How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain

How to fix a leaky shower drain by tracing the water stain on the ceiling to the shower, take apart the drain and replace the cracked shower drain body and rubber gasket. The repair cost about $30 for new parts.


How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain

I noticed a water stain on the drywall ceiling in the finished basement. I’ve learned to always look at the ceiling when I walk into a room because I’ve had other shower leaks – see How to Fix a Shower Leak Behind the Wall. The copper water pipes and PVC drain plumbing runs under the floor joists in the ceiling crawlspace, so something must be leaking. Time to get the ladder and flashlight to find the leak.

Leaky Shower Drain Water Stain on Drywall Ceiling

Leaky Shower Drain Water Stain on Drywall Ceiling

I quickly traced water leak to the shower drain plumbing below the master bath where water is dripping from the U-bend onto the basement ceiling. I placed an aluminum pan on the under the U-bend to catch the drips. This is the view of the crawl space between the basement ceiling and main floor of the house. It’s not possible to walk or crawl on the suspended drywall ceiling because the drywall won’t your weight and will break.

Water Leak from the Shower Drain Plumbing

Water Leak from the Shower Drain Plumbing

Aside: Also see this related article for cutting an access panel in the drywall to diagnose and fix a leaking shower arm on the fresh water supply side.

I worked my way around the crawlspace to get a better view of the shower drain. Water stains are evident around the drain body, plywood subfloor and floor joist.

Leaky Shower Drain: Shower Drain and PVC Plumbing

Leaky Shower Drain: Shower Drain and PVC Plumbing

Here’s a closer look at the leak source around the shower drain body. The water leak is between the drain body and bottom of the shower pan.

Leaky Shower Drain: Shower Drain Body and Water Stains

Leaky Shower Drain: Shower Drain Body and Water Stains

A dusty-white evaporation trail from the shower leak is visible on the floor joist to the left.

Leaky Shower Drain: Gray/White Color Water Stains on Floor Joist

Leaky Shower Drain: Gray/White Color Water Stains on Floor Joist

Now that I’ve identified the source of the water leak, how do I fix it?!

Shower Drain Installation Diagram and Parts

Shower drains are made somewhat differently depending on the construction of the shower pan, either a preformed pan or a pan that is built on-site with a vinyl liner over a mortar bed. The Sioux Chief Mfg Co. has a nice range of screw on, snap-in, no-caulk, modular, etc shower drains. For an overview of a shower drain for a tiled shower pan with a vinyl liner, click here.

I have a preformed fiberglass shower stall in the master bath that has a modular screw-in solvent-weld shower drain like this model by Sioux Chief.

Here the drain strainer body is removed to show how it fits into the drain body:

Shower Drain Repair: Solvent Weld Shower Drain

Shower Drain Repair: Solvent Weld Shower Drain

This shower drain installation diagram shows how the shower drain is put together and installs against the shower pan. My shower is leaking between the shower pan and rubber gasket. Click on the image for a larger view.

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Shower Drain Installation Diagram

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Shower Drain Installation Diagram

My drain is a “solvent weld” model, meaning the drain body is glued to the PVC pipe with PVC primer and glue.

Bottom of Solvent Weld Shower Drain and 2-inch PVC Pipe

Bottom of Solvent Weld Shower Drain and 2-inch PVC Pipe

This repair is continued in How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 2.

Regards,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2014 HandymanHowTo.com   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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43 Responses to How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain

  1. Walter M. Ligon July 3, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Thanks for the information. Easy to fix if you know what to do. My drain leaked due to the plumbers putty drying out after being gone for two weeks. A nice way to come back from vacation.

