Mon Jun 17 2024

8 Easy Steps to Install a Bathtub Drain

Installing a bathtub drain may seem like a daunting task, but with the right instructions and tools, it can be a straightforward DIY project. Whether you are upgrading your bathroom or simply replacing an old bathtub drain, knowing how to install a bathtub drain can save you time and money.

This comprehensive guide from Magnus Home Products will walk you through the essential steps in installing a bathtub drain. By following these simple instructions, you can install a bathtub drain that works perfectly and stays leak-free.

Step 1 - Understand the Bathtub Draining System

Before you install a new bathtub drain, it’s important to understand a bathtub’s draining system. This helps you install your bathtub drain properly, troubleshoot issues, and repair with confidence.

A bathtub’s draining system is composed of several key components. Here is an overview of a bathtub’s draining system, including each component’s description and function:




Stopper Mechanism

Device to open and close the bathtub drain

Opens the drain to drain water from the bathtub and closes the drain to hold water

Drain Flange

Visible part of the drain inside the bathtub, often with a strainer

Connects the bathtub to the plumbing system

Drain Pipe

Pipe that connects the drain flange to the plumbing system

Carries wastewater away from the bathtub

Overflow Plate

Cover for the overflow opening located near the top of the bathtub

Prevents water from spilling over by directing excess water to the overflow tube

Overflow Tube

Tube that connects the overflow opening to the drain pipe

Directs excess water to the plumbing system


U-shaped pipe beneath the bathtub

Holds water to prevent sewer gases from entering the home


Pipe that connects the drain flange to the P-trap

Guides water from the drain to the P-trap

Waste pipe

Main pipe that connects the P-trap to the plumbing system

Carries wastewater from the P-trap to the plumbing system

Gaskets and sealants

Rings, and silicone sealants

Create watertight connections and prevent leaks in the components

These components work together to create a functional and efficient draining system for your bathtub.

Step 2 - Gather Your Tools

Installing a bathtub drain requires not only a good understanding of the draining system but also the right set of tools. Having them on hand makes the installation process smoother and more efficient.

Here is a comprehensive list of the tools you need for your bathtub drain installation:

  • Pipe Wrench: Grips and turns pipes
  • Adjustable Wrench: Tightens and loosens nuts and bolts
  • Drain Wrench: Tightens and loosens drains
  • Screwdriver: Secures screws on some components
  • Gaskets: Seals plumbing connections to prevent leaks
  • Plumber’s Tape: Seals threaded pipes to prevent leaks
  • Clear Silicone: Seals the drain flange and other connections
  • Caulking Gun: Applies silicone sealants around the connections

Proper preparation of these tools not only simplifies the installation process but also contributes to a more durable and long-lasting result. After gathering these tools, you gain the confidence to tackle the next steps of the bathtub drain installation.

Safety Tip: Working on tub drains can involve exposure to debris, sharp tools, and other potentially harmful materials. Include safety glasses and work gloves to your list of tools for a safer bathtub drain installation.

Step 3 - Install the Drain Assembly

Start with the drain flange and drain pipe. They are the fundamental parts of your bathtub’s draining system. Here is a step-by-step process on how to secure your drain flange to your bathtub and connect it to the drain pipe:

  1. Place the drain flange in the drain hole of your bathtub. Make sure it sits flat and centered. Apply clear silicone at the underside of the drain flange to create a watertight seal between it and the bathtub.
  2. Tighten the drain flange. Use a drain wrench to tighten the drain flange. Make sure it is really secure to prevent it from moving or leaking water.
  3. Attach the drain pipe to the drain flange. Wrap the threaded ends of your drain pipe and connect it to the drain flange. Use a pipe wrench to tighten the connection.

By installing your drain flange and drain pipe, you can flow water from your bathtub to your plumbing system. A secure and tight fit ensures an efficient water flow by preventing leaks.

Step 4 - Install the Overflow Assembly

The overflow assembly includes the overflow plate and the overflow tube. These overflow drain components work together to direct excess water from the bathtub to your plumbing system. They are essential to prevent water from spilling over the edge of your bathtub.

Here is a step-by-step process on how to install your overflow assembly:

  1. Install your overflow plate on the overflow opening near the top of your tub. Make sure it aligns correctly with the opening. Usually, you can secure the overflow plate with screws using your screwdriver.
  2. Connect the overflow tube to the overflow opening and drain pipe. Connect one end of the overflow tube to the overflow opening, making sure it fits snugly. Connect the other end of the tube to the drain pipe, using plumber’s tape on the threaded connections to ensure a watertight seal.

By carefully positioning and securing your overflow assembly, you can get rid of excess water and protect your bathroom floor from water damage. Handle varying water levels and get peace of mind with a properly installed overflow assembly. 

