Sealing paste is a viscous substance that is used to protect and seal threaded joints in plumbing fixtures. A special compound prevents rotting of the strapping material and, to a large extent, increases the tightness of a threaded joint. Today we're going to take a closer look at several types of plumbing pastes and talk about their properties. Using the product does not require special skills and knowledge, and with the instructions provided in this article, you will be able to quickly perform the high quality installation on your own.
Why sealing paste is needed
It is hard to imagine installation of modern heating and water supply systems without the use of sealing paste. It is used wherever reliable fixation is required: in technical and drinking water supply, as well as in natural gas pipelines. Its main purpose is to seal threaded joints.
Since flax fibers are organic matter, when it gets wet, it begins to rot over time. About 20 to 30 years ago, plumbers impregnated the flax fibers with lead minium to prevent it from rotting (red lead or lead oxide is a natural pigment of light brown or orange color. Its formula is Pb3O4. The material is contained in paints as a coloring agent, as well as used in putties or primers as an anti-corrosion agent) or whitewash diluted in natural drying oil. Of course, when these materials were used in drinking water pipelines, particles of the substance got into the human body. At that time, no one thought about the effects of these substances on health. Nowadays, these substances have been replaced by a special product – sealing paste.
The paste is used together with flax as an auxiliary material and improves the index of its tightness. The resulting joints remain airtight at high temperatures and high pressures. In addition, the paste protects the threads and connecting elements from corrosive processes due to its unique composition, and the flax itself from rotting. These functions are achieved with stabilizers, mineral oil and impregnating agents. Modern pastes do not contain toxic substances and are safe to seal drinking water pipelines. Documentary confirmation of this fact is the Certificate of State Registration of the product or SGR.
Types of substances
The differences in the types of sealing pastes are not so much in the composition, the technical characteristics and properties of the substances remain the same, as in the differences in the scope of substances application.
With this in mind, let's take a closer look at pastes for:
1. Heating systems, pipelines through which hot and cold water circulates, as well as for low-pressure steam heating systems. Such a seal successfully performs its function at a temperature of up to +120 ⁰C and a pressure of up to 8 bar.
2. Laying of pipelines for the transportation of drinking water, domestic and natural gas. The substance is used at temperatures from 0 ⁰C to +100 ⁰C and pressures not exceeding 8 bar. The second type is characterized by resistance to vibration at small amplitudes.
This type of paste usually contains more silicone or mineral oil to provide the tightness needed to seal the gas line.
How to use sealing paste
Plumbing flax is a long strong fibers of dried flax. As we've written before, using flax without paste is unacceptable.
So, follow a few simple steps to apply flax to the threads:
1. It is necessary to separate a strand of the desired thickness (from 1 to 3 mm), remove the coarse hair and smooth it out with your fingers.
2. Clean the threads of dust, dirt or other possible contaminants.
3. Wrap the prepared strand tightly and evenly in the direction of the thread pitch – clockwise for right-hand thread, counterclockwise for left-hand thread.
Be careful, if you wrap a lot of flax, when the flax gets wet, it swells, so the joint may crack. But if you wind not enough flax – the conditions for tightness will be breached. Tighten the parts after applying the paste with a little force, if the nut is tightened easily – you need to rewind the thread, because it has no enough flax.
Thread sealing with flax and paste
As it was already mentioned, sealing with flax can only be effective when used in conjunction with plumbing paste for flax. Preserving the qualities of flax is impossible without impregnating it with this substance, as it preserves its integrity.
Thread sealing with flax and paste is easy if you follow these instructions:
- Thoroughly clean the thread surface
- Wrap the flax fibers evenly around the threads, filling all the grooves tightly
- Apply the necessary amount of paste to the flax fibers in an even layer over the entire surface
- Assemble the connection by twisting its parts. While tightening, make sure that the flax stays inside the connection and is out of the threads as little as possible.
- Remove excess flax and paste.
What kind of plumbing paste to choose
In order to understand which paste is suitable for us, we should analyze the parameters of the product that you are going to buy. And the first thing you should pay attention to:
- Temperature range – standard pastes are resistant to temperatures from -30 °C and up to + 120 °C. There are heat-resistant versions, whose parameters are 3–5 times higher.
- Maximum pressure – there are products on the market that can operate at pressures up to 8 bar as well as up to 16 bar. This parameter may be important depending on the paste application and is chosen individually.
- Composition – due to the fact that the sealing paste is used to connect water pipes that transport drinking water, it should not contain ingredients that are hazardous to health. Demand to see the Certificate!
- Packaging – often the packaging for a viscous substance is a tube or jar. The tube will give you the convenience of applying the substance, but the jar guarantees the full use of the paste. The practice of applying paste shows that it is impossible not to get your hands dirty in any case.
- Manufacturer – when choosing a product, we often give preference to the products of companies that have already proven themselves in this market. Therefore, we recommend that you look at the manufacturers described in the following heading.
Manufacturers of plumbing paste
You can find many foreign and Russian manufacturers on the market. Some of them have already proven themselves, and some of them appeared recently and already have regular customers. Evaluating the various quality parameters of the product and analyzing the broad base of reviews, we have compiled for you descriptions of the most popular manufacturers – Russian production has higher positions.
Masterpak plumbing paste
This paste is used in conjunction with flax for the assembly of threaded joints of pipelines for hot and cold water and heating. The use of the paste simplifies the assembly of joints and their subsequent disassembly, prevents the breakage of flax fibers, flax excessive swelling and rotting, increases the tightness of joints, protects the connection from corrosion.
The paste is used in combination with flax fibers to seal threaded joints in:
- Piping systems for hot and cold water;
- Heating systems;
- Low pressure steam heating systems.
