How to Replace a Lift & Turn Bathtub Drain

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to Replace a Lift & Turn Bathtub Drain
Replacing a lift and turn bathtub drain isn't difficult. (la baignoire (2) image by fotogisèle from

Lift-and-turn bathtub drains are a middle ground between rubber stoppers and built-in overflow stoppers. Lift-and-turn drains work exactly how they sound: The stopper in the drain is opened by lifting it up and turning it to one side. Closing is exactly the opposite. Replacing a lift-and-turn bathtub drain presents a little more of a challenge than any of the other drain types, mostly because you have to first remove the lift-and-turn stopper. This, however, isn't difficult and makes for a good project for a novice DIY plumber.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • New lift-and-turn bathtub drain
  • Pliers (2) or drain removal tool
  • Plumber's putty

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  1. 1

    Remove the lift-and-turn stopper. This involves removing the screw cap on top of the stopper that holds it in the drain. Try to do this by hand at first, by twisting the screw cap counter-clockwise. If that doesn't work, use two pairs of pliers--one to hold the stopper in place, and the second to remove the screw cap.

  2. 2

    Remove the bathtub drain. Insert the pliers into the drain basket and grab onto the tines at the bottom. Twist in a counter-clockwise direction. You can also rent a basket removal tool from your local hardware or plumbing supply shop.

  3. 3

    Clean the drain opening. Use a putty knife to remove any old caulk or putty. Use a rust remover to clean off any rust spots.

  4. 4

    Turn the new drain basket over. Apply a thin bead of plumber's putty along the underside of the perimeter.

  5. 5

    Insert the drain basket into the drain opening, right side up. Screw into place with the pliers or with a basket tool. Wipe away any excess putty.

  6. 6

    Insert the stopper back into the drain, making sure to thread the lifter through the middle of the drain. Screw the cap back into place.

Tips and warnings

  • An alternative to plumber's putty is silicone caulk.
  • If you are concerned about scratching the finish on the drain when installing, cover the pliers with duct tape.

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