How to Install a Stopper Drain Fitting in a Bathtub

  • 01 of 06

    Introduction

    Replacing a tub shoe for one with a stopper
    Photo © Aaron Stickley

    A tub drain with a built-in stopper has distinct advantages over other types. They are more durable and easier to maintain that pop-up stoppers that operate by linkage running through the overflow tube. And if you have an old-style tub with a rubber stopper held by a chain, a built-in stopper drain fitting will modernize your fixture. 

    By replacing a tub shoe for one with a stopper, you can be sure that the stopper will always be in place and operating when you need it.

    Difficulty Level

    • Easy
    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Tools and Materials You Will Need

    A tub shoe kit and dumbell wrench
    Photo © Aaron Stickley
    • Tub drain converter kit for a stopper drain
    • Tub drain wrench (Dumbell tool)
    • Channel-type piers
    • Putty knife
    • Plumber's putty
    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Remove the Existing Bathtub Drain Fitting

    Dumbell wrench removing a tub shoe
    Photo © Aaron Stickley

    Use the tub drain wrench to remove the existing tub shoe. First, determine which end of the wrench will fit inside the tub drain opening around the drain fitting's crosshairs. Insert the wrench into the tub drain and align it with the crosshairs, then use another wrench or channel-type pliers to rotate the drain fitting counterclockwise and loosen the fitting. It should unthread from the drain fitting below the tub. 

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Clean the Tub Drain Opening

    Clean putty off of drain opening
    Photo © Aaron Stickley

    After removing the drain fitting, clean off the ring of plumber’s putty that surrounds the opening of the tub drain. It is best to have a clean surface to work with, so be sure to remove as much of the putty as possible. If the plumber’s putty is dried in place, you can use a non-scratch scouring pad to remove it.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Determine the Drain Thread Size

    Tub Shoe Threads
    Photo © Aaron Stickley

    A bathtub drain converter kit provides drain threads in two sizes to accommodate different tub drains. Use the old fitting to determine what size your drain is. Select the appropriate thread attachment.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Install the New Tub Drain Fitting

    Install a new tub shoe
    Photo © Aaron Stickley

    Remove the tub stopper from the new drain fitting before continuing with the installation. Apply a generous band of plumber’s putty to the bottom of the flange on the new fitting. Insert the fitting into the bathtub drain opening, making sure to center it.

    • A good way to avoid cross-threading is to start tightening by hand first. When it looks like the fitting's threads have started, you can continue tightening by using the tub drain wrench. Make sure to thread the fitting into the drain...MORE plumbing carefully. 

    Last, clean off any excess plumber’s putty from around the drain fitting, then insert the stopper.