The use of this paste greatly simplifies the installation of the system, protects the metal from corrosion, prevents flax from rotting, and provides a complete tightness of the connections for a long time, at temperatures up to 140 °C. And in contrast to teflon tape, the use of flax, combined with plumbing paste, allows you to align the connection to 450, and, in contrast to anaerobic sealants, allows to easily dismantle the threaded elements. The paste contains a corrosion inhibitor that prevents oxidation at the joint. This paste is an innovative product with a patented composition.
The paste has a certificate of state registration, confirming the possibility of its use in drinking water pipelines.
Why is graphite added to masterpak paste?
Anyone who has ever installed threaded fittings and used flax+paste to seal a connection has noticed that flax pastes come in gray and white colors, as well as transparent. With that, after using white and transparent pastes your hands are relatively clean, but after using gray pastes your hands are covered with gray plaque. So what is this gray matter and what is its role (obviously, not to get novice plumbers' hands dirty).
In fact, the gray color of these pastes comes from the graphite included in the pastes. The fact is that graphite has unique properties and is quite often added to various pastes and lubricants.
Let's look at the scientific data
Graphite is a mineral of the class of native elements, one of the allotropic modifications of carbon. Graphite has many useful properties and is widely used in industry, but we are interested in it because of its physical properties: graphite feels greasy and sticks well to the touch, and it also has the ability to adhere to solid surfaces, which allows you to create thin films when you rub it on solid surfaces. This property was noticed long ago and therefore, according to historical references, people started using graphite as a lubricant as early as in the 18th century.
Today, graphite greases are used quite widely due to the fact that graphite grease has a great advantage over other greases – durability. As a rule, these pastes are used to maintain units and mechanisms operating at high loads – in oil production, automotive, construction and agricultural machinery. In addition to wear protection, the lubricant prevents squeaks caused by friction between parts. In slow-speed gearboxes, it softens the contact of gears by absorbing the energy of impact interaction between the teeth. In everyday life, graphite grease is used to protect garage and door hinges, locks, etc. Due to good water resistance, the material does not require frequent replacement.
Graphite adheres well to metal surfaces (i.e., it stains more than just your hands) and once the oil film stops working, the solid graphite particles protect the metal surface from boundary friction, corrosion, scuffing, seizure and contact with abrasives.
Thus, if we compare graphite-containing and graphite-free plumbing pastes we can highlight a number of advantages of graphite containing, namely:
· Graphite gives additional antifriction properties to plumbing paste, and thus facilitates the installation (twisting) of thread connections.
· Graphite adheres to the metal contacting surfaces of threaded connections, and does not wash out over time, which eliminates the problem of seizing (sticking) connections, and thus such threaded connections are easier to disassemble.
Of course, the choice is up to the buyer, but in making the choice you need to prioritize: clean hands now or the ability to easily assemble the joint, and if necessary, to disassemble it without too much effort and problems.
Unipak sealing paste
Unipak sealing paste is a viscous gray substance consisting of fatty acids, natural minerals, high-quality paraffin oils and water. All the components used in production are approved for use in the food industry.
The paste provides absolute tightness of the joint and great flexibility when adjusting pipe connections. Even after prolonged use, it guarantees easy dismantling of threaded connections. Unipak Paste protects the flax in the joint against decomposition and prevents its oxidation, thereby protecting the joint against corrosion. Special mineral additives in the paste have the function of suppressing the formation of rust.
Unipak Sealing Paste together with flax can be used in threaded joints in water supply and heating systems at temperatures not exceeding +140 °C, as well as MaterPak Paste. It has no effect on the quality of water in the pipes. The connection is resistant to vibration.
Since this brand has left the Russian market and is no longer available, MasterPak can be considered the best analogue, which fully performs all the Unipak functions and is of the same quality.
Blind testing among plumbing professionals showed one hundred percent equivalence of paste compositions. No one was able to distinguish the compositions from each other either tactilely or during application.
Plumbing paste manufacturer
Today MasterProf is the leader of Russian market in the production and supply of plumbing fixtures in DIY-stores. Over 10 years, the majority of DIY chains in Russia have become company partners, including Leroy Merlin, Castorama, OBI, Maksidom, Petrovich, Baucenter and Akson – more than 70 counterparties, plus the representatives of small and medium-sized businesses.
MasterProf is an ideal choice for wholesale buyers, aimed at further sales in million cities, as well as in regions. The company has its own automated packaging production, located in St. Petersburg, which allows us to produce goods of European quality.
Production volumes of MasterProf today – more than 72,000 units of packaged products daily. Having our own localized production allows us to keep the constantly increasing prices for the products and keep them at an acceptable level, which distinguishes MasterProf from most competitors, acting as agents.
In addition to the in-house production, the company has an impressive analytics department, which is engaged in assortment development, monitoring of retail prices, and analysis of the active matrix.
The collected and processed information is compared with macro- and microeconomic indicators and allows for timely response to market changes, formation of an up-to-date assortment for wholesale buyers, as well as maintaining optimal purchase price of products.
This is the unique property of MasterProf – we monitor everything that is happening on the market of plumbing fixtures, collect data, form our own development strategies and offer real business cases for wholesalers, helping even beginners to increase profits by 30%.
Working with us, our wholesale customers get a ready range of packaged products, tailored to each case, a planogram of the product placement in the specified area, the recommended retail prices, formed taking into account the prices of competitors in a particular region and/or city, as well as ready-made fascia and handouts.
In addition to support for existing businesses, our experts have developed support measures for start-ups taking into account the specifics of business that is just beginning to operate.
Over the years we have helped to increase sales in more than 400 stores, 150 companies successfully sell our products in their outlets – join us!