Replacing a pop up sink stopper

Written by violet woelfel
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Replacing a pop up sink stopper
Pop-up drain stoppers are easy to use and maintain. (old ugly sink image by Tomasz Stelmach from

Pop-up sink stoppers are common drain fixtures. They are raised and lowered by a rod on the faucet. The parts of a pop-up sink stopper will occasionally wear out. New pop-up drain assemblies can be bought as complete sets. You can replace the stopper without redoing your whole faucet, as long as the finish on the new stopper matches your current fixtures.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Towel
  • Pop-up drain assembly
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Pipe thread sealant

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  1. 1

    Pull the old pop-up stopper out of the drain by hand. Twist it loose, if it sticks.

  2. 2

    Remove the retaining nut that connects the horizontal pivot rod to the tailpiece, using an adjustable wrench. Pull off the gasket.

  3. 3

    Pull the end of the pivot rod out of the tailpiece. Remove the pivot rod and spring clip from the rest of the lift assembly.

  4. 4

    Loosen the screw connecting the lift rod to the holed strap. Remove the strap. Pull out the lift rod.

  5. 5

    Loosen the nut connecting the tailpiece to the pipe beneath it. Remove the tailpiece with the pliers.

  6. 6

    Remove the nut and gasket from the drain body. Have someone hold the top of the drain still, if it spins.

  7. 7

    Pull the drain up and out of the sink. If the drain doesn’t leak, skip this step.

  1. 1

    Clean the area around the drain, above and beneath the sink, with a towel.

  2. 2

    Apply plumber’s putty to the base of the new drain, if installing one, with your fingers. Fit the drain through the opening. Press the drain down into place. Secure with the gasket and nut, making sure the drain doesn’t spin. Wipe off excess putty.

  3. 3

    Apply pipe thread sealant to the end of the new tailpiece. Attach the tailpiece to the drain. Make sure the vertical opening faces the back of the sink. Adjust the nut on the drain piece to achieve proper alignment, if necessary.

  4. 4

    Apply sealant to the bottom of the tailpiece. Connect the tailpiece to the pipe beneath it. Adjust the pipes as needed. Tighten the tailpiece and pipe connections.

  5. 5

    Fit the new lift rod through the opening in the faucet.

  6. 6

    Attach the new strap to the lift rod with the screw.

  7. 7

    Slide one side of the new spring clip over the new horizontal pivot rod on the end without the ball. Fit the end of the rod into the appropriate hole in the vertical strap. Slide the clip forward until it touches the strap. Slide the rod through the other end of the clip to secure it in place. The clip will form a “V” around the strap.

  8. 8

    Place the balled end of the horizontal rod through a nut and gasket. Fit the rod into the tailpiece. Tighten the gasket.

  9. 9

    Slide the new drain stopper through the drain. The lift assembly should hold it in the up position.

  10. 10

    Pull and push the top of the lift rod a few times to test the stopper.

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