How to Install a Pop-Up Drain in a Bathroom Sink

  • 01 of 09

    Introduction

    Clean modern Bathroom Sink
    Fentino / Getty Images

    A bathroom sink pop-up is a very convenient feature, and while installation is usually easy, occasionally the process not quite as straightforward as you'd like. If you need to install a new pop-up drain for any reason, these instructions will simplify the process.

    NOTE: in our photo demonstration, we show the parts being installed with the sink removed from the vanity for visual clarity. While sink drains are sometimes installed this way when you are installing a new sink, in practice you may be installing the pop-up drain on a sink that is already in place.

    Tools and Materials You Will Need

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Remove the Old Drain and Prepare the New Pop-Up Drain

    Preparing a pop-up drain for installation
    Aaron Stickley

    Removing the old drain assembly is often the most difficult part of the entire project. 

    1. Loosen and remove the P-trap from the branch drain and sink drain tailpiece, using channel-type pliers.
    2. Next, remove the old pop-up assembly, if there is one. Use channel-type pliers or a basin wrench to remove the mounting nut from the old drain tailpiece, then lift the drain assembly clear of the sink.
    3. Clean the sink thoroughly of debris and old plumber's putty. 
    4. Disassemble the pieces of the new pop-up assembly and unscrew and remove the mounting nut from the drain tailpiece.
    5. Install the plastic washer then the rubber washer and push it all the way down on top of the mounting nut, as shown here.
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  • 03 of 09

    Apply Pipe-Joint Compound

    Pipe joint compound on pop-up drain
    Aaron Stickley

    Next, apply a thin layer of pipe joint compound to the top side of the rubber washer that will fit against the sink. Using joint compound on the rubber will ensure that it seals against the bottom of the sink. While the pipe joint compound is not strictly necessary, without it, you might have trouble getting the rubber to seal.

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  • 04 of 09

    Apply Plumber's Putty

    Plumbers putty on drain ring
    Aaron Stickley

    Apply a generous bead of plumber's putty to the underside of the flange on the sink drain fitting. The putty will help the upper part of the drain assembly seal against the sink drain opening.

    If you do not have plumber's putty or cannot use it on your type of sink, then you can use silicone or even a foam or rubber gasket that comes with some pop-up assemblies.

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  • 05 of 09

    Connect the Drain Parts

    Connecting pop-up drain parts
    Aaron Stickley
    1. Push the pop-up tailpiece assembly up through the drain opening from under the sink as high as you can.
    2. While holding the drain piece in place, fit the chrome drain ring into the opening from the top of the sink.
    3. Thread the chrome drain ring onto the drain tailpiece as far as you can by hand Make sure the pieces are threaded correctly and are not cross-threaded. For now, it only needs to be hand-tightened enough to hold it in place. 
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  • 06 of 09

    Tighten the Drain Assembly

    Tighten pop-up drain nut
    Aaron Stickley
    1. From under the sink, hold the drain tailpiece with one hand and tighten the mounting nut upwards toward the bottom of the sink. Make sure the opening in the tailpiece where the pop-up pivot lever will fit is pointing straight back towards the wall. 
    2. Tighten the mounting nut with channel-type pliers while continuing to hold the tailpiece in place. Do not over-tighten this nut, but it should be secure enough so that the drain assembly does not spin in the drain opening. 
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  • 07 of 09

    Put the Drain Stopper Into Place

    Pop-up stopper rod
    Aaron Stickley
    1. Push the pop-up stopper down into the drain opening inside the sink, making sure the hole in the linkage is facing toward the back of the sink.
    2. Once the stopper is in position, insert the pivot rod into the opening in the side of the tailpiece from under the sink. Usually, there is a plastic washer on each side of the plastic ball. You should be able to feel the tip of the pivot rod slide through the opening in the stopper linkage inside the drain assembly. 
    3. Screw the pivot rod nut onto the threaded fitting on the side of the tailpiece, so the ball is secured to the tailpiece.
    4. Push the pivot rod up and down to make sure the stopper goes up and down freely in the drain.
    5. If the pop-up is working properly, you can tighten the nut hand-tight. If the pop-up is not working, reposition the stopper and pivot rod so the pieces connect properly. 
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  • 08 of 09

    Install the Pop-Up Lever

    Connect strap to pop-up lever
    Aaron Stickley
    1. Feed the vertical pop-up lever down through the hole behind the spout of the faucet. Before connecting the horizontal pivot rod to the vertical lever, make sure your stopper is in the fully up (open) position. 
    2. From below the sink, attach the connecting strap to the end of the vertical pop-up lever. This needs to be screwed tightly before connecting the strap to the horizontal pivot rod.
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  • 09 of 09

    Connect the Pop-Up Lever and Pivot Rod

    Pop-up rod and lever connection
    Aaron Stickley
    1. Connect the vertical strap to the horizontal pivot rod by threading the spring clip on the rod. One end of the clip needs to be on each side of the strap.
    2. After the two rods are connected, check to make sure that the pop-up stopper opens and closes fully inside the drain opening. If it doesn’t, you can make some adjustments to the rod connections.
    3. Finish by reconnecting the P-trap to the drain pipe and drain tailpiece and checking for leaks by filling the sink up and draining it.