How To Replace A Pop-Up Tub Drain

If your tub with a pop-up drain doesn't hold water or leaks, it is time to replace the pop-up drain. The tub pop-up drain consists of two parts: a stopper with a rocker lever reaching back to the drain and an overflow assembly, a handle with a spring-like end that raises and lowers a rod. The parts wear over time with much use, causing leaks and clogging that waste water. Here are some tips to replace a pop-up tub drain.

Prepare to Work

To replace a bathtub pop-up drain, you need:

  • tarp or old sheet
  • towel
  • bucket
  • brush
  • screwdriver
  • drain wrench
  • wired coat hanger
  • caulk
  • brush
  • drain cleaner
  • mild hardware cleaner
  • drain assembly

Lay a tarp or old sheet in the tub to prevent scratches from dropped tools or parts. Keep a bucket and towel close by, since the rocker arm will likely be clogged with debris.

Remove the Old Drain Assembly

Remove the stopper in the "up" position, or the highest position, and pull it from the opening. It should come right out unless it is attached to a rocker arm. In that case, move the arm across and away from the tub, when the stopper passes the opening.

If the drain appears to be clogged, try to unstop it with the pointed ends of an unbent coat hanger, or drain cleaner, before removing the drain. Clean moving hardware parts and linkage with a mild cleaner and brush, then lubricate. Pour a mixture of one cup baking soda and one cup vinegar down the drain followed by boiling water, put everything back in place, and check for drainage.

If unclogging and cleaning doesn't help, you will have to replace the drain. After you get the stopper out, move the drain around, and lift it from the hole, or use a drain key. Pry the cover plate trip lever off with the screwdriver, then remove the trip lever along with its linkage. You don't have to replace the linkage if it is not corroded.

Install the New Drain

Attach the new drain to the lever and cover plate, and set the assembly gently in the overflow drain, moving the parts around the bend until you see the linkage in the drain hole. Fasten the linkage assembly to the drain plug, gently set it in the hole, then reattach the cover plate.

Try the lever to test for proper operation. Caulk around the overflow drub and tub drain to make the seal tight cleaning extra caulk with a towel.

It isn't difficult to replace a malfunctioned pop-up drain. If replacing the drain doesn't work, hire a plumbing service such as Lewis Plumbing.