How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 3

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – identify the shower drain manufacturer and find a replacement part for the cracked shower drain body.  This repair is continued from How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 2.

Replacement Shower Drain Body

I bought a Sioux Chief brand 2″ PVC shower drain from Home Depot. You have to buy the whole drain module just to get new gaskets and strainer body, but it only costs about $7.

When I got home and tried to screw in the new drain body, it didn’t fit! The threads on the Sioux Chief were much finer and square shaped compared to the much courser and Vee shaped threads on my shower drain. Next I went to Lowes and checked the Oatley brand of shower drains. The Oatley drain threads were different (same type as Sioux Chief) and didn’t fit my drain.

I was getting desperate because replacing the entire drain would be very difficult due to the suspended drywall ceiling in the finished basement and I couldn’t get access to plumbing in that area. So I kept searching for a new drain with matching threads. I located an old style hardware store in an different section of town that I rarely frequent. The sign just said “Hardware Store”. Going inside the store, my reaction was “Wow!” They have all kinds of items that you can’t find in the big box retailers! Lot’s of unique brands and stuff I hadn’t seen since I was a kid!

Old Fashion Hardware Store

Old Fashion Hardware Store

I had almost given up while rummaging around in the plumbing section, when I dug out an offset drain from underneath a pile of stuff. I had the old strainer body with me and the threads matched perfectly! I was very pleased, the repair would be simple now!

Shower Drain Repair: Replacement Drains

Shower Drain Repair: Replacement Drains

Here are the parts of a shower drain and the difference in the course and fine threads. I used the strainer body on the left with course threads and the new gaskets.

Shower Drain Repair: Course and Fine Thread Drains

Shower Drain Repair: Course and Fine Thread Drains

The old and new matching shower strainer bodies:

Old and New Shower Strainer Bodies with Course Threads

Old and New Shower Strainer Bodies with Course Threads

This repair is concluded in How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 4.

Take care,
Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2016   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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26 Responses to How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 3

  1. Chuck November 24, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    This was excellent. Very good graphics, explanations, and notes in the photos. Very clear. I am off to do the repair.

  2. Mark January 29, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I’ve got the same problem with matching the more course, “V” threads. The Sioux City product at HS and Lowes don’t match, as you said. My orginal shower drain is made by Jones Mfg. The question is, will this PFG600 made by Plastic Oddities match the Jones threads?

    • Bob Jackson January 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      The Plastic Oddities shower drain body will probably match. In my experience there appears to be the just the two coarse and fine thread styles.

      The Jones Mfg. is likely the Jones Stephens Corp. model marketed under the PlumbBest product line. However, this isn’t much help because the thread details aren’t apparent in the online catalog.

  3. Mark January 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    I’ll report back of the details of the resolution. Thanks for the information, it was a great help.

  4. Mark April 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    The Plastic Oddities “strainer barrel” did fit the “V” shaped threads of the original drain plumbing but has already failed.

    The sales rep at Plastic Oddities (800-438-5327) was very helpful in ordering the correct part – just the barrel (didn’t have to buy the whole drain assembly which is all that’s in the catalog and they included a free replacement gasket). The exact description on the packing slip…PSP370S – PVC 2-1/2″ IPS X 4-1/2″ Strainer Barrel Only (Old Style with weep slots). I also ordered a new strainer to match but had to source new brass screws for the strainer from Lowes. I had to cut the screws shorter as Lowes didn’t have them short enough.

    I installed it following your instructions but just discovered the barrel’s flange has cracked again causing the leaking to reoccur after just 2 months in service. This was the same failure with the original drain barrel. Wondering if the failures are because of the drain pipe being held up by only that rather thin flange of the drain barrel.