  2. Scott G March 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    Great website and photos. Really helpful. My shower developed a leak due to a cracked strainer body and NO gasket between the drain body and shower pan. I think I understand why the installer did this (although I don’t agree). On my shower, the pan is so thick that the strainer body threads barely engage the threads in the drain body. The strainer body threads should be at least 1/8 to 1/4″ longer, in my opinion. In my case, the installer evidently omitted the gasket to allow for slightly more thread engagement. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly) this resulted in a poor seal, especially if there is any type of blockage in the drain pipe which allows water to back up and stand in the drain body. If anyone knows of a solvent weld shower drain with a longer threaded portion on the strainer body, I’d love to hear about it so I could swap mine out. I installed the rubber gasket this time, of course its extra 1/16″ thickness reduced by that much the thread engagement. I did not install the friction gasket, and don’t think it serves any purpose for the type of repair illustrated here. It is needed for initial installation, if you are rotating the drain body against the rubber gasket. However, if you are re-assembling the joint by tightening the strainger body you should leave the friction gasket out, because the friction that develops between the drain body, rubber gasket, and shower pan actually helps carry the applied torque. If the friction gasket is installed, then nearly all of the installation torque must be carried by the PVC pipe and solvent weld to the drain body.

  3. K Chute August 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    What if the leaky ceiling is the kitchen and the shower stall is on the second floor where you cannot get to the plumbing???

  4. Jerry McMillan January 10, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Hello Bob,

    I have tried to repair this three different times and it still leaks. I replaced the friction gasket with a plastic one. Once things were tightened I noticed that the rubber gasket was off set and this was leaking. The drain itself is not centered so I held it while someone else screwed the drain back in. That seemed to work at first, then it started leaking again. I have tried a lot of putty and a little putty. I noticed that either way with the putty it is pushing out between the gasket. I even tried some automotive gasket seal on the plastic friction gasket to keep it from moving. Any last words before I have to make the dreaded call to a plumber? I notice that you are in the Atlanta area. I live in Acworth, how much would you charge to come out and fix this since it is giving me such trouble? Thanks again, love the site…Jerry McMillan

    • Bob Jackson January 10, 2011 at 10:19 am #

      Hi Jerry,
      Plumber’s putty shouldn’t be squeezing out between the rubber gasket. It may be assembled incorrectly or the leak could be coming from somewhere else.

      I’ll help you repair it for free this weekend in exchange for documenting the repair for publication on HandymanHowTo.com. I’ll e-mail you offline. Should be interesting!

      Thanks,
      Bob

  5. Chuck Nowlin March 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Excellent repair post. I feel like you saved me big $$$$$. I too, had to go to 5 different plumbing supply stores to find the piece with the right thread size. But once I did, I had it repaired in no time. I just have to repaint the stain on the ceiling below this weekend and I’m done.

    Thanks for your help!

    Chuck N.
    Boston, Ma

    • Bob Jackson March 10, 2011 at 5:21 am #

      Wonderful! I appreciate the feedback.

  6. edward c. hildebrand October 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    (phone number removed for privacy) read your repair comments and have been doing that. still have leak. no freeplay to slide drain body, back and forth as you said. cleaned drain body and shower pan lip with pvc cleaner as best i could. bought new offset valve for the gaskets. paper gasket now replace with white looking plastic? gasket. put that gasket on bottom and rubber gasket on top. used some silicone sealer Menards was pushing. Will use plumbers putty tomorrow. This am wife took shower and i watched drain entire time no leaks. this pm i took shower and leaked badly. silicone was junk and waterproof caulk around drain plate was a waste. how to clean shower pan lip underside completely?

    • Bob Jackson October 13, 2011 at 7:20 am #

      Did you find the cause of the original leak before the repair? Was the strainer body cracked like mine? I’m wondering if something else is cracked – maybe the shower pan such that it only leaks when your weight is on it. For example, the silicone seal held for the first shower, but your weight caused the shower pan to flex breaking the seal and it leaks during following showers.

      Can you see the plumbing under the shower pan similar to this photo?

      My recommendation is:
      1) Take the drain apart and closely examine the drain hole in the shower pan for cracks with a bright light while pressing your weight on it. I think a crack here is unlikely.
      2) Clean all surfaces thoroughly – especially the top of the drain body and bottom of shower pan where the black rubber gasket will lay. Any dirt or old gasket material here can cause a leak. This was the problem of the failed homeowner repair that I corrected in this follow-up project.

