When you find that your bathtub overflow drain has become clogged and possibly rusted, you may be at a loss – is it possible to replace the drain, and if so, how can you do it in a way that will preserve your bathtub for years to come?
You could always go ahead and purchase a new bathtub, but that’s a costly solution to a problem that can be fixed with patience and a little elbow grease. You can also fix this so that it doesn’t leak – something which many homeowners find isn’t the case when they try to repair taps and drains on their own!
Option #1: Refinishing
If the rust around your overflow drain hasn’t eaten the overflow to the point where the gasket isn’t able to make a seal, you should be able to call in a bathtub refinisher – or alternately, you could refinish the tub on your own.
This kind of refinishing isn’t the acrylic overlay that many companies might expect – they often have severe mold issues in just a few years, and the amount of silicone used to hold the overlays in place may make your tub feel soft and unstable.
There are refinishing kits available from your local hardware store, and these can be purchased and used without much hassle. Instructions should come right on the kit box, and it’ll save you the time and money of inviting someone in and paying them labor.
Option #2: Replacing the Overflow
If refinishing the tub isn’t what you think you need, you could simply replace the bathtub overflow gasket. Grab yourself several materials: a screwdriver, pliers, screws in the appropriate size, a new gasket or drain seal, and bathroom caulk.
- 1) First, you’ll want to use a screwdriver to remove the overflow drain cap. When you have this opened up, take off the old drain seal with your pliers.
2) In order to put the new gasket in its correct place, you’ll have to put the screws in place first – this will help you to push back the drainpipe when it’s ready to go on. When you push, however, don’t put too much pressure on the pipe or else you’ll crack it.
3) Using screws, replace the drain cap and make sure that you have a tight hold between the tub and the new gasket, where the gasket and the drain should also be very tight together. Be very careful not to over-tighten the screws again, since doing so may crack the plastic drainpipe.
4) If you want to be extra careful, use a tube of bathroom caulk and seal the area around the overflow drain. This will ensure that the water doesn’t get back inside the drainpipe and rust around the overflow again. Be sure to run your finger along the bead of caulk to help fill in gaps and remove any excess caulking.
Option #3: Expandable Plugs
This solution is relatively simple, and mainly depends on your overflow drain also being still relatively intact. Head to your local hardware store, and look at the expandable plugs – the round rubber plugs that have a wing nut assembly at the top.
Then, get yourself a new, blank, overflow bathtub gasket or faceplate. Use the steps for installation in option #2 to get the plate on, and before you replace the plate, stick the plug inside and tighten.
While this doesn’t necessarily replace the overflow drain, it will plug up the area so that water doesn’t get inside the overflow and cause problems in the future – and after all, preventative measures are handier than actually having to solve the problem when it arrives.