Step-by-Step Guide to Shower Drain Seal Replacement

Fixing a leaky shower drain doesn’t necessarily involve extensive, time-consuming work. You don’t have to break through from the ceiling below, nor do you need a professional plumber’s help. Here is an easy step-by-step process for shower drain seal replacement.

Remove the Drain Flange

You might have to pry an old drain flange loose or, in extreme cases, cut it with a hacksaw blade. Once the drain cover is removed, you should see the compression gasket. This is a circular part that fits between the drain hole and the drain fitting. Carefully inspect its condition. The gasket stops water from leaking, so if it’s bent, cut, or otherwise damaged, replace it.

Next, remove the shower drain body. The rim of the drain may be coated in grime or rust. Clean it thoroughly before installing the new gasket, and then reinstall the shower drain body. Follow the product’s instructions if replacing the gasket, which always goes at the bottom of the assembly. Below are additional steps to further ensure the drain is leak-free when you’re done.

Apply Plumber’s Putty

A strong seal will ensure your project is successful. Plumber’s putty is a substance that’s very effective for sealing a drain. Hardware and home improvement stores typically sell it in small tubs. Remove a piece of putty and use your finger or a putty knife to coat the bottom of the shower strainer. Once the rim of the assembly is coated, screw it into position. Then wipe any excess putty from around the edges.

As an alternative during shower drain seal replacement, you can apply:


The shower strainer body has a top lip that fits over the drain hole and a funnel-like design below that. You want to seal the underside against leaks. The threaded screws for the drain grate and drain fitting just hold the drain in place. To create a seal, apply caulk around the underside of the strainer, where it contacts the shower pan flange, and on the strainer fitting’s threads. Screw the strainer in and let the caulking dry.

A Note About Applying Putty or Caulk

If you use too little material, the seal won’t be strong enough and the shower drain may still leak despite the work you put in. A sign you’ve used enough is when excess putty or caulk appears around the edges while re-inserting the drain body. If you don’t see this, remove the part and add more. Excess material can be easily removed with a damp towel. 

As an alternative to these options, you can also use silicone sealant, which is readily available in home improvement stores.

Contact Black Hills Home Services

Our licensed plumbing technicians can repair any type of plumbing fixture. No repair is too big or too small for them to handle. Throughout Olympia, our team is trusted for drain cleaning and repair and all kinds of bathroom plumbing services. If you have a leaky shower drain and aren’t comfortable fixing it yourself, contact us online or call 888-978-2917 for shower drain seal replacement.