My shower drain will not unscrew from the top!
April 23, 2014 5:25 AM   Subscribe

Leaky stand up stall shower drain seems like it is loosening as I turn but will not unseat. Is there light at the end of my turning?

I've had a slow leak from my shower stall drain since I moved into this house a year ago.

The past few weeks, the amount of water has increased so I decided to address it myself. I went out and bought a standard drain with metal grate that requires sealing.

The old drain isn't old, it's actually 3 or 4 years old at the most. The guy who installed it used a poor sealant and now I'm dealing with the consequences. The old drain seems to be set up just like the new drain I bought, you twist counter-clockwise until it unseats from it's PVC coupling and then it should come loose.

However, this doesn't seem to be the case with the old drain. Last night, I got it loose and twisted for what seemed to be hours with a crap pair of pliers. Today I got some channel lock pliers and will be trying that tonight.

Is there something I'm missing? Could I be twisting to no end? Will I have to cut a whole in the ceiling and try from the bottom?
posted by cheechman85 to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
The drain in our shower has a trap that just pulls straight up exposing the area where the sealent is to prevent leaks. Could you try just pulling up on it instead of screwing? Failing that it is possible that there is a nut on the other side and just turning the thing is merely turning the entire bolt, and what you need to do is either turn while pulling up or grab hold of the bottom nut and then turn.
posted by koolkat at 5:30 AM on April 23, 2014

Put a hair dryer on hot to it to help loosen the old putty.
posted by rabidsegue at 5:48 AM on April 23, 2014

Before you even replace it, be sure that you don't have a build-up of crud in the trap. That can cause a leak due to water backing up more than it should and flowing out of a loose connection above the trap, one that would not be an issue without the crud. If you can't get at the trap from below, use a bent coat hanger with a small hook fashioned on the end and do some roto-rooting.
posted by beagle at 5:49 AM on April 23, 2014

When I clean out the drain, I get the screw about half out (maybe 4 turns) and then it starts really resisting. When I'm turning hte screw, I'm twisting the hair clog, and it takes a lot of force to pull through the tension of the gunk that's holding on to the screw, with the added bonus that the more I turn the screw, the more tension I add to the resistance. If you're trying, and it's like an elastic band that makes the screw rotate itself back in when the screwdriver slips, then that's the hair clog working against you. My strategies: (a) twist really hard and just muscle through, (b) don't let the screwdriver slip, so I don't lose ground, and (c) clean the drain more often so it's not so difficult.

I keep meaning to look for a shorter screw, it's not like it really needs 8 turns to hold the decorative cover in place.
posted by aimedwander at 6:58 AM on April 23, 2014

If you are trying to get the whole drain out and not just the decorative screen, you could have a nut on the bottom of the shower. The shower drain secures to the shower base to prevent movement of the stall and the shower separately to prevent it leaking.
Here are a couple of links to a shower drain install with illustrations:

Of course, I assume you are dealing with a fiberglass shower base. If you are dealing with a concrete or tiled shower pan you may have a different shower drain.
Here is a link to something like you may have:

Sorry to say, you may have to cut a hole in the ceiling below to do your repair. What has probably happened is that you loosened the nut to the point that it is now turning with the drain. If the nut is loose, you are now at the point of no return. It probably will not tighten back up nor will it come loose.
posted by BostonCannuck at 7:19 AM on April 23, 2014

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