How To Replace A Kitchen Sink Drain Gasket
When you notice a leak around the area under your kitchen sink drain, it's most likely that the drain gasket has become worn. This gasket is a round black piece of rubber that is pressed against the bottom of the sink by a large nut connected to the drain.
Over time, it can lose its firmness and allow water to leak around the sink's drain opening. If you intend to replace the gasket, you should also apply new putty between the sink drain and the sink.
What you will need to change a drain gasket
- A drain gasket
This is a rubber ring that fits most standard sink drains.
- Plumber's putty
You will only need a small amount of putty for this project, so buy the smallest container available.
Preparing to change the drain gasket
You may need to move anything that blocks access to your sink's drain pipe. Place paper towels or rags under the sink trap (the "J" shaped pipe that is located under your sink drain pipe) to catch old putty and debris that may fall through the drain opening in the sink as you work.
You will begin by loosening the large plastic nut on the bottom of your sink drain. You should be able to turn it counterclockwise by hand. If it is stuck, place a small piece of cloth around it to get a better grip, and use both hands.The nut should have small outer ridges that allow you to grasp and turn it easily.
When the nut is completely removed, let it drop onto the top of the sink trap. Grasp the drain pipe directly below the sink and push up. Although the drain pipe appears to be attached to the sink trap below, it only slides into the trap, and will move freely when the nut is removed.
Changing the gasket
When you push up the drain pipe, the sink drain will pull away from the inside of the sink, and the gasket will fall from below the sink. Both actions will allow accumulated putty and debris to fall through the opening.
Clean all of the old putty and debris from the recess where the drain was removed, and under the sink where the gasket was removed. Cleaning under the drain opening is important, because it will allow the gasket to form a proper seal.
When the cleaning is complete, scoop out a small quantity of plumber's putty, and roll it between your hands to form a long bead of putty about one quarter inch in diameter. Place this bead of putty into the recess on the drain opening where the drain will be placed. Be sure to cover the entire recessed circle with the thin bead of putty.
Place the gasket over the top of the sink trap, and place the drain pipe into the sink opening until the drain pipe slips into the sink trap below. Allow the drain to rest atop the putty, but don't press down. The gasket must be in place first, or you will push the putty through the drain opening.
Bring the gasket and nut up from atop the sink trap, and begin to tighten the nut by hand. Be sure that the gasket is being pressed firmly against the bottom of the sink. Hand tighten the nut until it is snug. Do not use a wench or other tools or you may crack the sink.
When the nut is snug, the top of the drain will be pulled down, and excess putty will need to be removed from around the edge of the drain. Don't use metallic objects such as screwdrivers, or you may scratch your sink. Use a rubber or wooden utensil to remove the excess putty, and the job is complete.
If all this feels like more than you're comfortable doing, contact a local plumber (such as Absolutely Clear Sewers & Plumbing Service).