How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub

Bathtub leaking? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! A leaking bathtub drain can be a frustrating problem for homeowners, leading to inconvenience, higher bills, and potential water damage. It’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further complications and learn how to fix a leaking bathtub drain.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to fix a leaking bathtub drain, including replacing the drain, fixing a leaky pipe under the bathtub, and repairing a leaky faucet. We’ll also explore common reasons why your bathtub drain might be leaking. So, let’s get started and show you how to fix that leaky bathtub!

How to Tell If My Bathtub Is Leaking?

It’s important to inspect your bathroom for signs of water damage such as curling vinyl flooring, loose tiles, peeling paint, worn-out wood finishing, water stains on the ceiling, mold, or pooling around the base of the tub. Identifying these indicators early on can prevent more serious problems.

Why is My Bathtub Leaking Underneath?

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s take a moment to understand some common reasons why your bathtub drain might be leaking. By identifying the root cause, you can tackle the issue more effectively.

  1. Cracked Bathtub: The most common cause of bathtub leaks is a crack in the tub itself. Although not always easily noticeable, even fine hairline cracks can lead to significant issues. To check for cracks, simply fill the bathtub with water and turn off the tap. Examine the water closely for any areas that appear to be sucked down, indicating a crack.
  2. Worn-Out Gaskets: Over time, the gaskets that provide a watertight seal around the drain can deteriorate, leading to leaks. Constant exposure to water, cleaning chemicals, and regular use can contribute to gasket degradation.
  3. Loose Connections: The connections between the bathtub drain and the piping underneath can become loose due to regular usage or improper installation. Loose connections can cause water to seep through the gaps and result in a leaky tub drain.
  4. Corrosion: In older plumbing systems, corrosion is a common culprit behind bathtub drain leaks. Corrosion can weaken pipes, causing cracks or holes that allow water to escape.
  5. Faulty Faucet Components: A leaky bathtub drain can also be caused by a faulty faucet. Issues with washers, cartridges, or seals within the faucet assembly can result in water leakage that appears to originate from the drain.

By understanding these common reasons for a leaking tub drain, you can narrow down the problem and choose the appropriate solution. Now, let’s explore how to fix a leaking bathtub drain step by step.

How to Replace a Bathtub Drain:

Gathering the necessary tools and materials:

To start the process of replacing a bathtub drain, gather the tools you’ll need, such as pliers, screwdrivers, and a drain removal tool. Also, you’ll need materials like a new drain assembly, plumber’s putty, and a new drain if the old one is broken.

Removing the old drain

  1. Insert the Drain Key into the drain, ensuring to use the side that fits the appropriate size. The key is designed to accommodate multiple drain sizes.
  2. Use a screwdriver inserted through the body of the key to rotate it counterclockwise. Apply steady pressure while turning to loosen the old drain.

Note: If you encounter difficulty and the drain doesn’t turn, consider using a wrench or a pair of channel locks for added grip. Avoid using excessive force or hitting the tools or the drain with a hammer, as this can potentially break the bottom of the drain. Remember, a slow and steady approach is key to success in this process.

Cleaning the Seating Area and Applying Fresh Plumber’s Putty

Leaking bathtub

To ensure a proper seal, it’s important to clean the seating area and apply fresh plumber’s putty for the new drain installation. Follow these steps:

  1. Begin by clearing any debris or residue from the seating area. Thoroughly clean the surface to create a clean and smooth base.
  2. Scoop out a couple of quarter-sized chunks of plumber’s putty.
  3. Roll the putty between your palms, shaping it into a long roll resembling a snake made of Play-Doh.
  4. Take the rolled putty and place it around the drain hole, creating a ring of putty. It’s okay to overlap the ends slightly to ensure complete coverage. Use your fingers to shape the putty as needed.

Inserting the New Drain

To complete the installation of the new drain, follow these steps:

  1. Take the new drain and carefully screw it clockwise directly onto the plumber’s putty. Ensure that the drain is aligned properly with the drain hole.
  2. Note: Do not use the rubber gasket that may come with the new drain. This gasket is typically used for new installations and can be discarded for this repair.
  3. Apply constant pressure while screwing in the new drain until it is fully seated. Ensure a tight and secure fit.
  4. Remove excess putty and install the drain plug. Then screw in the new stopper.