      You said there is “no freeplay to slide drain body, back and forth” which will make it difficult to clean the top of the drain body and bottom of the shower pan – so I think this is more likely the cause of the new leak. If you can access the bottom of the shower pan from the basement or crawlspace, you might be able to carefully pull downward on the plumbing to allow 1/2″ of clearance to clean the surfaces. If the pipe won’t allow for wiggle room, you’ll need to saw the vertical PVC drain pipe in two, clean everything now that you have unobstructed access and glue in a PVC union.

      Since you’re making an “old work” repair, you can omit the clear plastic PVC anti-friction gasket and only install the black rubber gasket for a better seal.

      Let me know what you find.

  7. T. Sparks October 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Hello Bob,

    I live in a loft with concrete floors and it has a small shower stall up on wood. My shower starting leaking about a week ago and at first I thought it was the caulk around the shower so I replaced it but it still leaked. So I took off the step in front of my shower to get underneath and ran water and found the leak coming from the drain body. So after finding this wonderful site, I tried to repair it but I am having trouble getting the strainer body to release. I’ve tried channel locks and a long screw driver but still no luck. I was wondering if you have any other tricks or tips.

    Also mine does look slightly different from the one pictured, it has two square pegs cutout and those are what I’ve been trying to use for leverage.

    Thanks,

    T. Sparks

    • Bob Jackson October 16, 2011 at 8:42 am #

      Do you have a fiberglass shower pan? It could be the strainer body was sealed with silicone caulk to the lip of the shower pan. Silicone caulk holds much stronger compared to Plumber’s Putty and it may be very difficult as you’ve found to unscrew the strainer body without breaking it.

      Before undertaking destructive repairs, try to figure out your exact style of shower drain. Tile shower drains are made differently than those for a fiberglass shower pan. Take a look at the Sioux Chief Mfg Co. screw on, snap-in, no-caulk, modular, etc shower drains and the installation instructions for each. Look under the shower stall to help determine your drain style. For example, does your drain have a lock nut under the shower pan that should be loosened first? You can tell because there will be screw threads on the drain body below the nut as opposed to a solvent weld drain.

      If you’d like to send photos of the drain from above & below the shower pan, I’d be happy to take a look.

  8. T. Sparks October 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Bob,

    I believe I have a plastic shower pan but it does have some texture to it. And after taking the photos I believe you are correct with the locking nut. I will let you know but in the mean time I would like to send photos just not sure how to without your email address.

    Thanks again,

    T. Sparks

  9. mike January 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for the excellent article and photos. A very well put together howto.

    I have a shower drain leak on a second floor fiberglass shower tray. I noticed it from a ceiling stain on the first floor. Before I open up the ceiling, I wanted to figure out what type of drain I have and perhaps fix it from above and avoid opening the ceiling from below.

    From the Sioux Chief link you provided I believe I may have a push joint module like the 829-S2. My strainer certainly looks like the 829’s but I’m a novice and would appreciate your help in identifying the drain type. The drain doesn’t have any manufacturer stamps on it but the strainer has a stamped “JS” logo.

    Below are links to photos of the drain with the strainer removed, the strainer and the manufacturers logo on the shower tray.

    Shower Drain

    Shower Drain Strainer

    Jacuzzi Shower Pan Base

    Thanks
    Mike, Marietta GA

  10. mike January 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Thanks for the info and links Bob. Much appreciated and yes the info did help.

    Before I ordered up that Pesco tool, I thought I would try and unscrew or at least move the inner body of the drain by lightly tapping on it with a screwdriver and rubber mallet. It came off as small ring with a slow thread into the body of the drain :-

    Shower Drain Sealing Nut / Caulking Nut

    Now the drain looks like the image below and you can see the thread where the ring went in :-

    No Caulk Shower Drain – Sealing Nut Removed

    I am beginning to think I have a non-standard drain here.

    thanks

    • Bob Jackson January 16, 2012 at 11:02 am #

      I believe we can identify your shower drain. It’s probably an Oatey no-caulk shower drain or model that is very similar.

      This Oatey product photo of a PVC drain is similar to yours, but the sealing nut (a.k.a. “caulking nut”) details are better seen in the brass model.

      See these Oatey no-caulk installations instructions and these color photo instructions for how your shower drain is assembled.

