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Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

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  • Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

    Bathtub is original to house, which was built in 1941. Previous owner changed all plumbing fixtures, sconces, doorknobs and switchplates from chrome to gold plated in 1990s, with the exception of the bathtub drain/overflow, which has a lever drain stopper.

    After 71 years of being cleaned with abrasives, the tub’s porcelain is dull and rust has formed on the porcelain around the edge of the overflow plate. I have a surface-renewal company coming in soon to refinish the tub and thought to have the old tub drain/overflow replaced with matching gold beforehand by my (master) plumber, allowing clean-up of the rusted area. At first he expressed confidence that he’d be able to remove the drain without damage to the tub itself. At the time, he was here to have a look at the tub and its underside but he did not attempt to remove the drain or overflow plate. When I pointed out that the underside of the tub showed rust and a slow drip surrounding the drain, he said, "That has nothing to do with it" (i.e., removing the drain). He later developed second thoughts after I told him I’d rather live with the chrome mismatch than risk having to spend many thousands of dollars in replacing the entire tub and part of the wall tile (the 1941 tile is no longer made, so there’s another mismatch I’d have to live with). At this point, it would seem the choice is up to me.

    I’d like to hear your opinions, both pro and con. As for those voting “go for it," please include a recommendation for a drain wrench most likely to achieve the desired result by easing the drain out without incurring irreparable damage to the tub, for example, Ridgid's internal wrench model 342, cat. no. 31405.

    Thanks for your help!












  • #2
    Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

    Any experienced plumber can remove the drain without tub damage, even if the drain has to
    be cut out. I don't recommend doing it yourself unless you've done it before. Plus why buy
    a tool you may never use again? As for tub resurface, maybe the technology has improved,
    but I've never seen one that I would want in my house. All the ones I've seen never looked
    as good as furnace fired porcelain finish and didn't hold up well, either.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

      Big Jim, thanks for your input. I didn't mean to imply that I would attempt to do the work myself--it's a matter of whether or not to tell my plumber to proceed in light of how he went from totally confident to not-so-confident that the drain could be removed with impunity.

      I've looked at three tubs that have been resurfaced, one more than 10 years ago (the homeowners were satisfied friends and relatives) and certainly agree with you that acrylic doesn't begin to compare with porcelain, but the latter is not an option.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

        if your bottom drain has a typical cross pattern, then a 1'' steel nipple with 4 slots cut into it will either unscrew it or twist off the cross. then a sawzall or better yet a dremel with a cut off wheel will allow you to cut out the top spud internally from within the drain with no damage guaranteed.

        a sawzall has lots of vibration and stroke. if not very careful a slight slip and you can hit the tub. the dremel is quick and safe. especially with a diamond wheel that doesn't wear.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

          Thanks for the 1" nipple idea Rick, I'm going to make one tomorrow. I usually use this but sometimes it's too big.
          http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pro...876d1d_300.jpg

          I bought one of these a while back but haven't had the opportunity to use it yet. I hear it works great.

          Bath Tub Drain Key Plumbers Tool - AZ Partsmaster

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

            I have a special tub tool I use that has a 99.9% success rate of taking out the old flange, even if the cross is broken off.

            However, it won't work on those older tubs that have the smaller opening cause it won't fit in...hence the .1% failure.

            My days of using sawzalls have been over for years since I got this tool.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

              Originally posted by Flux View Post
              I have a special tub tool I use that has a 99.9% success rate of taking out the old flange, even if the cross is broken off.

              However, it won't work on those older tubs that have the smaller opening cause it won't fit in...hence the .1% failure.

              My days of using sawzalls have been over for years since I got this tool.

              Which tub tool is it?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                If you can see the bottom of the tub drain, why not just take the tub shoe off with a grinder flush with the underside. Then just lift the remains out?

                Also, I usually just use the same little hacksaw from cutting Johnny bolts and cut vertically through the drain threads.
                No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                  Originally posted by ironranger View Post
                  Which tub tool is it?
                  RectorSeal Golden Tool Products Golden Extractorâ„¢ Tub Drain Tool

                  Tool is around $45.00...but absolutely worth it imo. When the cross breaks inside, just lift the tool up towards the top, and spin it right out.

                  Once in a blue moon, I'll have to use a 3/8" drive breaker bar instead of a regular 3/8" ratchet.
                  Last edited by Flux; 03-30-2012, 09:03 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                    Trying to remove the drain from a tub that old...in theory it is possible. You are likely to create new problems. I love to use the Watco NuFit glue in drain flanges. Use kit number 48400-PB ...in includes an overflow plate as well.

                    I have used these and like them a lot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                      Originally posted by Flux View Post
                      RectorSeal Golden Tool Products Golden Extractorâ„¢ Tub Drain Tool

                      Tool is around $45.00...but absolutely worth it imo. When the cross breaks inside, just lift the tool up towards the top, and spin it right out.

                      Once in a blue moon, I'll have to use a 3/8" drive breaker bar instead of a regular 3/8" ratchet.
                      Will it remove one put in with rectorseal ?
                      This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                        Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                        Will it remove one put in with rectorseal ?
                        Absolutely

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                          if your bottom drain has a typical cross pattern, then a 1'' steel nipple with 4 slots cut into it will either unscrew it or twist off the cross. then a sawzall or better yet a dremel with a cut off wheel will allow you to cut out the top spud internally from within the drain with no damage guaranteed.

                          a sawzall has lots of vibration and stroke. if not very careful a slight slip and you can hit the tub. the dremel is quick and safe. especially with a diamond wheel that doesn't wear.

                          rick.


                          Rick, if you have a moment can you post a link to the diamond cutter for the dremmel. We dont have access to all of the same tools that you guys do and, in situations like this when the opportunity arises, it would be good to learn more.
                          Thanks in advance

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                            here is a link to harbor freight tools. mostly chinese cheap tools, but some actually work pretty good. these are 1/8'' shaft and 1'' cutter wheel. good for tile and cutting from the inside of drains. pretty cheap too to try.
                            5 Piece Diamond Mini-Cutting Discs

                            with all the goodies we have access to, you should put together a shopping list and i can make it happen

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Should I even try to remove bathtub drain?

                              Originally posted by Flux View Post
                              Absolutely
                              cool... i dont do them very often but might buy one anyway. Every so often one'll start leaking after snaking it.

                              I hate when i see rectorseal on c/o plugs... dont even bother; get a hammer and chisel.
                              This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                              Comment

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