From here, all that is left is to test your new drain. Make sure everything is working correctly and that the leak is no longer there! If you notice any water damage while installing the new drain, make sure you contact a water damage restoration specialist.

How to Fix a Leaking Pipe under the Bathtub:

The overflow tube is an important flood prevention feature found in every bathtub and sink. Its purpose is to prevent water from rising above a certain level by redirecting it back into the drainpipes. Over time, the fittings of the overflow tube can become loose, leading to water spilling out and dripping beneath the tub. If you find that yours is leaking, follow these steps:

Identifying the source of the leak: Recognize common signs of a leaky pipe, such as water stains or a musty smell. Inspect the area beneath the bathtub to locate the leak.

Temporary fixes: Use temporary solutions, such as plumber’s tape or epoxy putty, to stop minor leaks. Apply these temporary fixes safely and effectively.

Repairing or Replacing the Pipe:

Step 1: Removing the Overflow Cover Plate

Start by unscrewing the overflow cover plate. If there is a bracket underneath it, make sure to unscrew that as well.

Step 2: Removing the Overflow Drain Assembly

Gently pull out the overflow drain assembly along with the plug.

Step 3: Inspecting the Assembly and Gasket

Carefully inspect the assembly and the gasket. Check for any loose, corroded, or clogged parts. However, the most common culprit is usually an old, dry gasket.

Step 4: Removing the Old Gasket

Remove the old gasket from the pipe flange. You may be able to do this by hand, but if it proves difficult, you may need to use needle-nose pliers for assistance.

Step 5: Cleaning the Flange

Clean the exposed flange using rubbing alcohol to ensure a clean and secure surface.

Step 6: Installing a New Gasket

Insert a new gasket in place of the old one. Position the gasket in such a way that the thicker side is at the bottom. Work it into place around the overflow assembly opening, ensuring it is secure around the flange.

Step 7: Reattaching the Overflow Cover Plate

Reattach the overflow cover plate, ensuring it is tightly screwed back into place and then you are good to go!

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet in the Bathtub

A leaking bathtub faucet can be a frustrating issue that leads to water waste and increased utility bills. Luckily, you can fix this problem on your own with a few simple steps. Follow the steps below to repair a leaking bathtub faucet:

Step 1: Shut Off the Water Supply

Before starting any repair work, it’s important to turn off the water supply to the bathtub. Locate the shut-off valves near the faucet or shut off the main water supply to your home.

Step 2: Remove the Faucet Handle

Use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench (depending on the type of handle) to remove the screws or fasteners holding the faucet handle in place. Once removed, gently pull the handle away from the wall to expose the inner components.

Step 3: Assess the Parts

Take a close look at the various parts inside the faucet handle. Look for any signs of damage, such as worn-out washers, corroded parts, or a faulty stem.

Step 4: Replace the Faucet Washer

If the washer appears worn or damaged, it is likely the cause of the leak. Remove the old washer and replace it with a new one of the same size and type. This should create a proper seal and prevent water from leaking.

Step 5: Replace the Faucet Stem

If the faucet stem is faulty or worn, it may need to be replaced. Remove the old stem and install a new one that matches the make and model of your faucet. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation.

Step 6: Replace the Handle

After replacing any necessary parts, reattach the handle to the faucet. Tighten the screws or fasteners securely to ensure a snug fit.

Step 7: Check the Faucet Spout

Turn the water supply back on and carefully observe the faucet spout for any signs of leakage. If there are no leaks, you have successfully fixed the leaking bathtub faucet. If leaks persist, you may need to consult a professional for further assistance.

Still Need Help?

Fixing a leaking bathtub drain is a task that many homeowners can tackle themselves. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can replace a bathtub drain, fix a leaky pipe under the bathtub, and repair a leaky faucet.

If you notice your bathtub is leaking water and causing water damage or find a leak that’s too tough to solve and need a water mitigation specialist, contact the professionals at Jenkins Restorations.

We take specific steps to reduce the property destruction, to prevent any potential mold growth, and to restore the property back to its original value.

Have You Recently Dealt With a Bathtub Drain Leaking?

After a leak, make sure to call Jenkins Restorations to get your home – and your life – back to normal again.