Installing a Universal Bathtub Drain Upgrade
We’re moving in to an older house with some plumbing issues, so I jumped at the chance to try out the Watco Universal NuFit Foot Actuated Tub Stopper & Overflow. They claim it “Easily updates and replaces old tub drain trim,” and our tub with the broken drain plug was the perfect candidate.
The product is two basic parts: A press-for-on, press-for-off drain stopper that fits over your existing drain opening, and an overflow retrofit cap that cleans up the look and coordinates with the new stopper.
The Tub Stopper
As I began the install, the first thing I thought of was one of the solid rules of DIY near tubs and sinks. Always plug the drain so you don’t lose any parts down the pipes. In this instance, I had to leave the drain open, so I made sure I opened the package on the counter, far away from the tub. It was here that I met the first issue. There was a part missing.
In the packaging, there should’ve been a combo threaded adapter that would’ve allowed the plug to screw into the existing cross bar in my drain. Because this wasn’t supplied, I had to go with the other mounting option, silicone adhesive.
The drain in my old tub is somewhat recessed, so there was a small gap between the opening and the flange of the new stopper. I filled this with the silicone and pressed the flange on. Because I’d needed the extra adhesive for the install, some squeezed up through the grid strainer on the new plug. This will no doubt slow an already leisurely paced drain.
The Overflow Cap
I had to wait three hours to test the new stopper with water, so I turned my attention to the overflow cap. Here’s where they oversimplified the instructions. All they say is that you need to remove the old overflow plate, saving the mounting screws, then you’re ready to mount the new hardware.
This didn’t account for the fact that I still had an old actuator (albeit a non-working one) still installed.
It took more than a screwdriver to finally clear everything out for the new product. I needed a needle nose pliers to pull a cotter pin that attached the old actuator, so the previous plate could be removed from the tub. After that, it was pretty easy. The original screws were used to hold a metal bar across a plastic ring. The new overflow plate then snapped onto this ring.
Three hours later, I tested the stopper. It worked as they said it should. Pressing down once stopped the drain completely. Another press lifted the stopper mechanism and allowed the water out of the tub.
If you’re like me and have an old tub and don’t want to use the old fashioned rubber stopper method, this is a good solution. The materials feel substantial and not flimsy and should hold up. The only issue (besides the missing part) is the oversimplification of the overflow cap step. Exposing the guts of the old trip lever overflow, then figuring out how to remove it, might be a bit much for someone without a lot of DIY experience. But if you’re already handy and unafraid to get out more tools than just a screwdriver, you should be fine and your old tub will quickly gain a little new polish and functionality.