How to Install a Tub Drain

A tub drain is an essential part of bathroom hardware. Whether a homeowner is installing a new bathtub or replacing a drain that does not work, it has to function properly in order for people to keep water in the tub for baths, and keep the water moving down the drain for showers. The drain keeps the water flowing out of the tub and through the pipes and plumbing of the house. There are several different types of drains, the most popular being trip lever drains. Tub drains in that category include the plunger and pop-up style drains. Some tubs still have the lift and turn style of drain. The trip lever drain is the most versatile drain for different plumbing systems. Install a tub drain that will accommodate several different types of bathtub hardware.


  1. 1
    Assemble the overflow pipe. The drain-waste-overflow pipe assembly must be positioned correctly. Place the rubber gasket on top of the waste overflow, which is the top opening of the pipe. Align the drain tailpiece at the bottom of the pipe with the tub drain hole.
  2. 2
    Apply plumber's putty around the bottom part of the drain flange. Place a thick layer that covers the bottom of the flange. Clean any putty off the bathtub immediately to avoid having it dry and stick to the tub surface.
  3. 3
    Place the drain flange in the hole of the tub, on the bottom. Adjust it within the hole, and screw the drain flange into the drain tailpiece opening. Make sure it is secure, but not overly tight in case it needs to be adjusted later.
  4. 4
    Purchase the trip lever and drain hardware. These components can be found at any hardware or home improvement store. Choose something that will fit tastefully with the decorative theme of the bathroom.
  5. 5
    Assemble the trip lever and the pop-up drain stopper according to the package instructions. Do not attach the stopper to the tub. Leave all the connections loose so that they can be tightened and adjusted during the installation process.
  6. 6
    Feed the trip lever assembly through the overflow hole in the back of the tub. The hardware should come with screws. Fasten the trip lever assembly to the tub overflow cover plate.
  7. 7
    Attach the pop-up stopper to the link at the bottom of the trip lever hardware. Tighten and secure the stopper.
  8. 8
    Tighten all screws and pieces once everything is in place. Use a screwdriver to make sure there are no loose pieces, or gaps and holes between the hardware and the tub. Turn on the water and test the bathtub drain. Make sure the water pools when the drain lever is flipped up, and drains when the lever is flipped down.


  • Remember to remove an existing drain before installing a new one.
  • Remember that home improvement projects can involve unexpected complications and problems. Depending on the age of the home and the pipes, installation of a tub drain can be complicated. If leaks, rusting or water pressure problems are detected, contact a plumber.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty
  • Trip lever hardware
  • Drain hardware
  • Screwdriver

Article Info

Categories: Plumbing Drains Waste and Vents