How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 4

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How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain photo tutorial. Clean the shower drain, install new rubber gasket and shower drain body to complete the repair. This repair is continued from How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 3.

Clean the Shower Drain

After cleaning the rim of the drain body and bottom of shower pan for the new rubber gasket, I removed the old plumber’s putty from the threads of the drain body with a brass wire brush. I could have stuffed an old rag in the drain pipe to catch any bits, but there wasn’t enough to worry about.

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Clean the Shower Drain Threads

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Clean the Shower Drain Threads

Install the Shower Drain Gasket

The drain is now cleaned up and ready for reassembly with new parts. In the next photos, I’ve moved the drain to one side so you can see the flat rim of the drain body. The gasket sits on the flat rim to seal against the bottom of the shower pan.

Shower Drain Leak Repair: New Rubber Gasket

Shower Drain Leak Repair: New Rubber Gasket

The new rubber gasket is placed between the drain body and bottom of the shower pan.

Shower Drain Leak Repair: Install the Rubber Gasket

Shower Drain Leak Repair: Install the Rubber Gasket

For a top-side repair such as this, the anti-friction ring should not be installed because it serves no purpose. Why? Because when a new shower is first installed in the home, the drain body is screwed on from the bottom and it would rub against the black rubber gasket possibly tearing if it weren’t for the anti-friction gasket as a buffer. In a repair job such as this, the drain body is stationary because it’s glued to the drain pipe and we’re screwing in the strainer body from the top. Study these shower drain installations to better understand why the anti-friction gasket isn’t needed in a top-end repair.

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: New Rubber Gasket

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: New Rubber Gasket

Shower Drain: Plumber’s Putty or Silicone Caulk?

Different shower drain manufacturer’s installation instructions may specify Plumber’s Putty or Silicone caulk to seal the shower drain. Some manufacturer’s say it’s OK to use either product. My shower drain manufacturer approves both and since it was originally installed with Plumber’s Putty use that.

The purpose of Plumber’s Putty or Silicone caulk in this application is to act as a “thread locker” to prevent the shower drain strainer body from backing out and relieving pressure on the black rubber gasket. Silicone caulk is a better choice if no preference is stated by the drain manufacturer because it holds better.

Plumber’s Putty is a caulking and sealing compound that is the consistency of stiff Play-Doh. It supposed to be non-shrinking and non-hardening and widely available at any hardware store.

A Better Idea:  Sta Put® Ultra™

A reader asked me (see the comments section below): “The plumbers putty like the one in your picture says not to use on plastics (strainer is plastic). What do you use in these situations?

” – Fred.Plumber’s Putty contains vegetable and fish oils. While it’s possible the oils could attack some plastics, the main concerns appears to be it could cause staining. While I’ve never seen a problem with PVC plastic like this shower drain, the best advice is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Oatey, Inc. recommends Sta Put Ultra Plumbers Putty, an oil free non-staining plumber’s putty that safe for use on porous surface such as plastics, fiberglass, stone, granite, grout, etc.

Shower Drain Leak Repair: New Strainer Body and Plumbers Putty

Shower Drain Leak Repair: New Strainer Body and Plumbers Putty

Pinch off a glob of plumber’s putty and knead it into the threads and under the rim of the shower strainer body.

Shower Drain: Pack Drain Threads Plumber's Putty

Shower Drain: Pack Drain Threads Plumber’s Putty

The shower strainer is coated with plumber’s putty, ready to be screwed into the shower drain. You want to have an excess of plumbers putty to get a good “squeeze out” when the strainer body is screwed in for a watertight seal.

Shower Drain Body Packed with Plumbers Putty

Shower Drain Body Packed with Plumbers Putty

Shower Drain Repair: Final Assembly

Take care to align the strainer body in the shower drain, then screw in turning clockwise.

Shower Drain Repair: Install the Strainer Body in the Shower Drain

Shower Drain Repair: Install the Strainer Body in the Shower Drain

Screw the strainer body into the drain. Use your thumbs to apply more torque as the drain gets seated. You need to compress the black rubber gasket and squeeze out the excess plumber’s putty. I added a 1/2 to 3/4 quarters turn extra after it was firmly seated in the molded recess of the shower pan.

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Screw in the Strainer Body

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Screw in the Strainer Body

A good squeeze-out of plumber’s putty around the rim – this ensures a watertight seal for the black rubber gasket between the drain body and shower pan.

