How to Install a Tub Overflow Drain

What You'll Need
Extension Pipe
Tail Pipe
Teflon Pipe Dope
New Tub Overflow Drain
Spackle, Paint, Paint brush

Now that plastic pipe is being manufactured for plumbing, you can easily tackle and finish various plumbing projects such as installing a new overflow tub drain. Follow these steps to accomplish this project, without hiring an expensive plumber.

Step 1 - Pick the Overflow Drain

Decide what color your overflow pipe will be. They come in a variety of different colors and finishes including chrome, brass or a color that is specific to the type of trim you may have in your home and around the drain.

Step 2 - Purchase Additional Materials

Take a trip to the local home improvement center and purchase the following additional components to aid in your installation:

  • Extension Pipe
  • P-Trap
  • Tail Pipe
  • Teflon Pipe Dope

Step 3 - Secure Your Permits

Some local municipalities and townships require a plumbing permit to alter or add anything in the home. Check with the local building codes department to review the requirements and needs for your local area. If required, obtain a permit. Do not start your work until the permit has been obtained.

Step 4 - Check Bathtub Access

Every access point is different from tub to tub. Find your tub access. It may be accessible from the top or the bottom of the tub. you will also need to check to see whether you need a saw for a hole in the ceiling or the door in order to have access to the drain.

Step 5 - Cut the Hole

If required for accessibility, cut the hole to gain access to the location of where you will install the tub overflow drain. Make the the hole is big enough to allow you entry but small enough to minimize the repairs needed after the fact.

Step 6 - Remove the Old Overflow Tub Drain

Remove the old tub drain. It will be attached to the piping either by way of screws or clips. If they are screws then you will need a screwdriver to remove them comfortably.  

Step 7 - Install New Piping

Take the new piping you have purchased and install it. Add Teflon tape to the piping to help prevent future leaking. Apply the Teflon paste at the top of the overflow. Tighten the bolts and test the seal.

Step 8 - Fill the Tub

Test your work out. Fill the bathtub and check to make sure that you do not have any signs of visible leaking in or around the tub.

Step 9 - Close Up the Hole

Close up the hole by adding a removable door and hinge or by spackling over the hole you have made. Paint it to finish it off.


If you find it hard to get the drain pipe off, you can use some WD-40. You might need some help to hold the pipe while you are unscrewing it from the bottom.