5 Easy Steps in Replacing a Leaky Sink Strainer Basket

What You'll Need
Sink strainer
Plumbers putty
Plastic putty knife
Pipe wrench or channel lock pliers
Needle nose pliers

Sink strainer baskets are made to have long lives, though they are not indestructible. Over time, the rubber gaskets can fail or the connections prove faulty. The good news is that repairing a sink strainer is exceptionally easy and can be done in under an hour.   

Step 1—Check for the Source of the Leak

Though you may have noticed water accumulating under the sink, the sink strainer may not always be the source of the leak. The best way to determine if the leak is coming from the sink strainer is to stop the sink up and periodically check to see if water is dripping. Once you determine that water is dripping from under the sink, look around the rubber gasket and near the lock nut to see if water is dripping. If water is present in these areas, you can be pretty sure that the sink strainer is the cause of the leak.

Step 2—Test the Gaskets and Locknuts

Before you remove anything you should check to make sure that the lock nut is tight. If it is not tight, you will probably find that simply tightening the lock nut will stop the leak altogether. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you should check the rubber gasket before taking the strainer out all together. If the rubber gasket is rigid and tearing, you should replace it. Because a properly functioning rubber gasket will create a water tight seal, the leak may stop once the gasket is replaced. 

If that doesn’t work, you will need to remove the entire sink strainer. 

Step 3—Remove the Strainer Basket

The purpose of removing the sink strainer is to determine if water is seeping into the unit because of a faulty seal. The plumber’s putty will have secured the strainer in place inside the sink, however, if too little putty was used in the initial installation, water can break the seal.

First, separate the strainer from the drain pipe. Remove the lock nut and slip off the gasket. Then you will be able to remove the strainer from the top of the sink. 

Once the strainer is out, you will have to clean the opening to the sink and the flange surrounding the strainer. You want to remove all of the old putty and leave the surface clean and dry. You may want to use plastic putty knife. It is best to use a plastic knife so that you don’t damage the surface of the sink.   

Step 4—Add New Putty

Grab a golf ball size amount of putty from the container and rub it into long snake-like shape. Wrap the length of the putty around the opening in the sink. Press the strainer into the putty with even pressure. Putty will squeeze out from the sides and underneath. You will need to remove this excess. 

Step 5—Install New Sink Strainer Basket

Once the strainer is set, you need to attach the gasket and lock nut and attach the drain pipe to the threaded end of the strainer. Secure everything and your strainer should work perfectly.