    When the drain pipe is disconnected from the barrel, the pipe falls about 1/4″ before resting on a floor joist. When the barrel is screwed into the pipe through the opening in the shower, the pipe is suspended and all of the weight of it and the water inside is applied to the barrel’s flange. There’s additional force on the flange from the gasket compression and the seating of the assembly with all of that plumbers putty. Is this the normal installation practice? Thinking of installing supporting shims below the pipe to force it up to the bottom of the shower but wondering if there might be a stronger metal version of that strainer barrel (I’ll have to call Plastic Oddities Monday morning as metal versions don’t appear in their catalog). Also wondering about the force of the plumbers putty against that flange as the barrel is screwed down. Thoughts?

    • Bob Jackson April 16, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      I believe the flange is cracking after a few months because the shower pan is insufficiently supported and flexing under your body weight. The excessive flexing causes fatigue in the strainer body flange.

      The weight of drain pipe is minor and I seriously doubt it’s an issue here, but you could support it from the floor joist with a pipe strap if there’s more than a 4 foot horizontal run that’s hanging free. Attach the pipe strap with with a pan head wood screw so you can remove it for drain maintenance.

      Try this:
      Lay a 3 foot long straight edge across the center of the shower pan and drain. An aluminum yard stick or bubble level will do. This will reveal the normal slope of the shower pan. Now stand on the shower pan with each foot on opposites of the drain. Is the pan flexing downward more than 3/16″ of an inch from the zero load position? If so, then excessive shower pan flexing is the cause of the cracked flange. The fix is figure out a way to better support the center of the shower pan – perhaps shimming between the plywood subfloor and shower pan.

      While in the crawlspace under the shower, have someone of similar weight to your own stand on the shower pan next to the drain to see where the shower pan and/or subfloor is flexing. Feel around with your fingers between the shower pan and subfloor to get an idea of where the pan is unsupported. If the problem seems to be the subfloor, add a horizontal brace between the floor joists. A 2×4 with Simpson-Strong Tie metal braces and screws will be easy to set in place. You can find these at Home Depot.

      Let me know what you find.

  5. Steven James August 3, 2012 at 10:30 am #


    I think my shower pan is flexing from body weight and causing it to leak. I have a plastic shower stall. The problem is its on a concrete slab. Is there any way to fix this without ripping out the whole shower stall? There’s about a foot or so between the bathtub and the shower stall. I might be able to rip that out to get to it. Is that my only option? Thank you. Your site if very informative.

    Steven James

    • Bob Jackson August 3, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Have you removed the strainer to get a look inside the shower drain? Do you see threads indicating the strainer body screws into the shower drain? You can e-mail photos to me: bob (at) – replace the (at) with an @.

  6. Ryan May 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Great website! I have a similar problem but slightly different circumstances. I was in my crawl space and noticed a water ring in the floor where my drain pipe is from my tile shower above. The water damage appears to surround the drain evenly about three inches in all directions. I was hoping this would be caused by the drain itself (like your situation) but I’m also concerned this could be from the pan being cracked. I know next to nothing about plumbing. I unscrewed the drain cover and the tile floor seems only millimeters over the drain itself so I don’t even know where a pan would be. It doesn’t seem like I even have one but not sure if that is an accurate assumption. Seems to me like there would have to be but doesn’t seem like room for one either. I can take pictures but not sure how to post them to you. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

    • BobJackson May 16, 2013 at 6:50 am #

      You have a 3-piece shower drain for a shower with a tile floor over a mortar bed.

      > I unscrewed the drain cover and the tile floor seems only millimeters over the drain
      > itself so I don’t even know where a pan would be.
      That is correct – the drain sits even or slightly below the tiled shower base. There isn’t a manufactured plastic shower pan like my shower because the cement mortar shower base is built on-site and tiled over.

      You’ve already unscrewed the shower drain head adapter (part with the strainer). Loosen the four bolts holding the clamping collar and twist slightly to remove it. Is the clamping collar cracked or split? What is the condition of the drain base/flange? If the clamping collar or drain flange is cracked then water could leak past the waterproof pan liner or under the mortar bed wetting the plywood subfloor as you’re seeing in the crawlspace.