Shower Drain Install: Plumbers Putty Squeeze Out

Shower Drain Install: Plumbers Putty Squeeze Out

The excess plumber’s putty is trimmed away. Wait 5 or 10 minutes to see if more putty squeezes out, tighten the drain a slight bit more and trim away the excess. The drain is now watertight.

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Reassembled Shower Drain

Leaky Shower Drain Repair: Reassembled Shower Drain

The strainer is reattached with two screws.

Install the Shower Drain Strainer

Install the Shower Drain Strainer

Verify the Shower Drain is Watertight

I left the aluminum pan in place to catch any drips and confirm the new drain is leak free. It’s been over a week 3 years since the repair and the drain is watertight. Next I’ll paint the basement ceiling to cover the water stain.

Repair the Drywall Ceiling Water Leak Damage

I repaired the drywall ceiling in this project: How to Repair Drywall Ceiling Water Damage.

More Leaky Shower Drain Repairs

A reader was frustrated because his shower drain continued to leak after several attempts to fix it. This adventure is covered in How to Fix a Leaky Shower Drain – Part 5.

Hope this helps,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2018   Reproduction strictly prohibited.


  1. Gary June 24, 2009 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Mr. Bob Jackson, I have the same exact drain as you are showing in your picture. I have been searching for a replacment for quite a while. Do you know where I can get one?

    • Rex March 7, 2018 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Furgesons, Prosource, and ACE hardware are in almost every state. I don’t recommend ever using putty on the threads though🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️ Putty should be placed around the flange and rectorseal true blue or rectorseal t+2 should be applied to the threads applicating in the direction of the threads leaving the first thread or 2 completely clean to prevent cross threading. If you have made this repair with putty in the threads good luck with future repairs. More than likely your going to find yourself needing to do a little replumbing in the future because the gasket isn’t going to last forever. Not being able to get the shower drain out can easily take a $150 quick repair to a repair well over $600.

      • Bob Jackson March 10, 2018 at 11:48 am - Reply

        Interesting idea to use RectorSeal® Tru-Blu™ as it’s intended for high vibration industrial applications. The mfg. says it’s safe for PVC and stays flexible. Shower drain manufacturer instructions specify silicone caulk under the flange or plumber’s putty. I now favor silicone caulk because it less likely to work loose over time like plumber’s putty and is less messy.

  2. Bob Jackson June 24, 2009 at 8:39 am - Reply

    I purchased the offset shower drain shown in this article from:

    General Hardware
    4218 Peachtree Rd NE
    Atlanta, GA 30319
    Phone: (404) 237-5209

    The drain had no brand name or manufacturer markings, only a price tag. I don’t think it wasn’t an Oatey or Sioux Chief brand, although General Hardware did have clearly labeled Oatey drains in stock.

    You might call General Hardware and order for a drain with the deeper V shaped threads on the strainer body. By comparison, the Oatey and Sioux Chief brands have shallower square threads.

  3. Fred June 29, 2009 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    I’ve got the same problem on a fiberglass shower base but the plumbers putty like the one in your picture says not to use on plastics(strainer is plastic). What do you use in these situations?

  4. Bob Jackson June 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Right, the Oatey’s Plumber’s Putty #31166 says “Do not use on marble, granite, plastic or any other dimensional stone.”

    Why shouldn’t plumber’s putty be used on these materials? What harm would it do to granite and marble? The reason must be due to possible staining of some semi-porous stone materials. As for plastics, my guess is some plastics could be attacked by the vegetable and fish oils in the putty.

    The data sheet says plumber’s putty contains the following non-hazardous ingredients:
    * Hydrocarbon oils
    * Limestone
    * Talc
    * Clays
    * Fish oils

    I prefer plumber’s putty to silicone caulk to seal the shower drain. While silicone caulk may be recommended by some drain manufacturers, it tends to act like a glue and can make later removal of the drain very difficult.

    The solvent weld drain body and stainer are made of PVC which is more resistant than say, a decorative plastic trim piece around a sink, so I think the risk of the oils in the putty attacking the PVC is quite low. I also saw no evidence of chemical damage to the old drain or strainer body after almost 9 years of service.

    But now that you ask the question, the oil free product recommended by Oatey is:

    Sta Put® Ultra™
    A unique, professional grade non staining plumber’s putty that is safe for most types of plumbing fixtures and surfaces. Unlike all other plumber’s putty Sta Put Ultra is *** oil-free *** and can be used without pre-treatment.

    This includes natural, porous surfaces such as stone, marble, granite, plastics, rubber, and fiberglass, as well as grout and on manufactured sinks, shower bases, countertops, and other surfaces. Molds easily, remains permanently soft, malleable, and flexible.

