Clogged/slow shower drain


Old 01-28-16, 05:55 AM
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Clogged/slow shower drain

I just moved into a new house and quickly found that the shower drain in the master bath is very slow and getting worse. It's a tile shower with a 4.25x4.25, metal square grate. The grate has phillips head screws that are stripped so I can't remove the grate (yet). I tried a highly-rated chemical drain cleaner and it made a modest improvement but the drain is still really slow. The stuff completely dissolved a similar clog in the sink, however. I don't know what's special about this shower clog. I can see the clog with a flashlight just beneath the grate and it appears to be soap/hair.

I can use a Dremel to cut slots into the screws so that I can remove them, but this will also damage the grate. I wouldn't mind that if I could find a replacement but I've searched high and low for a 4.25" SQUARE grate with screw holes. Most are round, and the square ones I do find are mostly Redi- or other brand snap-in covers. Anyone know of a source for a square, 4.25" grate?

Second question is whether I might be able to clear the drain mechanically (versus chemical) without removing the grate? Any genius methods for doing this. I have NOT tried a plunger as I don't think it would seal. If there were some other way to blast the clog down the drain or otherwise break it up I'm all ears.

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Old 01-28-16, 06:15 AM
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If it has s flip lever that diverts the water from the tub to the shower, remove the two screws in the plate & pull out the assembly. If the previous owner was bald, you'll find his hair wrapped around the plunger.
Old 01-28-16, 06:25 AM
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If the slots in the drain are wide enough, you can try one of these:

Zip-It Bath and Sink Hair Snare-BC00400 - The Home Depot

They don't work very well on dense, hardened clogs, but they work very well on grabbing clumps of hair and pulling them out.

You might have better luck with a small ez-out on the drain screw as it won't damage the grate to try it. Hopefully screws are brass an won't be rusted in place.
Old 01-28-16, 06:58 AM
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For small screws like that I use one of these in my impact driver.
It's even removed soft brass screws in wood.
Old 01-28-16, 08:34 AM
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Thanks all for the replies.

It's just a shower, so there's no diverter. Good idea though!

I think I'll pick up a screw extractor set and a zip-it clog cleaner tonight. I think I can get the Zip it through the grate but I'm not sure how deep the clog goes.

I can't tell if the screws are brass or not but hopefully if the Zip-it doesn't work the extractor will work on the screws.
Old 01-28-16, 04:59 PM
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I bought this at Home Depot:

Ontel Speed Out Speed Out Screw Extractor (4-Piece)-1000264 - The Home Depot

It worked great for the most part. The head of the first screw popped off the second I applied a bit of torque to it. I think I drilled too deep essentially drilling the screw head off. I didn't drill as deep on the 2nd screw and the tool extracted it nicely. They are indeed brass.

I may be able to get vise grips on the remnants of the first screw, but I'm not worried about it because the grate is pretty much glued/grouted in place. I'm going to have to cut it out. I may replace it with one without screw holes since the screws are pretty much cosmetic.

I'll get to the actual unclogging over the weekend....

Thanks again for the replies!
Old 01-29-16, 06:30 AM
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Here's what I've got:

Name:  shower grate.jpg
Views: 62
Size:  23.9 KB

What I thought was silicone was just soap scum. There does not appear to be any sealant around or under the grate but it was in there really tight. The underside of the grate sets down inside that flange a bit.

So how do I re-install? I'm thinking a bit of silicone under it to keep the water out of the area around the flange? I can get one screw back in. The other, broken one won't come out.

I forgot to mention what the clog was. Up top just beneath the flange was thick, crusty stuff. I chipped it away with a screwdriver. Beneath it was a good, solid soap/hair clog. I snaked it about 10 feet and it's working great.

Last edited by turbojimmy2; 01-29-16 at 07:25 AM.

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