Skip to Content

Tub Drain Gasket Or Putty? [A Comparison Between Two Sealants]

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

You installed a new tub drain and now you’re confused about which sealant to use. Generally people become confused between gasket and putty. That’s alright, we’ve got you covered. 

What to choose to seal the tub drain gasket or putty? 

Both choices seem rational. Putty is ideal for plumbing fittings whereas a gasket is used to seal overflow pipe. Whether you want to use putty or gasket depends on a lot of factors. For example, if the fitting is a drain or pipe. Or if there’s a high water pressure or temperature. 

We have a detailed discussion about these two in our article. You can figure out what’s suitable for you.

Read along to find more about the two sealants!

Tub Drain Gasket or Putty: Quick Comparison

People often ask what’s the difference between gasket and putty. In order to understand which is better for you, you need to know the insights. 

But before that, let’s give you a brief idea about these two:

ShapeSelf-adhesive rubber blend Moldable, made of clay
Location Suitable for all fits Not suitable for high water flow
Life-span5-20 years 6-12 months
PriceExpensive Cheap

Tub Drain Gasket or Putty: Detailed Comparison

The above information on the table may not be enough for you to pick one already. That’s why we have provided the detailed differences between gasket and putty for your convenience.


A plumber’s putty is moldable that may be shaped after being warmed in your hands. It’s made of clay and contains vegetable or mineral oils to keep it flexible. It will not harden, shrink, dry out, or break down. 

A gasket on the other hand, is self-adhesive that seals tightly in all types of drains. Gasket technology includes rubber extrusion that can be used to get rid of vent flapper noise.

Suitable for Fitting

A plumber’s putty is ideal for sealing plumbing fittings, but it is not suitable for pipe threads. 

The gasket is suitable for all kinds of fittings. 


A tub wrench or pliers are used to attach the strainer insert. The plumber’s putty is squeezed into your drain opening of the tub (around the insert). And the strainer is tightened, producing a leak-free seal.

The tub overflow gasket is located behind the overflow plate and seals the bathtub’s overflow pipe. The overflow gasket, like other rubber gaskets, can dry up over time. An aged and dry gasket may no longer sustain a watertight seal due to compression. 


Plumber’s putty offers one benefit over sealants like silicone. It makes it easier to disassemble the plumbing components later. The putty maintains its pliability.

A hefty rubber gasket accomplishes the seal on the underside of your tub and kitchen sink leakage. It threads the drain plug into the elbow part of the drain line before going over it.

Final Verdict

Although putty is suitable to prevent any leaks, it’s better not to use it for a tub drain. Pipe threads should not be sealed with putty. It doesn’t have the right consistency. It should not be used to seal anything that is subjected to strong water pressure.

If the gasket is installed on top of your tub and is too hefty, it will create a barricade around your drain. This prevents water from draining.

On the top of the tub, use putty and under the tub, use the gasket. 

How to Use A Gasket and Putty? 

We’ve shown you the comparison between gasket and putty. Now it’s up to you whether you want to use a putty or gasket to seal your tub drain. 

We’ll show you both ways you can seal your tub drain. 

How To Use A Putty DIY Method?

To properly apply the plumber’s putty, begin by loosening the drain lip by removing the nut. You’ll find it beneath the tub drain. The nut is connected to the drainpipe just beneath the bathtub.

Now, squeeze out some putty. Roll it into a thin roll with a diameter of approximately 14 inches after unscrewing the nut. Put the loose drain lip using the roll of putty. 

After that, reconnect the nut and tighten it. As the nut tightens, the drainage lip will be firmly pressed against the tub surface. This ensures a tight seal. It may take some time to dry depending on your surface. Before the plumber’s putty dries, remove any excess. 

How to Install a Gasket?

Remove any existing caulking around the edge of the tub drain cover plate. Do this using a utility knife or scraping tool. Using a screwdriver, remove the overflow cover plate.

Here are some of our top picked screwdrivers for your convenience- 

Product 1
Product 2

Place the replacement overflow gasket in the tub drain aperture and center it. To get the gasket into place, gently press back on the overflow pipe.

Return the tub drain trim plate to its original position by tightening the screws. Make sure the gasket is squeezed into place. To help prevent future leaks, caulk over the grout of the overflow plate.

The seal on top of the tub is mostly irrelevant. Its purpose is to ensure that water remains in the tub once the plug is fitted. Water does not seep into the ceiling because of the gasket under the tub. 

That’s all we had to offer on the tub drain gasket and putty. You can choose your preferred sealant based on our discussion and use it following our instructions.


Question: Do you need a plumber’s putty on the tub drain? 

Answer: It’s good to apply putty on damp surfaces. A plumber’s putty works best because it forms a watertight barrier.

Question: Is a plumber’s putty better than a gasket?

Answer: Even though a plumber’s putty is a less expensive alternative, the rubber gasket is recommended.

Question: Where can I use the plumber’s putty?

Answer: Putty is a basic plumbing item that can be bought at any hardware shop. At least one kind is available at most stores.


We hope you’ve made up your mind whether to go for a tub drain gasket or putty. 

Even though we showed you the DIY methods to use gaskets and putty. If you’re not sure how to seal your tub drain pipe, feel free to contact a plumber. 

Take care!