    Sta Put Ultra does not melt, rot, crumble, dry out, or shrink. Easy to clean-up. Does not leave a greasy residue on hands or surfaces. Meets or exceeds Federal Specification A-A-3110 (formerly TT-P-1536A). U.S. and foreign patents pending.

    Hercules Chemical Company, Inc.: Sta Put Ultra

    Sta Put Ultra is available at for about $7.50 –

    I think I’ll buy some for kicks and give it a try. It’ll take about 5 minutes to unscrew the shower drain body, remove the plumber’s putty and apply the Sta Put Ultra.

    Good question!
    Bob Jackson

  5. gretschdrum July 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm - Reply


    Another place that you can find the drain and strainer that you are referencing is Dixie Plumbing Specialties in Marietta, GA. I found your article needing to repair the EXACT same problem. After going to a couple of local hardware stores the consensus was that Dixie was the place to go. When I stepped into the store he found the exact drain within 10 seconds. FYI, the store’s part number for this style of drain (with course threads) is 51-998. It is made by Plastic Oddities and their part number is PFG-600. You can see it here:

    • david June 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      This article was fantastic. My house was built in 1987 and none of the replacement drains from the box stores would work. i really didn’t want to cut a bigger hole in my ceiling just to cut out sections of pipe and patch in new so i can use a whole new style shower drain. why spend lots of money to replace a $10 part right?

      anyways, i saw the comment about the PDF-600 from plastic oddities, and it looks like exactly what i needed… EXCEPT:

      I just called plastic oddities, they only sale wholesale to suppliers, they won’t sell a single to regular joe’s. However, they told me to go to where i bought the part for $9 and $12 for shipping.

      WARNING: the sales rep at plastic oddities asked me if i needed the new style or the old style drain. i told him i figured it was the old style. He said instead of the PFG-600, i should buy the PFG-610 drain. it’s the 2″ offset drain, and while my drain isn’t an offset, he said that the PDF-610 has the old style threads with the 2 slots on each side of the drain. My old drain i removed has those. he said the PFG-600 is a new style and does not have those slots, and therefore this drain will not fit. If you check the plastic oddities website the PFG-600 has a drawing showing those slots, he said that’s incorrect and order the PFG-610 and use that instead. I’ll check back in later and let you know if this is the correct part.

      • Bob Jackson June 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm - Reply

        Hi David,
        Thank you for the info. about the newer drain style and where to order.

  6. Bob Jackson July 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the discovery and contact info for Plastic Oddities!

  7. Yeorwned July 14, 2009 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    As a refernece, the installation of the new drain is incorrect. Sioux specifically advises against using plumbers putty, as this blocks the channel which allows any water that makes it past the lip of the top to escape through the pipe and not be forced through the gasket, which is the number one cause of shower leaks.

    Instead, silicone should be used only on the top rim instead. See the Sioux web site for better documentation on the installation of the 825 shower drain shown here. Otherwise, excellent guide.

  8. Bob Jackson July 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Appreciate your comments.

    Couple of points you may have missed reading this article:

    #1. I did not install the Sioux Chief drain and wrote (see above):

    Some manufacturer’s instructions say to apply a bead of silicone caulk along the bottom rim of the strainer body. The problem is silicone caulk will cure and create a glue-like bond, making it very difficult to remove the drain in the future. Plumber’s putty shouldn’t stiffen or dry out – hopefully the newer stuff won’t.”

    #2. The replacement drain that I used is made by Plastic Oddities, Inc. (Part #PFG-600, I called Plastic Oddities today and asked about silicone caulk versus Plumber’s Putty. The Plastic Oddities representative said it’s OK to use either silicone or putty; he said plumber’s use both. But if you use silicone “it’s not coming out” because it will bond like a glue.

    I also asked about packing Plumber’s Putty around the drain body threads blocking the vertical weep channels cut in the threads. The manufacturer rep. said that was OK, not a real concern.

    Any amount of water won’t cause a leak so long as the gasket is compressed and remains flexible to ensure a good seal.

    I prefer Putty (or better “Sta Put Ultra”) because:
    * Acts like silicone
    * Fills the voids between the threads, but doesn’t make
    removal too difficult.

    Bottom line: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions; do otherwise only if you have a good reason.

    I’d be interested to know how often a drain installed with silicone develops a leak: Reader Comments?


