DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (
-   Plumbing (
-   -   Replace tub's drain ring without removing tub? (

BradG 12-17-2007 08:27 PM

Replace tub's drain ring without removing tub?
I'm having our tub re-glazed soon and I'm wondering if it's possible to remove and replace the chrome plated ring around the drain without removing the tub.

There's no way to access the underside of the tub as the walls and floor of our co-op are concrete. I'm not sure if this thing can just be unscrewed without drain below falling away.

Mike Swearingen 12-17-2007 09:13 PM

Sure. Heat the old plumber's putty (under the drain lip) with a hair dryer to loosen it up. There is a special tool to go down into the crosspieces, but you don't really need one since you can carefully remove it with the handles of a pair of channel-lock pliers stuck down in the crosspieces and a screwdriver in the channel-lock teeth for leverage to unscrew it counter-clockwise.
Clean the old putty out of the depression around the drain hole.
The tub drain shoe (female threads) under the drain should not move much. It has a rubber gasket on top of the shoe under the tub, but you should be able to re-seal the new drain piece (male threads) completely with new plumber's putty.
Just roll a roll of fresh plumber's putty in your hands about the size of a pencil, wrap it around the hole in the depression, and tighten the new drain down on it. Clean off the excess putty and save it back in the can. There is no need to seal the fine threads of the drain.
Good Luck!

jpplumber 12-17-2007 11:53 PM

The hair dryer idea is not bad especially if the shoe below is also made of brass and not plastic and it looks to be brass, however the cross of the part you are trying to get out looks rather weak with age and can snap and then it is time for a hacksaw, chisel and hammer. I would recommend the proper tool on this one (not full proof either, but better) as it will apply force distributed on all four pieces of the cross and be less likely to snap, plumbers call it a dumb bell and it can't be more than 10 dollars and you can also use it to put the new drain back in. There are also occasionally some odd thread sizes on older brass shoes, so make sure to take the chrome drain with you when you purchase the new one to match the threads.
I am sure the person refinishing the tub will take precautions to prevent any debris or refinishing material from going into the shoe with the drain removed?

BradG 12-18-2007 06:42 AM


Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen (Post 81446)
Sure. Heat the old plumber's putty (under the drain lip) with a hair dryer to loosen it up.

Thanks. Would a heat gun (used for stripping paint) be overkill or damaging? I don't actually have a hairdryer but I've got one of those.

jpplumber 12-18-2007 06:57 AM

A heat gun would do fine as long as the shoe is brass. I have never even tried to apply heat before removing the drain, most of the time it just spins out with the dumb bell (tool)...but most shoes are plastic these days and don't seize.There is also a rubber seal under the tub between the shoe and the tub, I can't imagine you getting it hot enough to melt the rubber but a new seal comes with any new drain you purchase although on older drains the rubber is about half the thickness as new seals, (and tricky to remove from above) so it is best to leave the old rubber seal in place if not already leaking or damaged and let the new putty seal it from above.

flashpipe 12-18-2007 08:31 AM

I removed the drain plug on our old cast iron tub (I tried unscrewing it with a dumb bell, but the drain was an odd, old pattern that didn't fit, I tried using vice grips which I couldn't turn, but I was able to make a hole in the drain grate big enough to fit a chisel in and then I was able to twist the chisel and it unscrewed that way!) and the enamel looks like there's some rust around it (see and ). Before I put the new drain in, is there anything I can do to help protect the enamel, or is this something I shouldn't worry about?


Mike Swearingen 12-18-2007 08:52 AM

I would use a rust cleaner like Iron Out or naval jelly or something to clean that rust out, and then I would "paint" it with liquid "Touch-Up" which is an enamel repair that comes in a little bottle with a cap brush (like nail polish). It is made especially for repairing enamel appliance chips and dings, comes in bright white, and drys hard as a rock.
Although your rust area probably won't show, it is best to try to inhibit it while you have the drain out.
"Touch-Up" can be found at most appliance stores. Before applciation, you clean the area with acetone (nail polish remover), dry it with a hair dryer, brush the "Touch-Up" on and let it dry overnight.
Good Luck!
P.S. If those crosspieces break out, I've used a hacksaw blade to saw a "V" notch in the upper edge of the drain and then a hammer and chisel to drive it back around counter-clockwise to unscrew it. That works too.

flashpipe 12-18-2007 08:53 AM

Great!! Thanks!!

Mimi McBubble 03-17-2009 09:28 AM

Very bas rust around cast iron tub's drain ring...
1 Attachment(s)
I just saw the photo of the last post, and mine is MUCH worse. I bought an old house, with a cast iron tub. They had refinished it, and most of the finish was flaking off. I scraped all of it off with a straight edge razor. I would like to remove the drain ring and clean out all of the old rust. I was thinking of using that stuff you find at an auto parts place. It is black, and you paint it on (once all of the loose rust has been removed). I then thought I would use that touch-up paint you can get for tubs. Do you think this would work? I'm open to suggestions.

Thank you,


p.s. See photo below

flashpipe 03-17-2009 09:35 AM

Not sure if that would work or not, but I know the navel jelly and touch up worked great for me...colors are very close and it's holding up great!

Mimi McBubble 03-17-2009 09:38 AM

Oh thanks for the advice! Did you buy the plumber's dumbbell to get it out? And did you find that heating it up helped? Thanks again.

BradG 03-17-2009 11:17 AM

Follow up
Well, to follow up on my thread, the maintenance guys in our building told me it could not be unscrewed so I just installed a chrome "strainer" cover (like below). It was just as well, as I think we needed it anyway to prevent hair clogs.

flashpipe 03-17-2009 11:21 AM

In my post below, I mention that I bought the plumbers dumbell, but my tub was so old, it didn't fit. I tried heating it and using needle-nosed vice grips, but that didn't work, just bent the metal cross pieces. I ended up using the hacksaw blade (like Mike suggested) and a chisel to tap it and unscrew it that way...worked a treat!

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:29 AM.

vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1