      What’s probably happened is the locking nut on the bottom of the shower pan has worked it way loose over time, relaxing the pressure on the ring rubber gasket against the bottom of the shower pan and the cylindrical rubber caulking gasket that fits over the 2″ PVC pipe. The caulking gasket is what you see around the PVC drain pipe in your pictures.

      The challenge your going to have to replace the shower drain with a new no-caulk drain is getting access to the bottom of the shower pan to replace the old locking nut. You’ll have to cut an access panel in the 1st floor ceiling to get at the bottom of the shower pan and drain. Check the alignment of the shower pan with respect to the 1st floor ceiling because the leak stain on the ceiling could be a few feet away from the shower if the water traveled along the drain pipe or floor joist before dripping onto the ceiling.

  11. mike January 17, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Thank you so much for the help Bob.

  12. Mrazz February 11, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Any suggestions how to effectively break free a metal strainer without busting the fiberglass pan?.

    • Bob Jackson February 11, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Shower drain strainers are attached with screws or snap-in. The snap-in models should have a small notch to insert a screw driver to pry it off. If this doesn’t solve your problem, please send a photo.

  13. mike February 20, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Bob you were totally right about the type of drain I have as an Oatey no-caulk type, with a lock-nut securing it to the underside of the shower pan.

    I finally got around to cutting into the ceiling and identified the leak coming from the point where the lip of the drain body meets the underside of the show pan. It wasn’t much, just a small droplet forming and then dripping. You were also right about the lock-nut, it was loose. As soon as I removed it the old drain popped right off the end of the pipe with little effort.

    I bought a new brass Oatey no-caulk drain, the lock-nut type, No 421503. $20 at Lowes. From the shower stall, I was planning to use 100% silicone to seal around the drain lip where it meets the top side of the shower pan. Then put the drain in from above, pushed onto the top of the pipe, then tighten the lock-nut from below. Should I use plumbers putty to keep the lock-nut secure?

    The shower pan is 5/8″ thick at the point of the drain (not including the lip), with the overall pan thickness of 3/4″. It is braced with the floor beams pretty well but I may put an extra cross brace in.

    Ceiling cut out:
    Drywall Ceiling Cutout - Shower Drain Repair

    Photo of damage to sheetrock:
    Drywall Ceiling Water Damage - Leaking Shower Drain

    Ceiling cut out showing the faulty drain :-
    Shower Drain Underside through Ceiling Cutout

    Old drain removed:
    Leaking No Caulk Shower Drain after Removal
    Shower Pan and Drain Pipe

    New shiny oatey brass drain, $20 at Lowes:
    New Oatey No-Caulk Shower Drain from Lowes

    Thank you so much for the expert help.

    Mike

    • Bob Jackson February 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      Nice work and excellent photos!

      Cutting into the ceiling was the only way to do the job. You could install a plastic access panel and save the bother of finishing the drywall.

  14. Mike Madd May 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I don’t usually write comments on forums; however, your detailed visual instruction regarding a leaking shower drain repair warrants this comment. Thank you Bob! In this tight economy you have saved my family a costly repair job. GOD BLESS You. Keep up the good work.

    • Bob Jackson May 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks for writing. I’m happy for you.

  15. Don August 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Hi Bob.
    I have a one piece fiberglass shower stall in the master ensuite on the second floor. About 2 1/2 years ago we detected a stain on the popcorn ceiling on the first floor. A plumber was called. He said the ceiling needed to be opened and a new drain installed. As a quick fix alternative, he cleaned out the area around the drain in the shower and filled it in with silicone caulk. That solved the problem for about 1 1/2 years , when the stain reappeared. On that occassion I decided I would repeat what the plumber did. That held for about 1 1/2 years, until this week. The stain is much larger this time. I wouldn’t mind cutting into the ceiling if it weren’t for the fact it is popcorn surface. I found this site and I’m very impressed with the detailed descriptions and outcomes for others who have tried this fix. I decided I would try the repair. I now need help identifying my situation. I cannot find any markings/model numbers. I will be happy to provide photos if you opt to help me out. Thanks.
    Don

    • Bob Jackson August 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

      I’d be pleased to help you. E-mail the pictures of your drain to bob (at) handymanhowto.com – replace (at) with the @ sign. I’ll post them here if we figure out a solution for you.