  9. Joe August 3, 2009 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Bob, Thanks for the perfect description of the solution…you’ve given me confidence to tackle my identical problem. Follow up question…my situation has the shower on the 2nd floor over my sheet rocked family room ceiling that is now stained. I’m worried with the leaks there might be mold developing under the bottom of the shower…what do you think? Guess it would depend on how long the leak was there and if it dries completely? I was thinking of getting some bleach in there somehow…is that necessary? Thanks….

  10. Bob Jackson August 3, 2009 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    It’s hard to know without inspecting the ceiling cavity if you might have a mold problem. I agree it would depend largely on the how long the area stayed moist.

    Two ways to inspect the area above the ceiling without making too much of a disturbance are:

      Option 1 – Hole Saw

      Cut a 2in or 3in inspection port in the ceiling with a hole saw ( Locate the hole about 12 inches from the center of the stain on the ceiling. Use a dentist mirror and flashlight to look around inside the ceiling. A hole saw makes a clean cut that will be easy to patch and paint.

        Option 2 – Inspection Camera (way cool!)

        Buy a Rigid SeeSnake® micro™ Inspection Camera ( Street price is about $200. Drill a 3/4 inch hole in the ceiling and look in all directions.

        Post back here with what you find.


      • Matt Wulfert September 8, 2009 at 9:59 am - Reply


        Your info on matching this shower drain was very helpful… It gave me hope I could find a replacement… Before ordering a replacement through Plactic Oddities I stoped by my local Plumbers Supply here in O’Fallon, Missouri… How lucky am I??? They too had an exact match with the right threads…. The brand I purchased is by Jones Stephens Corp., Model Number D41-001… It was $10.00 at the Store and $8.80 at the Jones Stephens Web site…. Hope this is helpful to others…

        Matt Wulfert

      • Beth October 8, 2009 at 8:59 am - Reply

        Bob –
        Thank you for your step by step guide and pictures on how to fix our shower leak. My husband and I were able to solve the leak several weeks ago by following the guide and have not had any problems since!

      • Lee November 17, 2009 at 8:39 pm - Reply

        There are several drain types which look very much the same but have different threads. I can confirm based on personal experience that Plastic Oddities PFG600 and Jones Stephens D041-001 are NOT compatible, despite the identical top view.

      • Nancy November 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm - Reply

        The strainer in my shower is one piece – not 2 screws – how do I remove to inspect for source of leak?
        Thanks for the helpful info!

      • Bob Jackson November 22, 2009 at 11:05 am - Reply

        You have a snap-in strainer.

        Look around the rim for a small indent to insert a flat head screw driver to pry it off. Notice the indents at 3- and 9-o’clock positions of this strainer at

        Next, you’ll need to identify the type of drain to figure out how to disassemble the drain body. Look inside the drain with a flashlight: Do you see internal threads like my drain? If so, you should be able to unscrew the drain body and replace the gasket.

        If you don’t see internal threads, you may have a push-joint drain like this model This type of drain has a gasket that slides over the PVC drain pipe (a possible leak source?) and is held in place by a lock nut that can only be accessed from below the shower pan/subfloor.

        It may help to compare your drain with these models by Sioux Chief

        Let me know what you find.

        Bob Jackson

      • Nancy November 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm - Reply

        HI Bob.
        Thanks for the reply. My plumber got back from deer hunting camp and was here this a.m. before I attempted to remove strainer.
        Apparently the seam where the 2 piece shower stall meets (lower 1/3 of shower) needed caulking. Thanks again!

      • Jo Manos December 30, 2009 at 2:20 pm - Reply

        Go figure the plumber who repaired our shower drain used silicone. How do you break the bond? Calling a plumber is not a acceptable answer.HaHa Thank you great info I await your response

        • Bob Jackson December 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm - Reply

          You might try the following, but be prepared to buy a new strainer and/or drain body. The drain body on my shower was cracked and I had to replace it anyway.

          Non-Destructive Approach:
          1) Heat the rim of the drain body with a blow dryer for a good five minutes to weaken the silicone.
          2) Use vice grips (see photo in the article) to unscrew the drain body. Try working it back and forth.
          3) If it begins to “give” a little, repeat with the blow dryer several times.

          Destructive Method:
          If you still can’t get the silicone to release, it may be necessary to cut out the drain body. Stuff a rag in the drain hole to catch debris. Use a hacksaw blade and utility knife to slowly and carefully cut from the top inside rim of the drain body outward to the lip as it overlaps the shower pan. The hacksaw blade only starts the cut at the inside edge by the drain hole. Now that you’ve got a cut started, make successive passes with the utility knife working outward in a straight line through the lip. Kinda like cutting a slice of pizza. Be careful not to cut too deep or scratch your shower pan.

