Plumbers Putty vs Silicone: 10 Major Differences

Renovations and repairments are part of home-improvements. Plumber’s putty is for every home-owner when they find any faulty sink or water intrusion from any surface. It is easy to apply and remove.

On the other hand, silicone does almost the same job with some additional features. For example, it brings more adhesiveness, making the seal watertight and thus it lasts more. Well, these are the birds-eye view, so you may come to know the ins and out of plumbers putty vs silicone, read the whole article to know the rest.

Plumbers Putty vs Silicone Caulk: Key Comparisons

Plumbers Putty vs Silicone

If you come to know the main differences of Plumbers putty and Silicone here are the 10 differences are given below:

1. Main Substance

Though they offer the same service to seal the cracky place and ensure great fittings, you will find some difference in the case of chemical composition. The Plumber’s putty(Check on Amazon) comes with the fish oil, limestone, and talc elements, making it flexible. Turns out it can easily seal the drains, cracky surfaces, and drains. In a deeper sense, it is a glue-based particle or sticky paste substance. For that, once you want to remove it, you can do it easily.

On the other hand, the Silicone Caulk is made of rubbery substance, therefore it has more elasticity. Also, it is denser in the material of sticky substance here is why, once you try to peel it, you will fail to do so. To perform so, you just need to get your hands on the scrapping tools.

2. When to use Plumber’s Putty/Silicon

Putty is like a first-kit box so every homeowner should keep it when something goes wrong with the kitchen sink or faucet of the bathroom. It is easy to put together without having any hard-time. Moreover, it ensures the watertight seal also, you can remove or replace it. So we recommend it to use it since it is not as dense as silicone but will perform as an immediate repairment.

3. Where Can Plumber’s Putty/Silicone Be Used?

Around the faucet or drain, the plumber’s putty is the common item to use for our kitchen, sinks, and bathrooms. The best part of it is to stay soft for a long time and meanwhile, it will deter the breaking of the seal. Aside from the sink fixing, it ensures the pop-up drainage issues, guards the basket and sinks strainers, also fills out the cracky surface. Hence, we say, it offers versatile usage, indeed.

Silicone is often known as a caulking element and it is an alternative to the Plumber’s putty. This fixing item comes to use for sealing and tends to seal with more adhesiveness. Turns out, it is not as soft or easy to remove compared to the putty substance. Having the ultimate adhesive quality it performs better to stay alongside the applied areas.

However, the drawback with it is too hard to apply application and once it is applied, you will find a hard time peeling it off. The amazing sticky item commonly uses in the kitchen and bathroom where it will ensure a water-tight solution. Moreover, it offers a crack solution to the ceilings, wooden board, cracks on the surface, and many more.

Plumber’s putty performs the best with

  • The drain basket (front part of the drain)
  • Faucet fixture basket
  • Sink fixtures
  • Bathtub or Sink Drain

Silicone performs the best with

  • Across the Pipes with plumbing fixtures
  • Bind differences together
  • Tiles of shower cubicles

4. Pros & Cons of Plumber’s Putty and Silicone

Both of this fixing items come with a solution and a few drawbacks, lets figure out them below: 

Pros of Plumber’s putty:

  • It lasts longer with softness
  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to replace or remove

Cons of Plumber’s Putty:

  • Not adhesive enough
  • Not applicable to apply on exposed areas
  • You can’t use it for plastic pipes

Pros of Silicone:

  • Strong adhesiveness
  • versatile uses
  • Doesn’t crack

Cons of Silicone:

  • Not easy to removable
  • Cannot be replaced
  • Sticky and leaves a stain

5. Drying Time

We have already talked about the compositions of both elements. Well, the drying time lies in the types or the elements they are made of. Since Silicone is made of a completely different substance that contains an organic and inorganic substance, it makes the difference. Mostly, it is comprised of synthetic polymers here is why it has a great bond between silicon and oxygen. Turns out, it dries faster than Plumber’s putty.

6. Price & Durability

We know the Plumber’s putty and Silicon caulk come with their specific price range and life-time. Here is the table, where you can make difference between them.

 Silicone CaulkPlumber’s Putty
Expected Life-Time1 years2 years
Price 10-ounce of cartridge charges on average $8.995 lb. tub charges on average $9.29   

7. UV Exposure

Among many particles or substances in Silicone, Dimethyl siloxane is one of them. This one is a pretty stable element and won’t let the UV rays come inside. On the other hand, the plumber’s putty won’t be exposed to the sun since it can not deal with sun rays. That being said, the Silicone is considerably better than putty stuff to deter the sun rays.

8. Application

Both of these sealants have certain applications when we delve into them, we found the putty stuff is good with small area application. Because while working with the bigger surface for sealing the sealant material has to be more adhesive. Turns out the sealant won’t remove easily. Therefore, Silicone wins over Plumber’s putty. However, for small area applications, the Putty element is more affordable.

9. Harmful Compounds

We know Silicone caulking has more inorganic compounds, so it is not a non-toxic product. On the other hand, the putty thing is made of petroleum-based elements which are organically found in nature, giving us the least hard time with toxicity. The toxic element on Silicone may cause Asthma and Cancer both while we will come closer to it and work with it for a long time.

10. Color and Odor

You don’t need to worry about the color while comparing. Color doesn’t matter both for putty and silicone products. But you will have color variations in 23 different light shades, whereas the Plumber’s putt does not have any color. If it comes to the odor, then Silicone has the worst odor which smells like acetic/vinegar elements. However, such a smell won’t last longer than 3 days. With Plumber’s putty, you won’t smell anything like that, it is completely odorless.


Which one is better, plumbers putty or Silicone for sink drain?

Plumbers putty and Silicone are both the most effective element for sink drains. But each of them works adequately in different ways. The plumber’s putty is perfect for flanges. It works better for sealing drain bodies. On the contrary, Silicone is adequate for sealing edges. 

Plumbers putty or Silicone for faucets?

Plumber’s putty is the most adequate and effective substance for faucets. It is the most used and traditional element for sealing faucets. Especially, the exposed areas where you want watertight sealing, plumbers putty works better. 

Can I use Silicone instead of the plumber’s putty?

Yes, Silicone can be used as an alternative to plumbers putty. But make sure you’re using 100% silicone without any mixture of acrylic latex. The raw Silicone would be waterproof and seal better, as well as the plumber’s putty. 

Can I use plumbers putty instead of Silicone?

Yes, you can use plumbers putty as the alternative to Silicone. Both of the products are designed to seal. Plumber’s putty is a com[artivelt soft element. So, it would be better to use woodworking/ walls and ceilings. 

Can you use Silicone for plumbing?

Yes, you can use Silicone for plumbing. Silicone is designed for sealing sink drains. But make sure you’re preparing the surface very well. Don’t use any mixture of latex in the Silicone. Try to choose 100%v Silicone for such plumbing tasks. 

Should I use silicone or plumbers putty for the shower drain?

A Plumber’s putty is a comparatively better option to use over the shower drain. Still, both the silicone and plumbers putty works effectively over the shower drain. The plumber’s putty is water-resistant and works smoothly over shower drain areas. However, the pop-up drains will suit the Silicone better. So, you should b]pick the substance regarding your shower drain type. 

Can you use Silicone on PVC pipe threads?

PVC pipe threads are best suited with Silicone. But make sure you’re drying the pipe well and preparing the surface better for the best outcome. The Silicone needs to sit well and work effectively over the PVC pipe.

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