A tub drain is comprised of 2 parts, the bottom tub drain and the overflow drain. The overflow bathtub drain is located a few inches from the top of the tub, and was designed to prevent the overflow of water, if and when a faucet is left on and the bottom drain is closed.
There is no stopper on an overflow drain as soon as the water hits the level of the overflow drain it immediately flows into the overflow pipe located behind the tub. There is a cap available to cover the drain overflow and temporarily seal it for those times you may wish to fill the tub higher than normal. Removing or replacing the tub overflow drain cover can be accomplished with the right tools and a few basic steps.
Step 1 – Remove the Tub Overflow Drain Cover
In most cases the drain cover will be removed by unscrewing 2 small screws. Some designs may need to be removed with an overflow drain cover remover tool; this tool can be found in a local hardware store in the plumbing section. The remover tool is fitted into a notch on the side of the drain cover, then the tool is gently turned moving the drain cover counter clockwise for removal. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using this tool. In older models the overflow drain cover is part of the drain stopper mechanism. This mechanism may be attached to the drain cover, be careful not to bend the mechanism when removing this cover.
Step 2 – Remove the Gasket
Lubricate the gasket then remove with the needle nose pliers, taking care not to scratch the tub. The drain pipe may come towards you slightly, gently wiggle the gasket out of the drain opening. If your cover was not attached with screws, you will need to remove the screws holding the gasket in place.
Step 3 – Prepare the Area
Use a straight edged razor to remove any remaining gasket or caulking around the drain hole. Remove any remaining lubricant or soap residue with the rubbing alcohol and rags. Dry the area thoroughly.
Ste 4 – Replace the Gasket
Line up the new seal in the drain hole, with the thicker edge facing down towards the lower area of the drain hole. Gently push on the gasket to get it into place. If applicable replace screw in the gasket, avoid over tightening as to crack the pipes.
Step 5 – Replace the Drain Cover
Line up the new overflow drain cover with the holes or notches. Tighten the screws carefully without over tightening.
Step 6 – Seal the Drain Cover
With a caulking gun or a tube of bathroom caulk, spread a thin line of caulking around the drain cover. Spread it in the area between the cover and the tub with your finger. Remove any excess with a rag.