          When you’ve made a single straight cut through lip of the drain body, you should be able to work a screw driver sideways (i.e. parallel to the drain hole, not pointed towards it) in a circle under the lip and break loose the silicone bond. The lip of the drain body will crack or break – makes the job easier. Work your way under the lip with the screw driver to come full circle. The utility knife might be helpful to cut the silicone under the lip as it’s raised from the drain pan with the screw driver.

          Let me know how it goes.

          Bob Jackson

      • Scott Maaskant January 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm - Reply


        Great article! Very informative with great pics. Just fixed my water leak. No plumber needed.

        Thank you,
        Scott Maaskant

      • Barry Foster January 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm - Reply

        Thank you Bob for a great article. I am in the middle of the exact same project and wanted clarification on the order of the rubber and friction gaskets as well as use of the plumbers putty. I was amazed as I read through the article, seeing the identical drain, channel locks and plumbers putty. Very useful artical indeed! Now I need to find an article on patching drywall without leaving a trace…..

        Thanks again,
        Barry Foster

        • Bob Jackson January 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm - Reply

          Thanks for letting me know the drain repair article worked for you.

          > Now I need to find an article on patching drywall without leaving a trace…..
          Just go slow, with thin layers of spackling. Allow the spackle to completely dry between applications, sand, evaluate your work and redo until you have an invisible seam. Most novices believe a heavy layer of spackle (a.k.a. drywall mud) is best. With drywall “less is more”. The less spackle you put on, the less sanding you’ll have to do later.

      • Justin February 17, 2010 at 9:52 pm - Reply

        Really cool, really cool Bob. This presentation you did was great. I do have one comment though. I had to buy a new channel locks because lord knows where mine went. Anyways, When I got my strainer body off is was caked with silicon. Now I have to say it was not that hard but not that easy either. Thanks again,


        ps. I am still working on finding the new strainer body with the right threads!

      • Eddie March 6, 2010 at 11:21 am - Reply

        Great presentation. You saved me a expensive plumbers visit. Did the entire job for about $14. Hardest thing is finding the parts, the work was easy and quick.

        Really Appreciate It!


      • Shaun June 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm - Reply

        Wow. Great explanation. Easy to do with your help. Saved me a ton. Thank you.

      • Jim Childers July 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm - Reply

        Dear Bob,
        Followed your directions and it worked perfectly. Thanks for spending all that time on the pictures and details.
        Sagamore Hills, Ohio

        My long time friend is also
        named Bob Jackson.

        • Bob Jackson July 8, 2010 at 8:05 pm - Reply

          Thanks for the validation and letting me know it fixed your leak.

      • Carolyn July 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm - Reply

        Bob, I could kiss you! I had a leaking 23 yr old shower drain, and I went through the same search as you did for a drain that would fit. I found your website, and my problems were solved as fast as Federal Express could get the replacement from Plastic Oddities to me! I also agree with using Sta Put putty. I had some left from a small job I did 6 years ago on my kitchen sink, and when I checked it out, the Sta Put was still as pliable as the day I bought it. I’m very careful as to what I use silcon caulk on, since I’ve had some nightmares trying to get it off later! While I’m in the plumbing mode, I decided to replace the noisy shower valve, too. It was making this horrible vibrating noise that changes volume and pitch whenever the water temp is in the “comfort” zone. I didn’t have a clue what was wrong, until a very smart friend told me that there was probably something wrong with the mixing valve, since it never made noise when just cold or just hot water was being used. It made sense to me, so I went on a search for a new tub/shower valve set. What I found out was that you can buy just the valve and trim for a lot less money at a plumbing supply than you can by buying the whole set at the DIY convenience stores, saving money and work, and I get to keep the shower head and tub spout that matches my sink faucet, too! I’m keeping your website on my favorites list, thanks again!

        • Bob Jackson July 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm - Reply

          You’re most welcome! I enjoyed reading the details of your repair experience, too.

      • Rich Skrika August 9, 2010 at 10:27 am - Reply


        Great article and clear instructions for reapiring leaky shower drain. However, I have a much different drain than any that you describe or have I seen in the store. In my case, shower was installed in 1972, drain is ALL metal (brass?), completely smooth on the top (no indents for unscrewing drain from the top) with snap-in strainer (long gone!!) and appears to be screwed together from underneath at the shower stall bottom with a large nut with nubs sticking out every few inches. The actual drain piping is 2″ PVC which appears to be slid up into the drain from below, though hard to tell exactly. Problem is I need a special tool to unscrew the large nut and NO WAY to access it from underneath with joist, drain piping, solvent-welded trap, etc in the way!! Also, the access hole in the sub-floor (to the shower base above it)is way too small and I cannot get a wrench up there and, even if I could, would not be able to get any leverage on it to unscrew the thing. In short, as of now I cannot possibly remove the old drain.

