Bathtub drain installation guide

Written by dakota wright
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Bathtub drain installation guide
A bathub drain may become faulty overtime and need replacement. (drain black and white image by askthegeek from

Your bathtub's drain is a very important assembly of pipes that fit together to do an important job. When working properly, the bathtub drain should take water to the sewer and keep your bathtub from overflowing. When leaks are present, the drain assembly is faulty and needs to be replaced.

You can purchase many different types of drain assembly as a replacement for your faulty bathtub drain. Plumbers recommend the twist-and-close type of drain assembly. These kits are fairly easy to install and reduce the risk of failure or leaks in the future.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Drain kit
  • Plumber's wrench
  • Hacksaw
  • Plumbing caulk or putty
  • Screw driver
  • PVC primer
  • PVC cement
  • Extra pipe and fitting (optional)

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  1. 1

    Make a cut on the existing drain close to the floor with a hacksaw. Make sure the drain is cut squarely so the new drain kit will seat properly.

  2. 2

    Remove the old drain kit with a plumber's wrench and screwdriver. Attach the plumber's wrench to the pipe unions and turn it in a counter-clockwise motion. All the pipe should be removed completely from the tub.

  3. 3

    Dry-fit the new drain pieces together, making sure each one is fully seated on the next. The drain kit should fit the new tub. If it does not, you will have to add a section of pipe and a pipe fitting. When you are happy with drain placement and alignment, mark a guideline around the pipe above the fittings. This guideline will show you where the fittings should rest when you begin gluing them.

  4. 4

    Remove any rough edges from the pipe with sandpaper. Apply PVC primer to the pipe ends. Apply PVC cement to the pipe ends and fit these pieces together, meeting the guidelines you marked before. Wipe off the excess glue with a rag while it is still wet.

  5. 5

    Place a small bead of plumbing caulk or plumbers putty under the chrome drain outlet. Screw the drain down, applying pressure to make it seat well. Insert the rubber gasket into the shoe elbow, which is the pipe that goes under the tub. Attach the drain pipe fitting to the shoe elbow and screw the assembly together with a plumber's wrench.

  6. 6

    Insert the gasket into the drain overflow fitting. Pass the drain overflow through the tub with the fat side facing down and attach it to the overflow pipe behind the tub. Screw the fittings together with a plumbing wrench. Screw the screws into the chrome overflow cover.

  7. 7

    Pour water into the drain to test it for leaks. Reinstall a plug assembly if you had one. Plug the drain and allow the tub to fill up to test the overflow for leaks.

Tips and warnings

  • Accessing the bathtub drain may be difficult and require a professionals help.
  • Follow the instructions on the drain kit assembly.
  • Always test for leaks before closing the access to the drain assembly.

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