How to DIY a Shower Drain Repair or Replacement

At the risk of serious damage to your home, leaky shower drain should be repaired as soon as possible. While we offer these services with expert precision, many a DIYer has successfully repair their drains. To do so, you’ll need some household tools and—of course, a new drain. These steps to drain repair will restore your shower and make it less messy.

How to Perform a Drain Repair

1. Verify the Source of the Leak

Pour some water down the drain using a funnel. If you don’t see signs of leakage from the drain, the leak may be coming from a worn bathtub seal. In this case, fill the bathtub with water and look for leakage between the bottom of the tub and the floor.

2. Determine What Drain You Need

There are two main types of drains. The options include those with a trip lever, including foot lock, roller ball, and lift and turn drains. Those with trip levers include pop-up and plunger drains. While each may have its own installation guidelines provided by the manufacturer, we’ll continue with the general process of replacing your shower drain.

3. Access the Drain

If there’s a cover over the drain flange, remove it. Old covers may be stuck in place, so you may need a hacksaw blade to cut it and pry it loose. But if there is no access panel, locate where the shower pipes are, place a cloth or metal plan below where you cut into the wall (to catch any water), and use a drywall saw to cut a panel on your own (you should wear safety glasses if proceeding with this step). You’ll want to cut a piece that can be put back in the same spot after the drain is replaced.

Ideally, you’ll have access to the drain parts through the shower wall. In some cases, the only option is to make an access point through a closet or bedroom.

4. Remove the Leaky Parts

With the drain exposed, you should see where it is leaking from. There is usually some discoloration in the area of the leak. The drain body, strainer body, or gasket can be removed with pliers while a screwdriver is needed to remove the strainer.

5. Repair or Replace the Drain

A shower drain repair kit can be purchased at a home improvement store. It will have instructions that will show you how to disassemble and repair the shower drain. Usually, it’s only necessary to fix the parts that are broken. You can combine old and new parts if they fit together. If the entire drain needs to be replaced, swap out all the old parts for the new ones so there are no more leaks.

6. Test the New/Repaired Drain

Turn on the water lightly while observing how it flows into the drain. Then check the pipes below the shower (in the basement or on a lower floor) to see if there’s any leakage. Once you verify any leak has been fixed, you can go ahead and patch up the wall (using drywall mud and a mud knife).

Ceilings that have water stains should be repaired. Cut away the affected section and replace with a piece of drywall and drywall mud. This eliminates damage caused by the leak and lets you find and mitigate other potential issues such as mold.

Contact Black Hills Inc. Home Services

If you have questions about shower drain repair or aren’t comfortable taking on such a job yourself, our experienced technicians can help. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and are licensed and bonded so the customer assumes no risk when we work. And if you have an emergency, you can count on us 24/7. Request service online or call us directly at 888-538-5821 for help.