        I’m thinking that I’ll have to somehow drill the large nut from underneath and split it apart in order to remove it from the drain – lots of work assuming that I can even do it with hand tools. This is one of those things that was easy to assemble when building the house, but impossible to fix now that I’m having a leak problem. No thought given to having to repair 40 years later!! I could get you some pictures if you’d like.

        Any suggestions?

        Appreciate your help.

        Rich Skrika

      • Jerry McMillan January 2, 2011 at 11:57 am - Reply

        Dear Bob,

        This is a great forum thank you. I followed the directions laid out on the last 4 pages. My drain still leaks, I noticed that the black gasket is not centered and is sticking out on one side. Would this be the problem? If so how can I center it while tightening the drain. I have the plastic gasket underneath the rubber one. Any help is appreciated thank you and Happy New Year. Jerry

        • Bob Jackson January 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm - Reply

          A slightly off center (say 1/8″ or less) black rubber gasket shouldn’t be a problem. The anti-friction “plastic gasket” that goes underneath the black rubber gasket is probably the source of the leak. I’ve always been a bit wary if those cardboard- or plastic anti-friction gaskets really make a water tight seal because that’s the job of the black rubber gasket which flexes and squeezes out to seal all voids. The purpose of the anti-friction gasket is to prevent torquing (i.e. twisting) the PVC drain pipe as you screw in and tighten the drain body. I personally won’t use any drain body with a cardboard gasket because water eventually wicks through it causing it to dissolve and fall apart, thereby loosening the joint and inviting a leak.

          Try this: If you can get your hands on the shower drain pipe under the shower pan – perhaps through a plumbing access panel or from an unfinished basement – have a helper hold the drain pipe while you install the shower drain body without the anti-friction gasket using only the black rubber gasket. Holding the drain pipe will prevent it from twisting and getting stressed. If you can’t get to the drain pipe to hold it, install the black rubber gasket by itself and closely watch the inside of drain pipe while you tighten the drain body to ensure you’re not noticeably twisting the drain pipe. The drain body only needs to be tight enough to firmly squeeze but not crush the black rubber gasket.

      • Jerry McMillan January 3, 2011 at 10:15 am - Reply

        Thank you very much Bob, I tried this and so far there is no leak, I held the pipe in place while another threaded the drain back in. So far no leak. I am going to watch it for about a week before I patch the ceiling. Your info photos are really great, the drywall instruction has taken all the intimidation out of fixing it. Thanks again for your dedication to this wonderful site! Sincerely Jerry McMillan

        • Bob Jackson January 3, 2011 at 10:50 am - Reply

          That’s good news!

          There was probably some dirt or roughness between the plastic anti-friction ring and the mouth of the drain body that was causing your leak. The anti-friction ring is fairly rigid and couldn’t flex enough to make a watertight seal. Removing the anti-friction enabled the black rubber gasket to seat directly against the shower drain body and “flow around” the dirt or roughness to seal completely.

          Instead of patching the drywall, you might consider installing a snap-in plastic access panel – it’ll be quicker, way less work and available if you ever need to get at the plumbing. Home Depot and Lowes have several different sizes. See the SNAP-EASE Access Panel about 1/2 down the page in this article.

          The MagnaPanel magnetically attached panel system probably isn’t the best for a drywall ceiling, but really nice for tiled or wood surfaces with visible joint lines. You can see it first hand if you visit a contractor tile supply store.

      • jane August 18, 2011 at 7:10 pm - Reply

        My client’s shower is either a custom vinyl pan or a lead pan… would this fix work in that case? thanks, j

      • Thom January 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

        Thanks, for all the great info. I am installing a new shower without access to the drain pipes once the floor is installed and have really been going slowly as I do not want to have any problems and your forum has eased my mind a lot. I will pass this link to my home repair buddies.

      • Michael Witten March 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm - Reply

        I found LASCO’s discussion of thread sealants for plastic threaded fittings to be instructive; I wonder whether it wouldn’t be better to use something like Oatey’s “Great White Pipe Joint Compound with PTFE” or Rectorseal’s “T plus 2 pipe thread sealant” around the threads.

        • Bob Jackson March 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm - Reply

          Thanks for sharing!

