How to Replace a Pop-Up Sink Drain – Part 2

This project is continued from How to Replace a Pop-Up Sink Drain – Part 2.

The rubber drain gasket and steel washer are stuck to the bottom of the bathroom sink. It was easy enough to pull out the old rubber gasket with my fingers.

Pop-Up Sink Drain Repair: Rubber Gasket and Steel Washer

Pop-Up Sink Drain Repair: Rubber Gasket and Steel Washer

It looks like someone smeared Plumber’s Putty on the rubber gasket – an unnecessary effort – because the rubber gasket is flexible and seals just fine by itself when compressed by the lock nut and metal washer. Plumber’s Putty should only be used to seal the joint between two hard and inflexible surfaces when a rubber gasket isn’t present; for example between the sink drain flange and faux marble sink as explained in this project.

Pop-Up Sink Drain Repair: Remove the Rubber Gasket and Metal Washer

Pop-Up Sink Drain Repair: Remove the Rubber Gasket and Metal Washer

Wipe the old Plumber’s Putty out of the sink drain hole with paper towels until the faux marble sink drain is clean and polished.

Replace a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Clean Sink Drain Hole

Replace a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Clean Sink Drain Hole

Scrape the plumber’s putty and crud off the sink bottom with putty knife so there’s nothing to interfere with the seal between the sink and the new rubber gasket:

Pop-Up Sink Drain Repair: Scrape off the old Plumber's Putty

Pop-Up Sink Drain Repair: Scrape off the old Plumber’s Putty

Here’s the old pop-up sink drain assembly showing the rusted pivot rod end that cause the pop-up stopper to stick in the drain:

Sink Drain Repair: Old Pop-Up Drain Assembly with Rusted Pivot Rod

Sink Drain Repair: Old Pop-Up Drain Assembly with Rusted Pivot Rod

Install the New Pop-Up Drain

It helps to familiarize yourself with the various parts of the new Dearborn Brass 1-1/4″ Pop-Up Sink drain model #H756-1 and how it fits together:

Dearborn Brass 1-1/4" Pop-Up Sink Drain Parts

Dearborn Brass 1-1/4″ Pop-Up Sink Drain Parts

The white plastic anti-friction washer rides on top of the lock nut so it doesn’t stick to the black rubber gasket as the lock nut is tightened.

The new pop-up sink drain is installed by applying a generous bead of Plumber’s Putty on the bottom rim of the drain flange (shown upside down):

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Drain Flange and Plumber's Putty

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Drain Flange and Plumber’s Putty

The bead of Plumber’s Putty pressed against the bottom of the sink drain flange:

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Plumber's Putty on the Sink Flange

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Plumber’s Putty on the Sink Flange

There’s a technique for installing a pop-up sink drain and it’s important to do it correctly. The installation steps are:

  1. Insert the pop-up drain body up through the bottom of the sink.
  2. Screw on the drain flange on the drain body until the Plumber’s Putty just makes contact with the sink.
  3. While holding the drain body, tighten the lock nut to compress the black rubber washer and drawn the drain flange down against the sink.

These steps are illustrated in the following photos.

Note the lock nut, anti-friction washer and black rubber gasket (in that order) are set at the lowest position on the drain body. Insert the drain body up through the sink drain hole. Turn the drain body so the rod opening faces the back of the sink to later mate with pivot rod. Hold the drain in this position against the bottom of the sink.

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Insert the Drain Body into the Sink

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Insert the Drain Body into the Sink

The threaded drain body extends up through the sink drain hole. While holding the drain body in place with one hand under the sink, reach over in the sink bowl and screw on the drain flange until the Plumber’s Putty just touches the sink surface as shown in the #2 photo inset:

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Screw the Drain Flange on the Drain Body

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Screw the Drain Flange on the Drain Body

At this point the rubber gasket (red arrow) is lightly touching the bottom of the sink drain after screwing on the drain flange:

Pop-Up Sink Drain Installation: Drain Body before Tightening the Lock Nut

Pop-Up Sink Drain Installation: Drain Body before Tightening the Lock Nut

While holding the drain body so the rod opening faces the back of the sink, tighten the lock nut. This will simultaneously:

  1. Compress the rubber gasket – and –
  2. Pull the drain flange down against the sink drain, squeezing out the Plumber’s Putty

If you look closely the translucent anti-friction gasket can be seen on the left between the black rubber gasket and lock nut. The anti-friction gasket prevents the rubber gasket from being torqued (i.e. twisted) as the lock nut is turned:

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Tighten the Lock Nut

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Tighten the Lock Nut

Turn the lock nut until it compresses the black rubber gasket evenly against the bottom of the sink drain. This requires strong hands to tighten the nut. You’ll see the gasket bulging slightly to make a water tight seal:

Pop-Up Sink Drain Installation: Lock Nut Tighten against the Rubber Gasket

Pop-Up Sink Drain Installation: Lock Nut Tight against the Rubber Gasket

The Plumber’s Putty will squeeze out around the drain flange as the lock nut is tightened. Trim off the excess Plumber’s Putty with the putty knife and wipe off the sink flange with a paper towel:

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Plumber's Putty Squeeze-Out around the Drain Flange

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Plumber’s Putty Squeeze-Out around the Drain Flange

What is the purpose of Plumber’s Putty on the sink drain flange?