      You can send photos to bob (at)

      Take care

  7. zoobadger February 15, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Wow. Thanks so much for your detailed instructions for this repair. The strainer body on my shower was also threaded differently than the replacements available at the big box and local hardware stores. Luckily, it wasn’t cracked or damaged and I was able to remove it, clean it up (along with the gasket) and then reinstall it.

    My challenge was getting it out. I tried the channel lock pliers unsuccessfully. But I improvised with a pipe wrench and rubber hammer. Impossible to describe how that worked without pictures, lol…

    I have a feeling it’s going to start leaking again due to flex in the shower pan floor, but now I know that I don’t need to rip out and replace the shower. Even i I have to hire somebody, it will be far less expensive to cut a an access panel in the ceiling below and stabilize the shower pan from there.

    The bottom line: I totally misunderstood the nature of the problem until reading this site. So, not only was I able to (at least temporarily) fix the leak for $10, if more extensive repairs are necessary, I’ll be able to deal with a contractor or handyman intelligently going forward, ensuring that the repair costs hundreds rather than thousands.

    • Bob Jackson February 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

      You’re welcome and I enjoyed your success story!

  8. Jeff September 15, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Talked to Plastic Oddities today. For the Jones Mfg Co which has the weep holes, those breaks in the threads, you have to get the PFG611 for PVC and AFG611 for ABS, which is what I was looking for. The PFG600 and AFG601 do not have the weep holes, changed design. The strainer for the offset 2″ drain has coarse threads and weep holes and will match.

  9. MB September 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    I too had this problem and Lowes and Home Depot did not have the correct threaded part. Thought I would post this in hopes that it helps others. I found the correct part after about 6 different places. The UPC for the part was still on the part so here it is: UPC: 717510410013 Googling the UPC brought me to identify the part as JONES STEPHENS CORPORATION D41001 2PVC SHWR STALL DRAIN. I purchased this part locally for $8.28 which included taxes. Not sure if I can include the website of the company I used or not, so I won’t.

  10. stillwatergirl April 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    You’ve given me some great insights and I hope you can help with my situation! My 2nd floor shower is fully tiled, and began leaking into the ceiling below. It is a very slow drip, and not a large quantity of water. I have had 2 plumbers, a contractor, and tile guy look at it and no one can say for sure what is leaking, so I am advised to spend $2,500 having the entire thing ripped out and replaced. Before doing that, I’d like to run the problem past you: 1) There are 2 shower heads-1 on each side. Running either one of them causes the leak after approx. 5 minutes. So it can’t really be the plumbing above the drain. 2) I put a plug on the drain and filled the shower bottom with approx. 2-3″ of water and let it stand for 3 days-no leaking. There was also no leaking when that water was drained. Also one plumber filled 2 5-gallon buckets and poured them down the drain, and there was no leaking. 3) Both plumbers said it isn’t a plumbing issue, but a tile issue. One of them put a very thick bead of sealant around the bottom edge where the walls meet the floor, and I tried to get every possible location above that myself. But since there was no leaking with standing water after 3 days, this all seems ridiculous anyway. And it didn’t help-it’s still leaking.

    A friend of mine suggested a gasket leak in the drain assembly, and in researching that I see the gasket is below the pan, which would in fact allow leaking water even if the pan is intact. And in fact that makes sense to me from a physics standpoint because a large amount water passing quickly through the drain wouldn’t result in the same slow leak as a 10-minute shower, where a thin wall of water is coating the sides of the drain assembly and seeping into any openings. Does that make sense to you?

    I’m desperate for answers because I don’t have $2,500 to put into a complete shower redo. Any insights you can provide are greatly appreciated. And your labeled diagram was extremely helpful, by the way!

    • Bob Jackson April 7, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

      You’ve proven the shower pan is watertight with no leaks for 3 days by plugging the drain filling the pan with several inches of water.

      > There are 2 shower heads-1 on each side. Running either one
      > of them causes the leak after approx. 5 minutes.
      Do the two shower heads share a common temperature control handle/valve? Some dual shower head installations have a single temperature control with separate flow control On/Off valves for each head. If so, the temperature control valve may be leaking.

