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How to Use Teflon Tape on Pipe Threads

If you’ve ever used Teflon tape on pipe threads, and it’s not something you regularly do, you may have asked yourself if it matters which way the tape is wrapped onto the pipe. It does, indeed, matter.

In this brief video, home contractor and educator Leah Bolden, from See Jane Drill, shows you how to properly wrap Teflon tape. She also discusses the merits of thin (regular) versus heavy duty Teflon tape.

[youtube https://youtu.be/Mg7bOIRB-mo]

As Leah points out in the video, the basic thing you need to know is that the tape needs to go onto the threads clock-wise. So, if you’re right-handed and applying the tape with your right hand, you want to wrap the tape into the threads away from you. Lefties will want to wrap towards them. Ultimately, you just want to make sure that the tape goes onto the threads in a clockwise direction.

Leah also points out that you want to make sure that you get the tape close to the threaded end of the pipe, but not too close. You don’t want the tape to travel over the lip of the pipe and get the tape inside of the throat where it can contaminate the water supply and introduce an obstacle which might block the flow.

You also want to make sure that the tape sits snugly inside of the threads. To achieve this, you want to introduce a decent amount of tension on the tape as you wrap it around the pipe. The tape, especially the regular grade Teflon tape, is very stretchy, so you want to make sure you don’t pull too tight. In general, you want to wrap the tape around the pipe for 3-5 turns so it produce a fairly snug seal. Check the packaging on the tape that you’re using. It usually tells you how many turns are recommended for that product. And it can vary.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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