          The Lasco “The “Do’s and Don’ts” of Assembling Threaded Plastic Fittings” is a nice scientific explanation of stress on threaded plastic pipe joints and the differences between teflon tape, pipe dope and sealant.

          As far as using the Oatey or Rectorseal it appears these products are mainly intended for supply-side plumbing for gases, liquids, commercial (e.g. fire sprinkler systems) and food-grade applications. In contrast, a threaded shower drain really requires no thread sealant because any water that gets past the shower drain body goes down the drain. The vertical slots in the drain body threads is there to facilitate this drainage.

          Many shower drain manufacturers simply advise to caulk the drain rim to prevent it from backing out with no plumber’s putty or sealant on the drain body threads. Do always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

      • ATechGuy May 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm - Reply


        That has to be about the best how-to article I’ve seen written. And having the issue with the threads shows the readers that it’s important to bring the drain part along to the hardware store when looking for the gasket as well.

        Thanks for the great article. Pictures meant SO much in the explanation.

      • Pam Obrien August 31, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

        I have a leaking shower drain as well, however I can not for the life of me figure out how to remove the drain from the shower floor. There is no way that I can see to “unscrew” the part that connects the (shower stall) and pipes to the sewage pipes in the basement. I replaced the main bathroom parts and it worked like a charm, but this is in the master bath and it was built 47 years ago the plate in the drain says Fiat. I sure could use your help on this Bob. Thank you.

        • Bob Jackson August 31, 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

          That would be a Fiat Products shower.

          Fiat showers often use the Quick Drain Connector (QDC) which is a black ribbed neoprene compression gasket that seals against the pipe. See this question on for a Fiat QDC shower drain.

          If you have the QDC drain gasket, the Fiat Terrazzo shower floor installation instructions explain how it’s installed in 4A and 4B. The QDC connector is basically tamped in over the shower drain pipe.

          The QDC rubber gasket is similar in theory to the compression gasket in a Sioux Chief No-Caulk Shower Drain, however the products are not interchangeable.

          If your drain has the Fiat QDC, remove it by wiggling it up and off the drain pipe. Try lubricating the gasket with liquid dish soap by working it between the gasket and the pipe. I’d also replace the shower pan rubber gasket too because it may be aged, brittle and/or cracked.

          Measure the QDC gasket and shower pan gasket inside & outside diameters. Note your whether your drain pipe is metal or PVC plastic and measure the inside & outside pipe diameters. Then call Fiat Customer Service at:
          Monday – Saturday
          8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. EST

          to determine the replacement part #’s and find a distributor.

          Let me know if I’ve answered you correctly.


      • Ford September 11, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

        Bob, In a tiled shower can a cracked Offset drain body be replaced without ripping up the floor and taking out the pan? Bottom floor pier and beam house.

        • Bob Jackson September 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm - Reply

          This is a common problem and question from many readers.

          It’s critical to understand how a tiled shower pan is built:
          * Build the shower curb
          * Set the primary mortar bed with a pre-slope
          * Install the shower pan liner
          * Set the secondary (final) mortar bed
          * Lay the tile

          See the Oatey Shower Pan Liner Installation video at the above link for an excellent installation overview.

          You’ll need to determine the source of the shower drain leak. Is it leaking at the:
          * Clamping collar and drain flange? Water could be wicking under the pan liner due to loose clamping bolts.
          * Drain base where it fits on the PVC drain pipe?
          * It may be the shower pan itself is leaking, most commonly at the shower wall & floor junction especially if the shower pan liner was not installed along the base of the shower wall.

          Take a look at the drain plumbing and subfloor in the crawlspace under the house or under the floor joists if the house has a basement. For folks with a shower on the 2nd floor you’ll need to drill a 1/2 inch an inspection hole in the 1st floor ceiling to poke in a snake inspection camera to get a good look at the drain plumbing.

          Shower drain leak testing steps:
          Step 1:
          * Remove the shower drain strainer and insert a drain plug.

          * Fill the shower pan with water until the water level is 1 inch high along the shower wall. Mark the water level on the shower wall with a pencil. Wait 1 hour to see if the water level is falling which will indicate a leak. Check the water level every 15 mins. If the leak is significant remove the drain plug because you’ve seen enough.

          If the water level dropped noticeably then you know that the shower drain base is not leaking at the PVC pipe junction; and either the drain pan is leaking or the leak is at the clamping collar and flange.

          Step 2:
          If the drain pan test passed with no leaks, then the leak is either at the shower drain base where it fits on the PVC drain pipe or the leak is between the clamping collar and flange.