      Have you tried running the shower for 5 mins and catching the water in a bucket held under the shower head(s)? Dump the bucket in the sink. This will confirm it’s not a water supply plumbing leak.

      If the leak isn’t in the water supply plumbing and we know the shower pan isn’t leaking, that leaves the shower drain. Tiled shower pan drains have a different configuration from those for a fiberglass pan as discussed in this project. The fact that there was no leak during the 3 day standing water test indicates the leak is probably at the drain base to PVC drain pipe connection or possibly the P-trap lower down. The drain is probably leaking all the time but as you surmised, leaks worse when it’s wetted on all sides during a normal shower cycle.

      You may be able to locate the leak source with a flexible inspection camera inserted through a small hole or two through the drywall ceiling. If the drain or drain pipe connection is found to be leaking, it’s possible with careful work to remove the tile and mortar bed around the drain, remove the drain, install a new drain, redo the mortar bed, cut and glue in a new piece of shower pan liner and replace the tile. That should cost way less than $2500 to tear out the entire shower pan.

      See How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 2 and How to Finish a Basement Bathroom – Part 3 where I built a tiled shower pan for more details. The difference is your shower pan is built on a plywood subfloor instead of concrete slab, but the drain configuration is the same.

      Let me know when you find the leak!


  11. EricaMom February 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I couldn’t find a male to female match in threads either. The guy at the local big hardware store said I’d have to cut out my drain from underneath. I read your “how to” before heading out there. I grabbed an offset drain kit and hoped it might work. It did!! I followed your tutorial and we have a fixed drain leak for under $10. I also chose to use silicone because my pan has a thin lip and the putty I removed was cracked and all over everywhere under there. Thanks again!!

    • Bob Jackson February 7, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

      You’re welcome! After working on several other shower drains I now prefer silicone versus plumber’s putty because silicone is better at preventing the drain body for loosening over time as the shower pan flexes. Silicone is less messy, too.

  12. John Unger February 27, 2016 at 11:44 am #

    So, why would my shower drain still be leaking when I haven’t used that shower for 24+ hours? I cut out the sheetrock below my drain, and can see I still have water dripping from my pipe. About 1/3 of a cup overnight.

    The pipe trap shows some white residue, which seems to indicate the leak has been going on for a while. There’s water in the trap still – could it be a cracked pipe? How can I tell?

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • Bob Jackson February 27, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

      > There’s water in the trap still – could it be a cracked pipe?
      Reach in the drywall ceiling access hole and thoroughly wipe dry the drain and pipes. If you find a slow weeping leak appear right away where the drain base seats against the shower pan, then the drain is leaking. Also check the drain pipe and p-trap joints.

      If no leak is apparent after wiping dry, have someone run the shower while your inspecting the shower drain from the ceiling access hole. Have a bright flashlight, handheld mirror and toilet roll tissue ready to find the leak. Toilet paper is an excellent leak detector as it will reveal the smallest drop. Dab the toilet tissue around until the leak source is found.

      Another way to use toilet paper as a tell-tale is to wrap it snug around different places on the pipe and secure it with tape. e.g. Below the drain, before & the p-trap to find those slow leaks.

      What type of shower drain do you have? Is there a large lock nut against the bottom of the shower pan? You can e-mail photos to bob[at] – replace the [at] with the @ symbol.

  13. Karl Vollmer August 8, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    Great story. Now where can I find the strainer body?

  14. Karl Vollmer August 15, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    If the PFG600 is the same threads as the D41001, the threads are too coarse. None of the diagrams and specs list how many threads are on the strainer body. My original strainer body has 11 fine threads. The D41001 has 8 coarse threads. How many threads are on the PFG600?

  15. Karl Vollmer August 16, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    Yup. It’s the wrong threads from what I need. I guess it’s time to gut the shower and start over.

    • Bob Jackson August 16, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

      If the shower drain pipe is exposed like mine, you could cut off the old solvent weld (glued on) drain body with an inside pipe cutter, install a PVC coupling, short section of PVC pipe and new drain.

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