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How to Install a Bathtub Drain

by Nathaniel Miller

Bathtub drain

Things You Need:

  • Drain pipe extension
  • Pipe wrench
  • Hacksaw
  • Drain kit
  • Caulk gun

Bathroom plumbing can seem daunting, but some tasks, like installing a bathtub drain, can be surprisingly simple and easy bath improvement projects. Bathtub drains are designed so that water flows to a low point in the pipe, known as a trap, at which point the heavy sediments settle while the rest of the water travels down the pipe. While this helps your drain to keep from getting clogged and makes cleaning a tub drain easy, sometimes the low point can corrode or generate difficult-to-remove build-up, in which case you will need to replace the bath drain. Tackling the job yourself will greatly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses for this job. Installing a tub drain is moderately easy and should take less than an afternoon.

Installing a Bathtub Drain:

  1. Remove the drain toggle and the drain extension. Remove the drain toggle with a screwdriver. Then remove the drain cover and the drain extension. The drain cover should require little more than a screwdriver, but the bath drain extension may require some hefty pliers.

  2. Locate the access point for your bathtub's drainage system. It might be in the basement, crawlspace or outside door. If the bathroom is located on the second floor, use the access panel on the back side of the tub. If you're lucky, you will be able to access the old drain pipe from a crawl space, from the basement or from an access panel. If not, you may have to remove your bathtub.

  3. Remove the old drain pipe. Once you have reached this point, removing the pipe should be easy, involving unscrewing a couple fasteners and removing the pipe. If the pipe is stuck, try large pliers.

  4. Insert the new extension onto the base of the drain. If threaded pipe ends are available, simply screw the pipe in place and make sure the vent tube is free of obstruction. If you cut the pipe, use the adapters provided in the drain kit to connect the pipe and then screw down tight with a wrench.

  5. Install the new drain cover. Use the supplied hardware in the drain kit to install the drain cover in the bottom of the bathtub. Caulk around the edges of the drain with a caulking gun.

  6. Check for leaks. Make sure all of your pipe connections are tight, and then test the drain out by pouring some water in the bathtub.


  1. If you have access to the tools, you can also solder the pipes together when you connect them. This will ensure a water tight seal at all pipe connections.

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