Fix-It Chick: Replace a tub drain flange

Replacing an existing tub drain flange with a new tip-toe or lift-and-turn drain flange is easy, if you can get the old flange to unscrew from the tub drain.

Step 1: Remove the tub drain stopper or strainer cover to expose the cross pieces located on the inside of the existing tub drain.

Step 2: Insert a tub drain removal tool or the handles of a pair of pliers into the tub drain flange. The removal tool or plier handles should wedge securely into the cross pieces located inside at the bottom of the flange.

Step 3: Grip the removal tool or plier handles with an adjustable wrench or a pair of locking pliers. Twist the tool assembly very slowly to the left (counter clockwise) to loosen the tub drain flange from the drain assembly. Heating the flange area with a blow dryer may help by loosening the plumbers putty located beneath the flange lip. Apply steady pressure and minimal force when turning the flange to avoid damaging the drain.


Step 4: Once the flange is removed, clean the drain area with a soft cloth and mild detergent to remove rust, residue and old putty.

Step 5: Inspect the rubber gasket wedged between the tub base and the drain shoe. If the gasket is deteriorated or compromised, replace it before proceeding. To do this, remove the old gasket, fold the new one in half and insert it into the drain. Slide the new gasket gently between the tub and the drain shoe and position it into place. Be very careful not to move the drain shoe during the process.

Step 6: Roll a ball of plumbers putty into a half-inch-thick rope and wrap the putty around the underside of the new drain flange lip.

Step 7: Insert the drain flange into the tub drain. Turn the flange gently clockwise until it begins to thread onto the drain shoe. Do not press down on the flange. Allow the threads to pull the flange down into the drain shoe.

Step 8: Use the drain-removal tool or plier handles to tighten the flange into the drain. The flange should be tight enough to prevent water leaks, but not tight enough to damage the tub.

Step 9: Wipe away the excess putty and test the drain for leaks.

Step 10: Install the stopper and overflow plate as needed.

— Have a home improvement question you want answered by the Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.