How to Install a Bathtub Drain Pipe

A drain pipe for bathtubs is an essential piece of bathroom hardware. It doesn’t matter if you are installing a new tub or replacing an old one, you need to have a drain that functions properly. This is so water stays in the tub when someone wants to have a bath and water also drains when taking a shower.

The purpose of a drain is to make sure the water flows out of the tub and through the pipes and plumbing of the house. Tub drains come in many varieties with the most popular being trip lever drains which is the most versatile drain for any plumbing system. Plunger and pop-up style drains fall under the category of trip lever drains.

All that said, the best thing you can do is to install a tub drain that can accommodate various kinds of bathtub hardware. But leaks are also a problem that you should expect over time. And this is a problem that you should remedy as quickly as possible because it can cause serious water damage if not corrected.

So whether you’re showing off your property or are putting it up for sale, making sure that your tub drainage is working properly helps a lot. After all, no one wants to purchase a house with a bathroom that breaks down after just moving in. Plus, it also shows responsibility on your part as a homeowner that you really cared for your home by maintaining it and fixing problems.

Problematic Tub Drain Pipes

But even if you’re not selling your home, it’s still very important to pay attention to the drain pipes of your bathtub. The last thing you want as a homeowner are leaks that can worsen as time goes on. To avoid such issues, regular maintenance and proper use of your tub should be practiced. For example, you can set rules on what should be done right after someone uses the tub. It can be as simple as picking up visible hair and throwing them away rather than letting them fall down the drain.

The Parts of a Tub Drain Pipe

The drain pipes of a tub are comprised of the following:

  • The tee-fitting
  • The waste pipes leading to the main drain

That said, the actual drain from the tub pipe and the overflow pipe are also considered as part of the drainage system. The type of drain pipe that is in place factors in when replacing the current pipes and the tools used.

Installing a Bathtub Drain Pipe

Bathroom plumbing may look daunting but some tasks related to it like installing a bathtub drain are not that difficult to pull off. In fact, it’s a project that you can do by yourself – yes, it’s a simple and easy bath improvement project.

A bathtub drain is designed in such a way that water flows to the lowest point in the pipe which is known as a trap. At this point, the heavy sediments will settle while the rest of the water will travel further down the pipe. For some time, this will help your drain from getting clogged. However, there’s a chance that the low point will corrode or produce buildup that is difficult to remove. If this is the case, you need to replace the bath drain.

Now that you know all that, here’s how to install a bathtub drain pipe:

  • Take off pipes connecting the overflow to tub drain basket. You remove the overflow cover by turning out the attachment screws found on the cover plate. The way you remove the drain basket is by inserting one screwdriver at each side of the basket then turning them in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Remove the tee-fitting located behind the tub. If it is made of plastic, use tongue and groove pliers so the connecting nuts can be loosened.

Use two pipe wrenches in case it is made of metal. Attach one wrench on the pipe you don’t want to turn then while the other will be attached to the pipe that will be removed. Turn the wrench on the pipe that will be removed while also holding the other wrench still. In case they don’t unscrew, use penetrating oil on the threads.

1. Connect a PVC tub drain kit to the tub. Both the upper cover overflow plate and drain assembly retrofits over the original. Spread silicon on the gasket then use a screwdriver to tighten the plate. Use a pair of screwdrivers to screw the tub drain basket. Apply silicon on the gasket where the pipe links to the basket and use tongue and groove pliers to tighten the fitting. The tee-fitting will then be connected to the overflow pipe and the tub basket drain pipe. Use pliers to tighten the connecting nuts.

2. If the original pipe is in good shape and not leaking, you can connect the tee-fitting drain pipe. If it is a PVC fitting, there is a screw-on connecting nut or the fitting is cemented using PVC cement. In case the pipes that lead to the main drain are bad, proceed with the next step.

3. Take off the drain pipe that leads from the tub to the main drain. If it is made of metal, unscrew it by using two pipe wrenches. The first wrench will hold the joint steady in the area where the pipe connects and the second one will unscrew the pipe. In case the connection is made of PVC, cut about an inch from the pipe that is away from the drain with a hacksaw.

4. Use PVC and proper connectors to replace the old pipe. All of these materials can be found in your local hardware store. Additionally, you can get a PVC pipe that has the necessary threads to screw into pipe made of metal. Make sure to wrap the threads with Teflon tape or cover them in pipe dope before you tighten the PVC pope. In case you are connecting PVC to PVC, cement a coupler on the one-inch cut piece leading to the main drain. Then use PVC to cut the rest of the PVC pieces in order to fit and cement them together.

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