Shower Drain Replacement: What’s involved?
A leaking shower drain may cause immense damage to your property. If you see dampness in the ceiling or wall under your shower area, it could be due to a leaking drain. There could be many reasons why your shower drain is leaking, the main being a probable clog. Soap scum, hair and dead skin cells along with bathroom trash tend to clog the drain if not cleaned regularly. Hard water also causes damage to the drain, which shows up as leaks. Replacing the drain may help in reducing the water seepage through the floor and surrounding walls. Here is how to replace a shower drain from the top without opening the ceiling below.
#1 Detach the metal grate
Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws that hold the metal grate in its place. You may need to open two or more screws depending on the specific model. Be careful while opening the screws as it may drop in the drain and increase your work. Keep the screws on a safe platform for attaching the grate later. Gently lift the grate to get access to the strainer.
#2 Open the strainer
Hold the center of the strainer with pliers and rotate it counterclockwise. When it is loose enough, use your hand to pull it from its place. Also remove the hardened plumber’s putty that was previously applied to attach the strainer to the drainpipe. Use a knife to clean the plumber’s putty that is sticking to it. Make sure you do not damage the drainpipe.
#3 Remove the gasket
You will find a gasket at the rim of the drainpipe. Using a knife and your hands, pull the gasket. Gaskets tend to wear with continual use and leak water through it. Discard the old gasket and clean the rim of the drainpipe with a rough cloth. If there are hard water deposits near it, scrap a little to clean the area.
#4 Prepare the drain for the new gasket
Once the gasket is detached, remove any deposited waste and water. Get rid of any previous plumber’s putty. Use a cloth to dry the area. Use a metal brush for cleaning the threads of the drainpipe for fixing the new gasket.
#5 Replace the gasket and strainer
Slip the new gasket in the rim of the drainpipe. Use your fingers and press it firmly so that it sits appropriately in its place. Take a generous amount of plumber’s putty and roll it to a snake-like structure. Apply it to the underside of the rim of the strainer to completely cover it. Place the strainer over the gasket and rotate it in clockwise direction so that it gets attached to the drain. You will see some amount of putty squeezing from the edges of the strainer. Use a knife to remove the excess putty from the drain. Screw the metal grate on the top of the strainer and let the installation dry before using it.
Although, a shower drain replacement can be easily done to prevent leaks, a professional plumber should address a bigger leakage issue. If the leakage is from any other part of the drain, you may need to tear open the ceiling. It would increase stress and require special skills. For such cases, it is best to hire a plumber for an effective leak proofing of the shower drain.