  16. Tom Guidera March 2, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Hello, Bob Jackson,

    I want to thank you for this wonderful explanation of the leaking shower drain issues. It was a great help to us in trying to diagnose the problems, and deal authoritatively with a contractor (who had at first glance proposed cutting the shower pan out . . . yikes.)

    Keep up the great work.

    Best wishes,
    Tom

    • BobJackson March 2, 2013 at 10:32 am #

      You’re welcome and thanks for writing!

  17. A.D. June 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    This is a great forum but my situation is a bit different (although it could be the same result). My second floor shower stall leaks very slowly down to my kitchen dry-wall ceiling. However, it ONLY leaks when someone is standing in the shower. We experimented with just standing back in the stall to ensure water splash was not causing the leaking (its not). Does the weight causing the leak lead you to believe the drain and/or the pan is actually leaking? We cut into the ceiling and the water is NOT directly from the drain area … its coming down a floor joist which makes this unprofessional DIY-er think its the pan. The stall is tile so I’d like to know what I’m getting into prior to rippin’ it up. Thanks for you help!

    • BobJackson June 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

      > Does the weight [of a person standing in the shower] causing the leak lead you to
      > believe the drain and/or the pan is actually leaking?
      Shower pan liner is very tough material and let’s assume the shower pan liner is installed correctly.

      I believe the weight of a person standing in the shower causes the shower pan to flex, which opens a crack in the PVC drain base body or along the solvent weld between the drain base and the PVC drain pipe. If the crack is in the flange of the drain base (refer to the Oatey shower drain diagram in the above link), the leak could run horizontally along the subfloor and down the floor joist.

      What concerns me is a tile shower pan built on a mortar bed should not flex. Flexing suggests the mortar bed is not thick enough and/or additional cross bracing between the floor joists is needed to support the subfloor. Try this: lay a steel or aluminum yard stick on edge across the shower drain. Shine a flashlight behind the yardstick along the tile to illuminate the gap between the straight edge and tile floor. Watch carefully as a helper stands close to the drain. Does the shower pan flex downward? Repeat the experiment at different areas of the shower pan to see if it flexes elsewhere.

      > We cut into the ceiling and the water is NOT directly from the drain area
      Can you get a really close look at the entire shower drain and hole in the subfloor with a bright flashlight? A water leak can be hard to see. Use a piece of toilet paper to blot around the drain and exposed portion of the shower pan through the hole in the subfloor. Toilet paper is an excellent leak indicator. Run the shower with a person standing inside to cause the leak.

      Photos of the drain, joist, subfloor and leak trail would be very helpful. E-mail to bob (at) handymanhowto.com

      Depending on the actual source of the leak your options are:
      * Replace the shower drain; requires chiseling out the tile and mud pan around the drain, replace the drain, foundation mortar, shower pan liner repair, top mortar layer and new tile. Less work than rebuilding the entire shower stall.
      * If the tile shower pan itself is leaking, you’re looking at tearing out and rebuilding the entire pan.

      Let me know what you find.

  18. Vivian W. June 17, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    First let me say thank you for the repair instructions. They are by far the best instructions I’ve read on the Internet.

    However, my drain connection spins when I screw in the fitting. I used PVC Cement but its not holding. I have a shower enclosure on a slab so I can’t get under it. I’m at my wits end as I’m attempting this repair myself. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for your help!

    • BobJackson June 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      The drain body is turning on the drain pipe? That’s highly unusual for a solvent weld drain.

      I’m wondering if you have a push-joint compression type drain? If so, you have a new problem because there’s no access to the lock nut below the shower pan.

      Either way, we can figure out how to fix your shower drain. Pictures would help tremendously. Take apart what you can and lay out the pieces. E-mail photos to bob (at) handymanhowto.com replace the (at) with the @ character.

