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Home: Plumbing and Drainage: How to Fix a Leaking Sink Strainer

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How to Fix a Leaking Sink Strainer

Written by; Fraser Boone / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Wed Aug 26 2009


Leaks underneath the kitchen sink can be caused by a faulty or failing seal between the sink and the strainer. Repairing it is simple, involving replacing the putty under the flange of the sink strainer. Here is a step by step guide to this repair.

Preliminary Steps

Clear out the cabinet underneath the sink, and make sure the leak is in fact coming from between the sink and strainer. Turn off the water using the shut-off valves. You can reuse the metal parts of your strainer, but washers and gaskets should be replaced. They're quite inexpensive, however.

Necessary Tools and Supplies

You will need a hammer, needle-nosed pliers, basket strainer wrench, plumber's putty, water pump pliers, and a plastic putty knife. These should be readily available at any hardware or home improvement store.

Out with the Old

To remove the leaky sink strainer, first disconnect the slip nuts. They are located on both ends of the tailpiece. Use water pump pliers to do this. Now remove the tailpiece.

Next, use the basket strainer wrench to remove the drain locking ring underneath the strainer. This can be difficult. If it's stuck fast, try to loosen it by placing a screwdriver on the lugs, and then tapping the screwdriver with a hammer. When it's loose, unscrew the lock nut and remove the strainer assembly. Set aside the pieces and parts to the strainer assembly.

Replacing the Putty

Use your plastic putty knife to scrape the old putty from the drain opening. If you plan to reuse the old strainer, scrape the putty from underneath the flange.

In with the New

Once it is cleaned of the old putty, apply a bead of new putty underneath the flange. Put the drain back into the sink. Now it's time to reassemble the strainer.

From underneath the sink, place a rubber gasket and friction ring over the strainer (the friction ring can be metal or fiberglass). Then secure the gasket and ring in place by screwing on the locking ring.

Once the compression seal is properly seated in the lock nut, you can reinstall and tighten the drain locknut. It is easier if you have someone help you by holding the strainer in place with needle nosed pliers while you reattach and tighten the lock nut.

Turn the water back on from underneath the sink, then turn on the faucet and test for leaks.

Glossary of Terms

Flange - an external lip or rim that allows seating between an object and another object, in this case, the flange on the sink strainer allows you to seat the strainer in the hole made for it in the sink.

Locking ring - a thin lock nut that helps keep a threaded assembly from coming undone.

Lock nut - a nut that locks down the slip nuts. Sometimes a washer is placed between the locknut and the slip nut.

Slip nut - a nut with vertical ribs that is tightened by hand. In this case, there are two slip nuts: one on each end of the pipe tailpiece.


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