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Old 10-23-2011, 10:47 AM   #1
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New shower drain installed, but gasket not sealing

I'm now on my third attempt to replace our shower drain in the upstairs bathroom. The installation has gone smoothly each time except that, as with my other attempts, the compression gasket is not forming a watertight seal around the ABS pipe.

The gasket is compressed to just a hair below the top of the pipe and I cannot compress it any further. However, whenever I run the water in the shower then a little bit of water always pools up around the lip where the gasket and pipe meet. From the bottom of the shower drain I can see water forming around the bottom of the gasket where it rests in the drain. It hasn't actually leaked yet, but I'm afraid this is not normal and that as soon as I patch the ceiling it will actually start leaking.

Is it okay/acceptable to use a bead of regular silicone caulking (the same stuff I used on the underside of the strainer lip itself) between the lip of the compression gasket and ABS pipe?

The instructions with the shower drain don't say anything about doing this and I don't want to risk compromising the integrity of the gasket if this is not acceptable or if I should use a different kind of silicone or other waterproofing agent.

As a side note, I just have to say that I think a shower drain with a compression gasket is a terrible design. They just don't seem to create a uniform, watertight seal around the pipe.

Do they make shower drains where the body of the drain fits inside the pipe it's connecting to? This seems like it would be a superior design.


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Old 10-23-2011, 12:20 PM   #2
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I wouldn't use silicone at this time simply because if the fix doesn't work you would/could have a helluva silicone mess to also deal with. And, you wouldn't know for many hours if the fix took properly because you have to wait for the silicone to set-up.

The possibility exists that the gasket is somehow distorting at the final moment it is being tightened. This could be a bur causing a distortion, check to see that all mating surfaces are smooth. Then use some Vaseline or vegetable oil or something to lubricate the fit before tightening everything and see if that works.


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Old 10-23-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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I've seen too many "no caulk" drains fail. Replace it with a solvent weld drain.
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:17 PM   #4
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Compression drains are used in installations where there is no access to the trap/drain pipe beneath the shower (such as in a basement installation, or maybe in a condo unit where your neighbor doesn't want his ceiling cut open). Use fittings that can be glued if you have access from below.
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:26 PM   #5
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" Do they make shower drains where the body of the drain fits inside the pipe it's connecting to? This seems like it would be a superior design."

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Old 10-23-2011, 09:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies. I ended up putting some silicone where the gasket and top of the pipe meet earlier this afternoon. I used my finger tip to rub it around the gasket/pipe lip and made sure it got in between the miniscule gap between the two.

This seems to have done the trick as I am no longer seeing any water build up from the bottom between the gasket and the bottom of the shower drain.

If I felt comfortable trying to do a solvent weld I would have gone that route, but I've no experience doing that. It does sound as though that is the best long-term solution.

I certainly would not recommend anyone use a compression gasket-based shower drain if they can help it. The seal that a compression gasket makes is suspect IMO.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, one of the shower drains I tried to install previously was supposed to be a top-down only solution, but I quickly learned those aren't all they are made out to be either. While I felt the gasket solution was better - there were 3 screws to tighten which would apply even pressure to the gasket all the way around the body of the pipe - the 3 "wings" which were supposed to catch the bottom of the shower when tightening three other screws didn't fully catch.

Fortunately I already had access from the bottom when I went to test this because water came streaming down from where one of the "wings" didn't catch properly. If a typical person would have tried to do all of this from the top and assumed everything had gone well they would have had an absolute mess to deal with!


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