How to Remove a Shower Drain From the Top

Updated: Jan. 29, 2024

Use a special drain assembly to quickly and easily install a new drain from the top.

FH06OCT_REPDRA_02-2 shower drain installationFamily Handyman
Replace a shower drain without tearing open the ceiling below. Use a special drain assembly and install it from the top.

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Shower Drain Installation: How to replace a shower drain from the top

Old leaky drain

An old drain might leak from bad gaskets or cracked joints. Stains will show up on any finished ceiling below.

New leak-proof drain

A special drain assembly mounts from the top and clamps onto the shower pan.

If you have a leaky shower drain and don’t want to cut open a finished ceiling to get at it from below, consider using a special drain such as the WingTite Drain, which can be installed from above if the drain is in a plastic or fiberglass shower base. This drain has an O-ring that seals to a typical 2-in. ABS or PVC drainpipe (adapters are available for 1-1/2-in. and 2-in. copper pipe). Four “wings” flip out under the shower base to clamp the drain in place. The job takes about 30 minutes and doesn’t require any special plumbing tools.

Remove Shower Drain Cover

The toughest part is removing the old drain flange. You’ll probably have to cut it with a hacksaw blade and pry it loose in sections from the shower pan. Leave the existing drainpipe intact. The WingTite Drain simply slips over the drainpipe and an O-ring seals it. apply 100 percent silicone sealant to underside of the drain flange to seal to the shower base. A stainless cover fits over the top (although decorator finishes are also available). Find out how you can eliminate the smell in your shower drain.

Required Tools for this shower drain installation Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY shower drain installation project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Caulk gun
Hacksaw blade