  19. Robert Damuth September 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    I live in a 100-year-old house. Ten years ago I noticed water damage on the ceiling of the room below my shower stall. My plumbers pointed out cracks in the grout around the shower floor drain and suggested I re-grout the area around the drain. I did and all has been well for 10 years. However, day before yesterday water damage on the ceiling re-appeared. I checked the grout again and noticed a tiny hole, so I decided to be more thorough in removing the old grout in the area around the drain before re-grouting it again.

    I’ve noticed dampness in the grout as I get closer to the bottom of the half-inch thick floor tiles and I’m wondering why. Any advice?

    Also, I am wondering how floor tile grout cracks can lead to water leakage and damage to the ceiling below the shower floor. Seems it could only happen if the shower pan is leaking. Can you help me understand this better?

    • BobJackson September 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Grout is not waterproof and won’t stop a shower drain leak. The rubber (actually vinyl, PVC) shower pan liner provides the waterproofing. The shower pan liner seals around the shower drain to prevent leaks. See the shower pan liner installation instructions for a really nice diagram.

      > I’ve noticed dampness in the grout as I get closer to the
      > bottom of the half-inch thick floor tiles and I’m wondering why.
      Water is soaking through the grout and following the shower pan downslope towards the shower drain; this is why it’s wetter closer to the drain. Because the shower pan liner is set beneath the mortar bed of the tile shower, water can seep through the grout and mortar bed over time. Shower drains for tile showers have weep holes to catch the seep water and direct this water down the drain.

      Sealing the grout with grout sealer can prevent or greatly reduce the water seepage into the mortar bed… if there are no cracks in the grout or separation from the tile.

      > Also, I am wondering how floor tile grout cracks can lead to water
      > leakage and damage to the ceiling below the shower floor. Seems it
      > could only happen if the shower pan is leaking.
      > Can you help me understand this better?
      Cracks in the grout suggest the tiled shower pan is flexing when you stand in the shower. This could could cause the shower drain base crack, which will cause a leak. Or the PVC glue joint between the shower drain base and drain pipe may have failed.

      Do you have an idea of how old the shower is since it’s a 100 year old house? Hopefully a shower pan liner was installed, if not, the shower pan should be torn out and rebuilt. There’s no way to know without removing the tile and mortar bed around the shower drain. But let’s not go there yet.

      Your shower drain repair options are:
      1. Since you already have water damage to the ceiling below the shower and will need to fix the ceiling, cut an inspection hole in the ceiling to get a good look at shower drain and leak. Toilet paper is a great tell-tale for finding the smallest leak as you dab it around the drain. Consider installing a drywall access panel in the ceiling to close off the inspection hole. You’ll also be able to check for hidden water damage to the wood framing see how well the shower stall is supported.

      If the find the drain body is cracked or the PVC glue joint has failed, you’ll have to replace the drain. If you decided that’s needed (it involves pulling up tile and chiseling out part of the mortar bed), write back and I’ll explain the process.

      2. I personally wouldn’t be satisfied with this approach, but you could repair and seal the grout. This will probably just slow the leak to the point it doesn’t drip onto the ceiling of the room below the shower. The risk is the slow shower leak may be rotting the floor joists and/or subfloor beneath the shower. That would be really expensive to repair. This is why I’d cut an inspection hole in the ceiling (Option #1 above) to see what’s going on. You can e-mail photos to bob (at) handymanhowto.com.

      Let me know what you find.

      Thanks,
      Bob

      • Kathy mielke May 17, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

        Your instructions and information are wonderful, we have a solvent weld strainer body. I have removed the screen and unscrewed the strainer body, which was cracked ( over-zealous plumbers apprentice?). I purchased a new one and was having a hell of a time getting the strainer to screw in, turns out the threads are wide. 5 trips to various big box stores and plumbing suppliers yielded nothing because I don’t have the part number or manufacturer. Using a hand made mirror, all I can see is N. C, USA. And it is black. Any idea who this manufacturer is? I really don’t want to tear out the popcorn ceiling below.

        • Bob Jackson May 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

          Hi Kathy,
          If your shower drain has course or wide threads and is stamped with a North Carolina identifier, it was likely made by Plastic Oddities in Forest City, NC.

          My 2 inch shower drain with wide threads turned out to be a Plastic Oddities model PFG600. I later bought a PFG600 shower drain direct from Plastic Oddities (1-800-438-5327) and it was an exact replacement.