Plumber’s Putty forms a water tight seal between the hard surfaces of the drain flange and sink bowl so the sink will hold water when the pop-up stopper is closed. Without putty water would slowly leak around the flange and go down the drain when you filled the sink with water. This is mainly a convenience in case you want to soak something in the sink for a long time.

Note that Plumber’s Putty is not applied to the black rubber gasket on the sink bottom because the gasket flexes and seals between the sink and drain body.

Set the new pop-up stopper in the sink drain so the notch faces the back of the sink as shown:

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Insert the Pop-Up Stopper

Install a Pop-Up Sink Drain: Insert the Pop-Up Stopper

This project is concluded in How to Replace a Pop-Up Sink Drain – Part 3.

Thanks for reading.

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2016 HandymanHowTo.com   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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22 Responses to How to Replace a Pop-Up Sink Drain – Part 2

  1. Del July 27, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    The black rubber gasket does not seal well enough around the threaded pipe, so something (plumber’s putty?) is required to ensure a tight seal here. Water flows over the overflow holes and down around the threads onto the gasket, then finds its way past the gasket via the threads on the pipe…

    • Bob Jackson July 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      Hi Del,
      Another reader and I experienced the same problem with the plastic sink drain. I believe the problem is the plastic sink drain isn’t strong enough to seal the rubber gasket.

      Replacing the cheaper plastic drain with the all-metal Dearborn Brass 1-1/4″ pop-up drain Model # H759BN-3 fixed the problem.

      I’ll update the project with a notice to use the metal drain because three people (including yourself) have reported problems with the plastic drain leaking.

      Thanks,
      Bob

      • Andrew April 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

        I found that even with a metal drain I had water leaking through the threads. Not sure if this is a proper solution, but taping the threads with thread seal tape fixed the issue for me.

      • RogerB June 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

        Two issues I’ve seen with these rubber gaskets, 1) sometimes the rubber is a bit brittle and doesn’t seal well over the threads of the pipe and water finds it’s way past the gasket that way, 2) even with the gasket snugged up against the sink quite tightly, water still finds it’s way past the gasket is the surface isn’t super flat and super clean. What helps in both cases is to smear some silicon grease over inside of the gasket where the threads go and on top of the gasket that mates to the sink. Very often this is all it takes to fix a leak.

  2. Anonymous Coward August 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    I am going to do this in a few minutes… and now I know how! THANK YOU very much for posting the detailed steps. This content is the best on the subject that I could find.

  3. Robert December 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Great tutorial. Though it seems easy enough, doing things in the right sequence makes it all work. Note that “plumbers putty” instructions clearly indicate to not use with plastic, so perhaps that is why it will not seal right. I am on the lookout for the proper material. An old container of Harveys Plumbers Putty says to use Siliconized Acylic Tub Seal Latex No. 032010 for use on marble and plastic. Maybe that works.

    • Bob Jackson December 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      Regular plumber’s putty contains “Hydrocarbon oil” that has a “mild petroleum odor” which may weaken certain types of plastic and/or stain porous marble surfaces. However, it will take some time for the oil to weaken plastic fittings and the oil in regular plumber’s definitely wasn’t causing a drain leak during installation. It also depends on the specific type of plastic, for example PVC is highly resistant to oil however it’s unknown what type of plastic is used to manufacture the drain.

      I installed two plastic drains in different sinks using regular plumber’s putty. One was drain fine (it’s been over 1 year now) and the other leaked immediately. I believe the plastic drain warps when tightening the lock nut as explained here.

      A solution to regular plumber’s putty is Oatey Sta Put Ultra which is oil free and won’t stain:

      Thanks,
      Bob

  4. Victor J. Molles March 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Where can I get a basin flange with a very wide lip to cover chips in a sink?

    • Bob Jackson March 5, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

      If you could find a sink drain with a wide flange it probably wouldn’t fit the recess in the sink drain and leak. Better to repair the chips with a porcelain touch-up or granite/marble repair kit depending on the type of sink.

  5. Andrew_J May 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    Thank you thank you thank you. Old pluming nightmare. Went from remove and clean the catch tube to replacing the drain as the downtube snapped off. Don’t forget to use teflon tape or paste on the downtube where it screws in. It will leak otherwise.

