How to Remove and Install a Bathtub Drain | Badeloft

How to Remove and Install a Bathtub Drain | Badeloft

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  1. terminology
  2. what you need to install a bathtub drain
  3. bathtub drain installation steps
  4. installation frequently asked questions
  5. An important task associated with the installation of a new freestanding or drop-in bathtub is installing the bathtub drain. Assuming the main drain plumbing is already in the proper location for your bathtub, this can be a DIY job. Here’s what you need to know about bathtub drain installation.

    Reading: How to connect a bathtub drain

    drain terminology

    There’s more to your bathtub drain than meets the eye. You’re probably used to seeing bathtubs finished with a drain plug and overflow opening. however, there is quite a bit of hardware behind the scenes including various pipes, gaskets, cover plates, and flanges. Let’s start with drain terminology before we get into the details of drain installation.

    • drain stopper: Also called a bathtub stopper, the drain stopper is the part that rotates or snaps into position to prevent water from draining out of the bathtub. once lifted, the water flows through the drain plug into the drain pipes. drain plugs are available in several standard configurations including push-pull, pop-up, finger-touch, lift-and-twist, and flip.
    • drain flange – the plug The drain you see is part of a larger drain component called a drain flange. drain flange is also known as drain body or drain basket. it is a short cylinder that contains the plug that screws into the drain shoe.
    • drain shoe: the drain shoe, which is installed under the bathtub floor, connects the drain flange to a “drain tee” connected to the drain and overflow pipe.
    • overflow pipe: the overflow pipe leads to the overflow opening, located near the top of the tub. If you let the water run in a stopped bathtub, once the water level rises to the level of the overflow opening, it will drain through the opening and down the overflow pipe to the main bathtub drain to prevent an overflow.

    what you need for the project

    You’ll only need a few items to install a bathtub drain, including drain hardware, a few tools, and caulking tape.

    • bathtub drain assembly – For a completely new installation, you may need the entire drain assembly, including plug, drain flange, drain shoe, the drain tee, drain pipe, drain cover and any associated parts such as gaskets and bolts. If you’re replacing an existing tub drain, you’ll probably be using the existing drain shoe, drain tee, and pipes. however, you may need a new gasket.
    • tools: Assuming this is a new installation, you will only need a wrench and a flathead screwdriver, as well as a specific “smart” for drainage. dumbbell” or “drain wrench” to remove and install the bathtub drain. the type you need depends on the type of drain flanges you will be removing and installing.
    • supplies -make sure you have putty or plumber’s putty on hand to seal the edge of the drain flange sewer system. You can also use duct tape to cover and protect the exposed surface of the bathtub around the drain flange.

    bathtub drain installation steps

    note: these instructions assume that the pipes and drain shoe have already been installed.

    how to remove the drain

    identify the type of existing drain flange

    Is it a lift and turn bumper or a popup? if you know who made it, look for the manufacturer’s disposal instructions. if not, look up the removal instructions for the type of drain you have.

    use the proper drain removal tool

    The instructions will likely recommend the appropriate drain removal tool. Drain Dumbbells are commonly used to remove crossbar drains, while Drain Wrenches, which expand 360 degrees, can be used to remove other types of drains.

    read the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the old drain.

    check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you’re disposing of the old drain correctly.

    install a new bathtub drain

    Step 1: Thoroughly clean and dry the area around the drain.

    You’ll want to make sure any debris, buildup, or plumbing debris is completely removed.

    step 2: check the condition of the rubber gasket located under the bathtub.

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    If there is an existing joint, is it in good condition? if it doesn’t, or doesn’t exist, you’ll want to use the new one that came with the drain assembly or buy a new gasket.

    Step 3: To remove an existing gasket, gently pry it out with a flat blade screwdriver.

    If a drain shoe is installed, be careful not to misalign it; otherwise, you’ll need to realign it.

    Step 4: Install the new gasket by pushing it into place.

    place the gasket in the proper position.

    Step 5: Roll up a section of plumber’s putty.

    Roll plumber’s putty into a pencil-sized thickness and long enough to wrap around the drain flange. place the roll of putty under the edge of the drain flange, wrapping it completely. try not to use too much plumber’s putty as too thick a roll will interfere with flange positioning and may cause leaks. only a small amount of putty should come off as the flange is screwed into position.

    Step 6: Attach the drain flange to the drain hole.

    Slowly thread it by hand into the first few threads of the drain shoe. make sure it is threaded correctly and not crossed.

    step 7: use your smart dumbbell or drain key.

    Rotate the drain flange on the drain shoe until snug. thereafter, use a wrench for 25 percent of a turn to fully tighten the flange. be careful here as over-tightening could break the seal or crack the tub. keep an eye on the joint to make sure it has been held in the correct position.

    step 8: remove this with a putty knife.

    It is not uncommon for plumbers putty to appear around the rim or flange after it is screwed into place

    step 9: install the bathtub stopper.

    follow the instructions provided with your hardware and do a quick test to make sure there are no leaks.

    Step 10 – Remove the old overflow cover and install the new one (if applicable).

    If you’re also changing the overflow cover, this job is usually a simple matter of unscrewing a screw or two, removing the cover, putting on the new cover and screwing it on.

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    that’s it; just installed a new bathtub drain. After cleaning your project, your bathtub is ready to use. here are some additional questions to consider

    frequently asked questions when installing a drain

    what are your options for sealing a drain?

    To seal your bathtub drain, you have two options: plumber’s putty and silicone caulk.

    Plumber’s Putty is similar to clay and can be molded to fit various shapes, similar to regular clay. The advantage of plumber’s putty is that it can be used without a lot of prep work and you don’t need another chemical solution to remove plumber’s putty.

    simply mold it into the shape you want and apply it to the surface you are trying to seal. The downside of putty is that it will fail quickly, within 2-3 years it will become brittle and eventually crack.

    silicone caulking on the other hand comes in a long tube that you apply using a caulking gun. putty is a clear substance that, when exposed to air for an hour, will dry out and form a hardened skin.

    When it dries completely, you are left with a durable sealer that does not become brittle. The only real downside to silicone caulk is that it requires an additional chemical solution such as a caulk softener to remove, which makes it a bit more of a hassle to remove as it is quite durable.

    do you need a plumber to install a drain?

    no, you don’t need a plumber to install a drain. however, basic plumbing knowledge is recommended if attempting this installation for the first time. Installing a drain requires you to clean your bathtub and take care of your plumbing, which if you are inexperienced can lead to flooding or permanent damage, so check the steps above carefully, or consult a professional if you have difficulty.

    can putty be used instead of plumber’s putty?

    yes, and it is often recommended to use putty instead of plumber’s putty for most applications. however, for both putty and plumber’s putty, it’s important to understand that these two are not blanket solutions. Caulking should only be used on any surface that is not pressed and is used to seal against water ingress, primarily the area between the tub and the wall. plumber’s putty should be used in pressured areas or pipes to help against water intrusion. do not use plumber’s putty as a replacement for sealant in pipe joints; this is for teflon tape. Also, don’t apply plumber’s putty to join plastic pipes or use it on porous materials like granite or marble, as it will certainly stain those surfaces.


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    Related publications:

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    • how to install a freestanding bathtub
    • how to choose the perfect freestanding bathtub faucet
    • material comparisons for freestanding bathtubs
    • the definitive guide on cleaning and maintenance an independent bathtub
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