Step 5 - Secure the Plumbing Connections

This step involves placing your tailpiece, P-trap, and waste pipe. The goal is to connect your drain and overflow assemblies to your plumbing system. Here is a step-by-step process on how to secure these plumbing connections:

  1. Connect the pipes. Put the tailpiece, P-trap, and waste pipe together, with the tailpiece at the very top, the P-trap at the middle, and the waste pipe at the bottom. Start this connection by attaching the tailpiece to the drain pipe and work from there.
  2. Tighten and seal the connections. Make sure you use plumber’s tape between the threaded connections of the pipes. Secure and tighten the connections using a pipe wrench.
  3. Connect the other end of the waste pipe to your plumbing system. This completely connects your bathtub drain to your plumbing system.

With all the proper connections secured, your bathtub is almost ready for daily use.

Step 6 - Place the Stopper Mechanism

Installing the stopper mechanism is a crucial step in finalizing your bathtub’s drainage system. The bathtub drain stopper allows you to control the flow of water in your tub. It opens to empty your tub or closes to fill your tub with water.

There is no clear-cut way to install a bathtub drain stopper. There are different types of bathtub drain stoppers, with each having unique installation requirements. Here are general guidelines on how to install a drain stopper in your bathtub:

  1. Identify your drain stopper type. Some of the most common types of bathtub drains are lift-and-turn, push-and-pull, toe-tap, and trip lever stoppers. You can see some of these bathtub drain types in our bathroom drains and supplies collection. Read your manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly install your bathtub drain stopper.
  2. Install the drain stopper. Secure your bathtub drain stopper according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, you can secure a lift-and-turn drain and a push-and-pull stopper by turning them clockwise into the drain flange. For toe-tap stoppers, you can usually just push them down into the drain flange until they click into place. For trip lever stoppers, you usually need to attach the trip lever mechanism to your bathtub’s overflow assembly.
  3. Test the stopper mechanism. Engage the bathtub drain stopper to see if it seals the drain properly and allows your bathtub to hold water. Disengage it as well to see if it drains water effectively.

A well-installed stopper mechanism allows you to fill the bathtub for a relaxing bath and drain it effortlessly afterward. With the bathtub drain stopper in place, your bathtub drainage system is now complete.

Pro Tip: Before installing a new tub drain stopper, you need to remove the older one. Check your manufacturer’s instructions on how to remove your old tub drain stopper. Usually, you have to set the tub drain stopper to the open position and turn it counterclockwise.

Step 7 - Seal All Connections

You should seal all connections during the installation of your assemblies, pipes, and stopper mechanisms. But it’s such an important step in the bathtub drain installation process that it needs to be its own step to serve as a reminder.

Here are some tips to properly seal all connections with gaskets, plumber’s tape, and silicone sealants:

  • Place the gaskets in connections and joints. These connections and joints typically include those between the drain flange, overflow tube, tailpiece, P-trap, and waste pipe.
  • Apply clear silicone on connections involving the drain flange and other metal components. Wipe out the excess silicone that comes out after you tighten the connections.
  • Use plumber’s tape to wrap threaded connections. This helps fill gaps and create a tight seal. While wrapping, overlap the tape slightly to improve its effectiveness.
  • Apply silicone sealant for additional sealing. Use a caulking gun to evenly apply silicone sealant around the edges of connections and joints. Allow the sealant to cure before exposing it to water.

Properly sealing connections ensures your bathtub’s drainage system is watertight. It prevents leaks and enhances the overall durability of your drainage system.

Step 8 - Test Your Newly Installed Bathtub Drain

Testing your new installation is crucial. It ensures your bathtub’s drainage system is actually working and free of leaks. By inspecting connections and performing water tests, you can identify issues and address them immediately.

Here is a step-by-step process on how to test your newly installed bathtub drain:

  1. Visually inspect the connections and seals. Make sure all gaskets are in place and silicone sealant and plumber’s tape are applied correctly. Look for any gaps, misalignments, or areas where sealant may be insufficient.
  2. Fill your bathtub to a high level. This is a good way to know if your overflow assembly is getting rid of excess water and if your stopper mechanism is effectively shutting the drain. Check for leaks, especially in the overflow plate and overflow tube.
  3. Drain the water and observe. Disengage your bathtub drain stopper and observe the flow of water from your bathtub to your drainage system. While draining, check the connections for leaks, especially in the drain pipe, tailpiece, P-trap, and waste pipe.

If there are leaks, tighten the affected connections or apply additional sealants. Be careful of tightening too much. Doing so can damage your connections and your bathtub.

With all checks completed and adjustments made, your bathtub drain is now fully operational, ready for you to enjoy.


Installing a bathtub drain involves several critical steps to ensure a secure, watertight, and efficient drainage system. By following our step-by-step process, you can achieve a successful installation yourself. You can also get more peace of mind by letting professional plumbers install your new tub drain.

Here at Magnus Home Products, we have everything you need for a relaxing soak, from state-of-the-art bathtubs to high-quality plumbing supplies such as tub drains. Explore our extensive collection and ask for expert advice to create your ideal bathroom.