How to Caulk a Drain

Four Methods:Removing the Face PlateRemoving the DrainCaulking the DrainReplacing the Drain

To keep drains functioning properly, apply some caulk to their underside before you screw them in. The caulk will act as a seal around the outside of the drain, helping to direct water to exactly where it should go.

Method 1
Removing the Face Plate

Many drains have a grid cover or face plate that helps to catch debris and prevent it from entering the pipes. Screws hold this grid in place, not caulk, and so they must be removed before the drain can be caulked properly into place.

  1. 1
    Locate the screws on either side of the grid; there should be two.
  2. 2
    Unscrew each of the screws and set them aside.
  3. 3
    Lift off the cover. If it is stuck, insert the screwdriver into one of the grid holes and use it as leverage.
  4. 4
    Gently twist the grid side to side until it is removed.
  5. 5
    Set it aside with the screws for later.

Method 2
Removing the Drain

The drain is caulked immediately before it is screwed into the pipe. To caulk it, you must first remove it from the pipe and clean away any build up or old caulk.

  1. 1
    Unscrew the flange and tailpiece from the drain.
  2. 2
    Twist the flange counterclockwise until it and the drain begin to come loose from the pipe.
  3. 3
    Clean the threads of the drain, as well as the underside of the flange.
  4. 4
    Remove any old caulk from the threads of the drain as well as any build up that may interfere with the new caulk's hold using a small scrub brush.
  5. 5
    Rinse the drain well with water and let it dry completely.

Method 3
Caulking the Drain

The new caulk is applied to the threads of the drain piece you have removed. The caulk will seal the threads of the piece to the pipe, creating a watertight seal.

  1. 1
    Cut the tip off the tube of caulk with a utility knife.
  2. 2
    Insert the tip of the caulk tube into a caulk gun.
  3. 3
    Push the plunger of the gun into the back of the tube and tighten it.
  4. 4
    Pull the trigger a few times to prime the tube.
  5. 5
    Hold the drain's tailpiece in your non-dominant hand so the threads are easily visible.
  6. 6
    Place the tip of the caulk tube against the threads at a 45 degree angle and squeeze a thick, continuous line of caulk all the way around the threads of the drain.
  7. 7
    Make sure the threads are covered completely.

Method 4
Replacing the Drain

Reassemble the drain with the fresh caulk to finish the job.

  1. 1
    Screw the drain back into the pipe tightly. Some caulk should squeeze out from under the lip of the drain's flange. This will create the waterproof seal around the outside of the drain.
  2. 2
    Wipe away the excess caulk with a wet paper towel.
  3. 3
    Replace the face plate on the drain and screw it down tightly.


  • Use a kitchen and bathroom caulk to ensure that it is waterproof.


  • There is no such thing as too much caulk in a drain installation. Err on the side of applying more caulk than you think you need to the drain's threads, rather than not enough. The excess caulk will be squeezed up and out forming a tight seal. Failure to use enough caulk will result in the drain leaking.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Caulk
  • Utility knife
  • Caulk gun
  • Wet paper towels

Article Info

Categories: Plumbing Drains Waste and Vents