          The PFG600 has a white PVC body. Since your drain is black it was probably the BFG600 made of black PVC. The parts are identical only the color is different.

          The details are illustrated in How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 3.

          Let me know if that’s the right part.

          Thanks,
          Bob

  20. Sid May 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Bob,
    Fantastic instructions. I have a leaky shower drain. It is not gushing or anything but has made an ugly spot on the first floor ceiling now from the small drips.

    Can you please suggest what type of shower drain I have
    Here’s the picture.

    http://tinypic.com/r/289bgg1/8

    I think it is SiouxChief 829 series. Here are the links

    http://www.siouxchief.com/products/drainage/residential/shower-drains/shower-module/push-joint-connection

    http://www.siouxchief.com/docs/default-source/technical-documents/installations/drainage/829-installation-instructions.pdf?sfvrsn=2

    The top strainer body ring is not coming out. I think it is held by the locknut.

    Any suggestions on how to fix the leaky drain without cutting the drywall at the first floor.

    Thanks,
    Sid.

    • Bob Jackson May 20, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

      Hi Sid,
      Your drain is a Sioux Chief No-Caulk Shower Module Drain model 828 with a brass body and compression lock nut – at least it looks like tarnished brass in the photo.

      You’ll need a drain wrench to remove the compression lock nut. I’ve outlined in red three of the eight lock nut teeth in your photo for clarity.

      I have a BULLDOG shower drain wrench and it’s a very good tool.

      Fixing your leaky shower drain may be easy while replacing it could be difficult…

      Easy Repair: Try this first
      Hopefully the compression lock nut has become a little loose and the compression gasket hugging the PVC drain pipe is leaking. Tighten the compression lock and see if the leak stops.

      Better Repair: Replace the Compression Gasket
      Buy a new Sioux Chief 828 compression gasket; you might have to buy a whole new drain module to get the gasket.

      Remove the compression lock nut and pull out the old compression gasket. Clean the outside of the PVC drain pipe so there’s no dirt to interfere with the new compression gasket seal. Install the new compression gasket by sliding it over the drain pipe per paragraph 4 of the installation instructions. Install the compression lock nut and tighten with the drain wrench.

      Last Resort: Replace the Entire Shower Drain
      If the above repairs don’t work then the leak is at the large flat rubber sealing washer against the bottom of the shower pan that’s held tight by the outer lock nut. The problem with replacing the shower drain module is the outer lock nut is located below the shower pan and can’t be reached unless a hole is cut in the 1st floor ceiling. Once you saw an access hole in the ceiling the job is straightforward per the Sioux Chief installation instructions.

      A bauco drywall access panel is needed to finish the ceiling hole and it will take care of the ugly water stain.

      Let me know which repair works for you.

      Thanks,
      Bob

  21. Sam June 23, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Hello. I have a brass flange and I’m sure there is a nut holding it from the bottom. Just wondering is there any way to remove the show drain flange without me cutting a hole in my ceiling? I tried to hack saw the drain but not working out too well.

    • Bob Jackson June 24, 2014 at 5:49 am #

      Can you e-mail photos of your drain? I might be able to identify the drain type and better advise you. Send to bob [at] handymanhowto.com

  22. Mary Rose August 5, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    Would the issue still be the shower drain if the shower has not been used since 8:30am and it is currently 8:08pm?

    • Bob Jackson August 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

      Can you describe in more detail what’s you’re seeing?

      But “yes” a shower drain leak will wet the subfloor and ceiling below which will stay damp for days because there’s no air circulation.

  23. Willie Ramirez November 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Bob,
    I found your repair instructions after searching the Internet. My second level shower began leaking (16 year old home). To my delight, the photos used in your instructions for “How to Fix a Leaky Shower” are the identical to shower. The exact Sioux Chief drain, screw-in model and sub-floor/pan fixture. It was as if your instructions were made for my shower.

    Many thanks to your for this post! I’m assuming I should expect the rubber gasket will fail again (10-15 years). This must be common given the movement the shower pan will experience over time.

    Willie

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