Googling “how to remove a bathtub drain” brings about many different answers. That is because there are so many types of drains; it’s challenging to get a direct answer. A clogged drain is never fun, but someone has to fix it, right?
How to Remove a Bathtub Drain: The Easy Way
If learning how to remove a bathtub drain is giving you a headache, there is one easy solution. Instead of sitting there with a chisel and hammer, banging away at it. You could use some simple to use tools like a drain wrench or drain extractor.
There are many different ways to remove a bathtub drain, but those tools will help you through the process without causing any damage to your tub or drain.
We know, it’s easier said than done, right? If you find yourself still standing there in four inches of cold water; here are five simple steps to get things flowing smoothly again.
Step 1: Gather your tools
There are two different groupings of drains we’ll talk about here. For your standard drains which are foot locks, lift and turns, and roller balls you’ll have an easy time using a drain wrench. If you have a pop-up drain or plunger, the removal process may get a little more involved. These are the drains that have internal plugs.
For most drains, you need the following tools:
Once you have all your tools together, you want to identify the type of drain you have. A foot lock drain has a plug that you activate with pressure from stepping on it.
Lift and turn drain plugs operate in a similar manner, but you lift up on them and twist them to either activate or disengage the drain plug.
A roller ball bath drain looks similar to a lift and turn, but it doesn’t require you to turn. You’ll use your hand to lift and lower it which activates a ball underneath similar to how a sink drain would work.
Pop-up or plunger drains may have an internal or external stopper. For internal stoppers, you’ll have a faceplate above the faucet that you’ll have to remove to access the plunger inside.
All of these drains will require you to unscrew the drain plug before removing the drain flange itself.
Step 2: Removing any stoppers
Based on the information in the previous section, you should have identified your drain as one of those options. You’ll have to remove the stopper before you can access the drain below. Let’s break down each type of stopper, so you understand how to remove a bathtub drain in your home.
Foot-Lock Drain Stoppers
Open the stopper and turn it counterclockwise. You’ll have to hold the shaft to prevent the entire piece from unscrewing.
Continue turning until the cap is off and you should find a threaded post underneath. You’ll usually have to find a set of screws to unscrew them.
Lift And Turn Drain Stoppers
Twist the knob on top which will reveal a screw underneath. You’ll have to unscrew it which should pull the post out and allow you to take the entire piece out.
Turn the stopper knob which should reveal a set screw underneath.
Unscrew the set screw which should allow you to remove the post underneath. Once you do that you should expose the drain.
These drains have an overflow faceplate with a trip lever to set the plug underneath the drain. Open the stopper, and you should be able to pull the drain stopper out if you have an exposed one.
If the stopper is inside the drain, proceed to the next step.
Remove the screws from the faceplate just enough to make it feel loose. If you loosen it entirely, you might lose the piping into the walls.
Once you have them both loose, reinstall one, and you should be able to pull the entire piping out through the hole.
Step 3: Treating the drain
After removing your stoppers, you’re now dealing with another obstruction. You might have build up rust, mildew, or hair in the drain, so you want to do your best to get rid of that before removing the drain itself.
Use a product like Draino or your own homemade mixture to wash off the drain area and clean out the pipes before removing the flange. If your tub drains appropriately, you can bypass this step, but it never hurts to clean everything out.
Step 4: Removing the flange with or without tools
Now we have nothing in the way of the drain, and it’s time to get down to business. If you’ve decided to purchase a drain wrench, you can now proceed to insert that into the drain and start turning counterclockwise. You’ll notice the putty beginning to break, which is a good sign.
If you don’t have a drain wrench, you can opt for the old “knock it out” method. Using a small chisel, position it in between the tub floor and the flange and tap around the entire drain to loosen the putty. Use a hairdryer to dry it out which will help make the putty break apart easier.
Once you break the flange out, clean up any old putty before installing a new drain.
Step 5: Reinstalling or installing the new drain
Now you’re ready to install your new drain flange. Look underneath the tub to find a rubber gasket and ensure it’s still in good condition. Replace it if necessary. Take some plumbers putty and put it underneath the new flange.
Then you’ll insert the flange into the hole and turn it clockwise to meet the threads of the drain elbow below.
When the flange is hand tight, you’ll want to break out your drain wrench and tighten it more. Be careful not to overdo it because you’ll press the gasket under the tub, causing it to break the seal or even crack the tub.
Remove any remaining putty and install the stopper back in place.
How to Remove a Bathtub Drain: Savvy Homeowners Unite
You should now know how to remove a bathtub drain and drain flanges with ease. The most important thing to remember is that a drain wrench is an important tool, so it’s worth picking one up. Keep your pipes clean, and your floors dry by sticking to these five simple steps.
Be sure to leave us a comment letting us know any personal tips or tricks you might have for removing a bathtub drain!