  6. Tom whitebird July 14, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    My sink has no overflow and water drips down the threads on drain is there a different type of popup drain

    • Bob Jackson July 16, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

      Do you have the plastic body drain as shown in the project? My experience with the plastic drain is mixed… sometimes that plastic drain will always leak, probably because it’s weak and may warp.

      See this comment about installing the more expensive ($27) all-metal drain which is way more reliable and leak free.

  7. Dan Calcagni August 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    I just installed a new sink and pop-up drain. I used plumbers putty on top. And used marine silicone on the rubber seal. This worked perfectly. This was a recommendation from a friend who is a plumber.

  8. Pamela Wallace June 28, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    I am a lady and this is my FIRST attempt to replace a facet! My facet and plumbing was 35 years old. I only planned to replace the facet which came with a new pop-up drain. My plan was only replace the facet and use the old pop-up drain, WRONG! All new part now are plastic as mine were now rusted. It took me hours to get things in my mind. I have a plastic piece that goes in the fitting where the pivot ball or whatever it’s called goes, however when I place this plastic piece in the place I think it goes I cannot tighten the thingy. I did not put in the plastic piece. Everything fit. Now for the clip! It won’t stay on! I put a rubber band on the end of the rod to hold the clip on. The pop-up works with the rubber band on without the clip slipping off when you try to use the pop-up. The rubber band holds the clip in place, BUT water slowly leaks out of the sink when the pop-up is down. I’m sorry, I know nothing about plumbing at all. My husband was the repairman, but suffered 4 major strokes almost 7 years ago and he no longer is able to repair things around here and as we are retired I cannot afford a plumber so I try to repair things myself. I feel like if I could get this pop-up issue solved everything would work perfectly. Please, don’t laugh because I know nothing about what I’ve done! I manage as best I can with the sense God gave me. I just need a little help from anyone who could possibly direct me as to what I am doing wrong. THANKS!!

    • Bob Jackson June 29, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

      > I have a plastic piece that goes in the fitting where the pivot ball or whatever
      > it’s called goes, however when I place this plastic piece in the place I think
      > it goes I cannot tighten the thingy.
      Maybe you installed the tapered ball washer backwards? See this photo from Part 3 of the project for the correct washer orientation.

      > the pop-up works with the rubber band on without the clip slipping off
      > when you try to use the pop-up.
      Try bending open the pivot rod spring clip so it has more tension when compressed and fitted onto the rod.

      If you’re still having problems you can e-mail photos to bob[at]handymanhowto.com replace the [at] with the @ symbol.

      Take care,
      Bob

  9. Ellen August 6, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    I can not get the flange inset enough that the sink drains all the way. There is standing water around the flange in the sink basin. Less putty? More pressure (afraid I’ll push it all out the top)? Different fix altogether?

    • Bob Jackson August 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

      If you take apart the drain and place the flange in the sink without plumber’s putty, does the flange sit fully in the sink recess? If not the flange is too thick and you’ll need to find the pop-up drain fits the profile of your sink. Likely by purchasing the drain made by your sink manufacturer.

      “Less putty?” – I doubt using less putty will fix it if the drain is tight. Putty squeezes out fairly easily so a little too much corrects itself.

  10. jax August 26, 2016 at 1:04 am #

    what about gasket slightly that is too wide at inner raised diameter and doesn’t fit into sink basin bottom??? where to find a gasket with lesser inner raised width ??

    • Bob Jackson August 26, 2016 at 8:40 am #

      If the diameter of the drain gasket is too large to fit in the drain opening, take the original gasket to the home improvement store to compare and find either a matching drain assembly or a replacement gasket.

  11. Larry October 1, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

    The pop up drain that I purchased has an additional gasket, a flat gasket that looks like a rubber washer. It appears that it is supposed to go on the bottom of the flange. Should the plumber’s putty go between the flange and this gasket, or between this gasket and the sink? Or is this gasket supposed to be used in combination with the bottom gasket, under the sink?

    • Bob Jackson October 2, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      Do not apply plumber’s putty to the rubber gasket – it’s done wrong in this photo. The purpose of plumber’s putty is to make a watertight seal between two hard surfaces where there isn’t a gasket.

      RE: additional flat gasket/rubber washer
      I believe that’s an optional gasket included with the generic pop-up drain kit to fit some sinks. It goes under the sink flange instead of plumber’s putty. The gasket may be a better fit if the contour of the sink drain has straight rims shaped like |____| instead of sloping sides \____/ like mine.

      • Larry October 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

        I think you are right about the extra gasket. When I checked newer versions of the drain package in the store (same manufacturer and same model number) they no longer include the extra gasket. My sink drain has sloping sides, so I installed it without the extra gasket, and it works fine. Thanks for your help.

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