A bathtub requires very less drain repairs unless and until there is corrosion of pipes after years of usage. Hard water and debris may accumulate in the strainer and pipes making the drain prone to cracks, breakage and leaks. If you have a drain leakage in your bathtub, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent any damage to your property. Let’s find out the steps involved in a bathtub drain replacement.
#1 Remove the drain basket
To start off, detach the plates that cover the drain basket by loosening the screws. Also unscrew the plate covering the overflow pipe. Use a special drain basket-removing wrench to rotate it counterclockwise. If you do not have the specialized wrench, you may insert pliers in the holes of the basket to turn it. If it is jammed, you may cut the sides with a sharp knife and pull the drain basket with pliers.
#2 Detach the fittings
Remove the overflow pipe behind the tub by unscrewing the nuts. Use pliers or tongue for loosening the pipes. If it is hard to turn the pipes, oil the threads of the pipes and try again.
#3 Remove the drainpipe
If you are replacing the whole assembly, you may need to remove the drainpipe. Metal pipes can be unscrewed using pipe wrenches while plastic pipes can be cut with the help of a hacksaw. Leave at least one inch from the main drain when cutting the pipe.
#4 Install the tub drain kit
Tub drain kits are easily available in any home improvement store and can be used to replace original assemblies in a bathtub. Hold the drainpipes in their position before fixing them. Check whether they are of exact length. If required, cut the excess pipe with a hacksaw to fit your tub perfectly. Clean the surfaces and place the pipes in appropriate places. If you do not have any helper, you may use a duct tape to hold the pipes in place while you work from inside the tub.
#5 Attach the drain basket and overflow cover
Place the gasket over the rim of the drain duct and press it firmly. Now apply plumber’s putty at the lower rim of the drain basket and attach it to the drain. Use pliers to rotate it in clockwise direction until it tightens and the excess putty squeezes from the sides. Remove the excess putty with the help of a knife and clean it with a cloth. Now screw the drain cover plate. Also attach the new overflow drain plate with the help of connecting screws.
Once all the attachments are made, fill the tub with water and check the overflow drain as well as waste drain for any leakages. If water is leaking from the drainpipes, try to re-align the drain. If you see leaks that are beyond your understanding, it is best to call a professional plumber for inspecting the fault. Although replacing the strainer and overflow cover can be done easily, replacing the drainpipes under the tub can be stressful. If you do not have standard plumbing tools, you may need a plumber’s help for retrofitting and replacing the whole drain assembly.