There comes a time in life when the things in your bathroom start to look old, worn and outdated, and bathtubs are no different. There may be rust in the drain of your tub or around it, you may think the drain area is giving your bathroom a cheap, broken-down look, or you may be changing your washroom decor and want to spruce everything up. You are not a building contractor and you have a budget, so cutting costs and getting the job done properly are holding hands right now.
Replace the drain. You can avoid paying a ton of money on a new bathtub by simply replacing a bathtub drain. Keep in mind that old drains are going to be tough to remove and to make sure you do not damage your bathtub, you are going to have to work carefully.
There are plumbers with the experience to do the job right, and it is always best to call in the pros, but changing a drain is something you can do yourself, if you work carefully and know when to drop everything and call an expert. If you are that type of person, this information is for you.
Give a Tub a Fresh Look
Before doing anything, you will need easy access to your bathtub plumbing. Sure, you are going to have to do a bit of renovation to cover up the pipes once you have changed your drain, but replacing a bathtub drain is still easier and cheaper than replacing a whole bathtub.
To remove your drain, you will need a universal drain wrench or what is called a dumbbell wrench. A dumbbell wrench will only set you back about fifteen dollars at the most, so you will stay on budget. This handy little tool for replacing a bathtub drain drops right into your drain, and you push down hard on it while twisting it with a pipe wrench. Do not worry if the drain does not loosen right away, as old drains can take a lot of strength and coaxing to come loose.
You can also use a tailpipe expander when replacing a bathtub drain, and they are easy to find at an auto parts store. Choose the 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inch size. The smallest end goes into your drain (and you might have to remove a segment of the expander to get the right fit), then you tighten the expander until it has gripped the drain properly.
Use your pipe wrench to turn the expander and work the drain out. However, it is always best to use the right tool for the job, and the dumbbell wrench would be the one; the tailpipe expander is just an option.
Take the overflow plate off too, while you are at it. A twist of the screwdriver makes this job a breeze and your tub fittings will match to both look fresh. Once your drain and overflow plate is removed, clean the area with an appropriate product to remove all stains and mineral deposit.
A good type of product is one that has an active ingredient of phosphoric acid, which will make short work of the leftovers from minerals in your water. Get some silicone caulking while you are at the store, to make sure that your pipe fittings are well sealed. And while you are there, pick up a new PVC drain kit for replacing a bathtub drain.
What is left? Thread the basket into the drain, attach the stopper and linkage to the overflow plate, pop the stopper and linkage down the hatch, attach the new pipes, and give everything a good caulking to prevent leaks.