sealing tape. Like I like to say, sharing is caring.