          Take a very close look at the shower drain base and PVC drain pipe junction with the shower running. Is the leak coming from the drain & pipe joint only and not from higher above? (Toilet paper is an excellent leak detector – dab it around the drain bottom to figure out where it’s leaking.) If so the drain needs to be replaced to repair the bad joint.

          If the drain base & PVC drain pipe joint is not leaking then the leak is at the clamping collar and drain flange. A good indicator is the subfloor is wet and water stained. It could be caused by loose clamping bolts or maybe the plastic drain body is cracked.


          Based on the above leak test results, the tile shower repair options are:

          Leaking Tiled Shower Pan
          If you’ve determined the shower pan is leaking (perhaps at the floor & wall) junction with no indication of a leak at the drain itself, then the entire shower panel will have to be torn out and rebuilt. Personally, I’d start fresh with the Schluter®-KERDI-SHOWER-KIT versus the traditional mud floor method.

          Leaking Tiled Shower Drain – Replace the Drain
          While I’ve not attempted a shower drain replacement on a tiled shower pan I believe it can be done without an expensive tear-out and rebuild of the entire shower pan.

          With careful work it should be possible to:
          * Chisel out the shower floor tile next to the drain. Hopefully the tiles are small (3 to 5 inches square) and you can obtain new matching tiles.
          * Remove the strainer and unscrew the head adapter.
          * Remove the pea gravel and mortar bed around the drain to expose the clamping collar.
          * Unbolt and remove the clamping collar to expose the PVC liner overlapping the drain base flange.
          * Cut the PVC drain pipe off about 6 inches below the drain.
          The Cobra Inside Pipe Cutter is great if you don’t have access underneath the shower pan to cut the pipe from below:

          * Cut the pan liner in 3 or 4 places (like pie slices) only enough to lift the drain base up & out of the shower pan.
          * Clean the pan liner top & bottom where it overlapped the drain. It must be clean and free of dirt, dust and mortar.

          * Install a 2 inch PVC coupling on the PVC drain pipe with PVC pipe glue (use purple primer and glue).
          * Carefully measure, cut and dry fit a new short section of PVC pipe at the correct height for the new drain on top of the coupling. Do not glue the PVC pipe stub at this point.
          * Set the new tile shower drain on the primary mortar bed and under the PVC shower pan liner. Check the height and fit with the PVC drain pipe stub on the coupling. Re-measure and cut the PVC pipe stub if necessary so the drain seats correctly on the primary mortar bed.
          * Glue the PVC pipe stub to the coupling, then apply glue and install the drain on the pipe stub. The drain is now seated on the mortar bed and under the shower pan liner.
          * Cut a round section of shower panel liner large enough to fit over the original shower panel liner and slice cuts. Also cut a hole in the center of the new liner for the drain hole. Shower pan liner is sold by the foot from a large roll at the home improvement stores. The new section of shower panel liner must overlap the cuts made in the original liner when old drain was removed.
          * Glue the new round section of shower pan liner on top of the original liner using shower pan liner adhesive. The old and new liner glue bond here is critical for leak prevention.
          * Install the clamping collar on top of the new liner.
          * Install the drain head adapter and adjust to the finished height of shower tile.
          * Place pea gravel around the new drain.
          * Fill/replace the second mortar bed as needed to lay new tile.
          * Lay new tile, grout and seal the grout.

          It’s tedious work but beats tearing out the entire shower pan.


      • Yefang September 27, 2017 at 10:26 am - Reply

        placing the black rubber gasket between the top of the drain pipe underneath the drain hole and the back of the shower pan is the right way to install. however, i found that the top of the Strainer Body can crack and water can make its way via the crack and by pass the gasket (if not seal well), creating leakage. can I place the rubber gasket on top of the shower pan and let the Strainer Body sit on top of the gasket? tightening Strainer Body will prevent any leak. the only issue is that the rubber gasket plus the Strainer Body thickness can create a rising, which acts as a water barrier.

        • Bob Jackson September 29, 2017 at 7:53 am - Reply

          The gasket should be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions between drain body and bottom of the shower pan. Put a bead of silicone caulk around the strainer body to seal the flange against the recess in the top of the shower.

          If your strainer body has to be screwed in so tightly that it cracks, check if the drain is the type that has a large lock nut that holds it against the bottom of the shower pan. If so, the lock nut must be tightened to clamp the drain gasket… the downside is you’ll have to cut an access hole in the ceiling of the room below the shower to get at the lock nut.

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