Fixing A Leaking Drain: A Simple Sink Repair That You Can Do Yourself

10 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Unlike a task such as water heater repair, in which a simple shift of a hood vent could spew deadly carbon monoxide into your home, sink repairs such as fixing a leaking drain can often be performed by the average homeowner. 

All you need is an adventurous spirit, an above average tolerance for exposure to smelly, unpleasant substances, and some minor contortionist skills for working under the sink.


Follow these instructions:

If your sink is leaking from the drain, you will need to replace the gasket beneath the sink and the plumber's putty between the drain and the recess in which it sits.

The drain gasket is a flat rubber ring that is secured to the bottom of the sink by a large metal nut. When you go to the home improvement store to purchase the gasket, be sure to get a residential gasket, rather than a commercial gasket. Residential gaskets are uniform in size, so you don't need to look for a specific size. Pick up a small tub of plumber's putty while you are there.

To remove the sink drain, you will loosen the plastic expansion nut that secures the drain pipe to the sink trap below it. You'll need an adjustable wrench or locking adjustable pliers. After you loosen the expansion nut, loosen the larger steel nut directly below the sink drain. This should only be hand tightened, so no tool is needed to remove it. Leave the large nut on the sink trap below.

When the larger nut is removed, the drain and drain pipe can be lifted from the sink. You will notice a ragged ring of degraded and watery putty inside the recess of the sink. All of this old putty will need to be removed from the recessed area of the sink and the bottom of the sink drain itself. It smells as unpleasant as it looks, so be prepared. Some of the firmer portions of old putty may put up a resistance to being removed.

After all of the putty is cleaned away, you will take some new putty from the tub and roll it between your palms to form a bead that is about one quarter inch in diameter. If you are wearing plastic gloves from the old putty removal, you will need to remove them first, because the new putty will stick to them. Plumber's putty has a slight smell that is not altogether unpleasant, and it has the consistency of modeling clay.

When the bead of putty is formed, place it inside the recessed area of the sink until the entire circle around the drain hole is filled. You will then place the drain pipe through the sink drain opening and place the rubber gasket over the drain pipe, and push the drain pipe until it is inserted into the sink trap opening below. Press the drain against the ring of putty until putty begins to appear around the edges of the drain.

Place the rubber gasket against the bottom of the sink drain, then retrieve the large nut from around the sink trap and lift it to the threaded connection on the bottom of the sink drain. Hand tighten the nut until it secures the gasket against the bottom of the sink. Don't use a wrench because you could damage the sink.

Tighten the plastic expansion nut at the top of the sink trap with a wrench. Using a plastic knife, cut away the excess putty from around the sink drain.

Turn on the sink and take a look below. You have now risen to the rank of amateur plumber.

If the task of repairing a leaky drain seems to involved for you, contact a plumber like those at Rapid Rooter Of Central Oregon.