Should I Use Plumbers Putty or a Gasket When Installing a Sink Drain?

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Is a plumber’s putty or a gasket better for a sink drain? Choosing a suitable material to seal the joint between the drain and the sink is essential in this installation. The purpose is to prevent leaks and water damage.

Although both materials are effective in sealing joints, they have advantages and disadvantages. This topic will explore the differences between them and help you make a decision about which material to use when installing your drain.

Keep scrolling to discover!

Should I Use Plumbers Putty or a Gasket When Installing a Sink Drain?

For sink drains, gaskets should be used instead of plumber’s putty. A gasket provides better sealing and can work with many materials.

We will analyze the differences between these two types below.

What is a Plumber’s Putty?

What is a Plumber's Putty
What is a Plumber’s Putty?

Plumber’s putty is a versatile adhesive material used in plumbing. Its role is to seal joints and prevent leaks in sinks, drains, and other plumbing fixtures.

Structurally, it is a soft, malleable material to work and form. Also, it is a mixture of clay and linseed oil. So it has plasticity and impermeability. Besides, it is perfect on non-porous textures.

What is a Gasket?

What is a Gasket?
What is a Gasket?

A gasket is a mechanical seal to prevent the escape or leakage of liquid or gas between two surfaces. It is usually a combination of rubber, silicone, or metal.

Gaskets are popular in many fields, including:

  • Car
  • Water pipe system
  • Aerospace
  • Manufacture

People often use them to seal joints in pipes, engines, and other machines.

As for how they work, they fill the space between two surfaces. They then create a seal that prevents liquids or gasses from escaping.

Also, they can be compressible and elastic. Hence, they can maintain tightness even under high pressure or temperature conditions.

Plumber’s Putty vs. Gasket for Sink Drain

Sink drain
Sink drain

When installing a drain, there are several factors to consider when using a plumber’s putty or gasket.

While both materials are popular in plumbing applications, several key differences can affect the quality and longevity of the installation.

Plumber’s putty is easy to apply to any shape. Thus, it is a versatile tool for many plumbing projects.

Yet, a plumber’s putty can dry out, crack, and cause leaks over time. This problem is especially true in areas with high water pressure or chemicals (commercial kitchens or industrial facilities).

On the other hand, gaskets can create a more durable and reliable cushion. Unlike plumber’s putty, they don’t dry out or crack over time. Hence, they become a more permanent solution to the drain installation in the sink.

Besides durability, gaskets offer greater flexibility when adjusting or replacing a sink drain. Also, we can easily remove and replace them without damaging the surrounding plumbing equipment.

In short, a gasket is more popular because of its durability and ease of use.

Which Case Is Not Suitable for Plumber’s Putty?

When Not To Use
When Not To Use?

While a plumber’s putty can be helpful for many plumbing applications, there are certain circumstances when it should not be suitable when installing drains.

  • When installing a sink with granite or stone countertops: Plumber’s putty can stain or discolor on granite or stone countertops. Instead, use silicone sealant to seal the sink drain to prevent leaks.
  • When installing a rubber gasket for the sink: Many sink drains have a rubber gasket that seals between the sink and the drain. In this case, the plumber’s putty may affect the performance of the gasket.
  • In high-pressure environments: Plumber’s putty can become brittle over time, especially in areas with high water pressure. Thus, it is not recommended in these situations, as the substance can crack or break and cause a leak over time.
  • In high-temperature environments: Plumber’s putty is not designed to withstand high temperatures and can melt or break when exposed to heat.
  • When sealing threaded pipes: This substance can obstruct threads and cause leaks. Instead, thread sealant tape (Teflon) is the recommended material for sealing joints between threaded pipes.

Alternatives to Plumber’s Putty

Alternatives to Plumber’s Putty
Alternatives to Plumber’s Putty

Firstly, it is silicone caulk – a waterproof material used for sealing around sinks, tubs, and showers. Also, it can seal plumbing fixtures such as drains or showers.

Secondly, many plumbing fixtures, such as sink drains or trash cans, come with rubber gaskets that help seal the water. These gaskets are easy to install and provide a reliable seal.

Thirdly, consider thread sealant tape to seal threaded pipes’ joints.

Fourth, the pipe dope is a thick paste applied to the pipe’s threads to create a tight seal. You can use it in high-pressure or high-temperature applications.

Finally, wax rings can seal toilet bowls to flanges on bathroom floors. Yet, you can also use them for other plumbing applications where a sealing ring is required.

In short, many alternatives to plumber’s putty can be fit for plumbing applications, depending on the specific needs of your project. Thus, choose the suitable material to ensure a reliable and long-lasting seal.

Can I Apply Plumber’s Putty On Gaskets?

No, we don’t recommend it. It is because the rubber gaskets are to provide a watertight seal on their own. Hence, adding a plumber’s putty can hinder their effectiveness.

Plumber’s putty is a sticky substance that can stick to rubber gaskets. Hence, it is difficult to remove and can damage the gasket when installed.

If a tighter seal is needed, you can try tightening the fixture or using an alternative material like silicone sealant.


After looking at the pros and cons of these two materials, it’s clear that using gaskets is the preferred choice for a drain installation.

They provide reliable and long-lasting sealing, are less prone to leaks, and can withstand the effects of time and water exposure.

Ultimately, you can ensure a watertight seal and prevent future plumbing problems by choosing a gasket for your sink drain installation.

Thank you for reading!