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Sealing tub drain leak near stopper...

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  • Sealing tub drain leak near stopper...

    I've got a new tub that I installed about 2 months ago. Everything seemed fine until last night, when it began to leak through the ceiling below. I took part of the ceiling out, and see that the leak is right where the tub drain meets the stopper.

    My question is: is there a way to 're-seal' this connection, maybe with silicone or other, without taking the drain or stopper out?

  • #2
    I am sorry to hear that you tore the ceiling out because we probably could have resolved the problem without going that far, but given that it is out this would be a good time to check what type of waste & overflow kit you have.

    The codes state that you may not have slip joints in a concealed location therefore unless the tub has a service access panel either from below or through an adjacent wall you are required to use a Glue-In Waste and Overflow kit.

    If you already have the glue in type Waste & Overflow and P-trap no problem, if not, this is an excellant time to change it to prevent problems in future.

    You will need a helper for this job because someone will need to hold the pipes steady from the underside of the tub while the over person installs parts from above.

    A glue in type Waste & Overflow Kit will come with three primary components, 1. the Drain Shoe which fits directly below the tub drain hole, 2. The Overflow body which fits at the overflow hole near the top of the tub, and 3. The waste Tee.

    In addition to the Waste & Overflow kit you will need a 1 1/2 Glue in type P-trap and about three feet of 1 1/2" PVC pipe.

    You will have to cut three sections of PVC pipe, one to connect the drain shoe to the Tee, another to connect the Overflow body to the Tee and a third to connect the bottom of the Tee to the input of the P-trap.

    The Drain Shoe has three parts, the Drain shoe which fits under the tub, a rubber gasket that fits between the top surface of the Drain shoe and the underside of the Tub, and the Drain Basket Assembly which is inserted through the tub drain hole from the top and screws into the Drain Shoe.

    The Overflow Also has three main parts, The overflow body and a rubber gasket that fits from the outside of the tub and a hanger bracket that spans the overflow hole on the inside of the tub with a couple screws to hold it in place.

    You may install those pieces and tighten them finger tight to get the final measurements for the PVC pipes, but do not tighten them at this time because you will have to move them slightly until you get the whole Waste and overflow glued together.

    You then must carefully cut a piece of PVC to make a riser from the drain Tee up to the Overflow Body.

    Cut another piece to connect from the Drain Shoe to the Drain Tee.

    Slip the P-trap on the waste arm, then cut a piece of 1 1/2 PVC to fit from the Waste &Overflow Tee to the input of the P-Trap.

    Once you have all the pieces fitted into place and the alignments all look good you may begin the final mounting steps.

    First, unscrew the Drain Basket out of the Tub Shoe and slip the rubber gasket out. Apply a thin film of clear silicone sealer to both the top and bottom surfaces of the gasket and set the gasket back in place, aligning it carefully with the drain hole.

    Properly you should apply a thin layer of Plumbers putty on the underside of the Drain Basket Flange, although some people prefer to use silicone sealer I find that it may be a problem later if you have to tighten the basket a bit more.

    Insert the Drain basket through the tub hole once more, and while someone holds the Drain Basket steady from the underside, use a "BASKET WRENCH" to tighten the drain basket in snug this time. (The excess plumbers putty should squeeze out, which you can wipe off with a wet rag.)

    Now slip the PVC connector pipe from the drain shoe to the Tee out, clean the ends with Primer, then apply glue and re-insert it in place, both on the drain shoe and tee end. Make sure the tee is properly aligned vertically with the overflow riser before the glue sets.

    Now slip the Overflow riser pipe out, again clean the pipe with primer, apply glue and slip it into place from the Tee to the Overflow body.

    Remove the Overflow Body hanger bracket and slip the rubber gasket out. Apply a thin film of silicone to both the front and back surfaces of the rubber gasket and re-insert it into place, (Notice that the overflow gasket is bevelled on the tub side. It should be aligned so it makes firm contact with the tub wall while the back side is flat and vertical, aligning with the overflow body.) then replace the hanger bracket and tighten it snugly in place.

    Slip the PVC trap to waste tee riser out, clean both ends with primer.

    Clean the end of the Tub Drain waste arm with primer.

    Apply glue to one end of the Trap to waste tee riser and set it into the Trap Input.

    Now Apply glue to the Top of the Trap to waste Tee riser, and the end of the waste arm, and slip the Trap into its final position.

    At this point the waste and overflow and P-trap are set. Now you must install the tub stopper and trim covers.

    If you have a toe-kick stopper it will fit into the drain basket and screw into the threaded hole in the drain cross at the bottom of the drain basket.

    If you have a lever type stopper, you will have a trim cover that fits over the drain basket and a screw that goes through the cover and screws into the threaded hole in the basket cross.

    If you have a lever type stopper, attach the stopper linkage wire to the back side of the control lever. There is usually a cotter pin to connect that together.

    Insert the stopper into the overflow hole and let is slip down the riser tube until the Overflow trim cover is against the tub. Examine the outer rim of the overflow cover and you will see a notched area that serves as the vent. Make sure that vent slot is on the bottom when the cover is in place, then insert the two mounting bolts to hold the cover in place.

    I would allow a couple hours for the silicone sealer to set before running any water in the tub.