Replacing a bathtub waste-and-overflow tube is an important repair that helps ensure proper drainage and prevent leaks. With some basic tools and plumbing knowledge, it is a manageable DIY project for many homeowners. However, it’s crucial to follow proper safety precautions and install the new tub waste assembly correctly to avoid problems down the road.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the full process of replacing a bathtub waste-and-overflow tube step-by-step. We’ll cover how to identify when your waste-and-overflow tube needs replacement, what supplies you’ll need, how to remove the old assembly safely, installation tips for the new one, and testing to make sure it operates smoothly.

With these instructions, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to replace your bathtub waste-and-overflow confidently. Let’s get started!

When to Replace Your Bathtub Waste-and-Overflow Tube

Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to replace your tub’s waste-and-overflow tube:

Slow or Backed-up Drainage

If water drains slowly out of your bathtub or starts accumulating around the drain, the waste-and-overflow tube could be blocked. Removing hair, soap residue and other debris may provide a temporary fix, but a damaged or improperly installed waste-and-overflow is often the root cause of persistent drainage problems. Replacing it can restore proper water flow.


Leaks originating near the bathtub drain or overflow plate are a surefire sign of a faulty waste-and-overflow assembly. The tubes have likely deteriorated or shifted out of place. Allowing the leaks to continue can lead to water damage, mold and other problems. Replacing the waste-and-overflow should eliminate the leaks.

Rust Accumulation

Many waste-and-overflow components are chrome-plated to prevent corrosion. But over time, exposure to water causes rust to build up. If you notice rust flakes, stains or a corroded appearance, a full replacement is the best solution.

Missing Parts

Some homeowners remove part of the waste-and-overflow system when unclogging drains. If components like the overflow plate are missing altogether, water can spill out, so replacement is necessary.


When remodeling a bathroom, replacing old waste-and-overflow components ensures the finished space starts off on the right foot with proper drainage.

Preparing for Waste-and-Overflow Tube Replacement

Proper preparation is key to a smooth bathtub waste-and-overflow tube replacement process. Here is how to get set up:

Turn Off Water Supply

The first step is shutting off the water supply to the bathtub and draining any residual water from the lines. Locate the shut-off valves for the hot and cold water lines and turn them clockwise to the off position. Turn on the tub faucet to allow the water to drain fully.

Remove Drain Stopper

Most bathtub drains have a trip lever or pop-up stopper mechanism. Remove the stopper assembly so you can access the waste-and-overflow unobstructed.

Clear Under-Tub Access

You need clear access to the area under the bathtub in order to remove and install waste-and-overflow components. Move any obstructions out of the way. Having someone assist you by lying underneath the tub may be helpful as well.

Gather Tools and Supplies

Assemble the following tools and supplies before starting:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Rag
  • Bucket
  • Flashlight
  • Safety goggles
  • New waste-and-overflow tube kit

Removing the Old Waste-and-Overflow Assembly

With the prep work complete, it’s time to remove the old waste-and-overflow apparatus from your bathtub. Take these steps:

Disconnect Pop-up Rod

The pop-up stopper connects to the drain via a linkage rod. Locate where the rod attaches to the waste assembly and detach it so the rod won’t obstruct tube removal.

Loosen Shoe and Retaining Nut

Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the shoe component holding the old drain bottom at the tub’s underside. Then loosen the retaining nut and detach it from the threaded portion.

Unthread Waste Tube Sections

The waste tube connecting to the drain tailpiece will be screwed into a lower section leading down into the drain trap. Unscrew these parts to fully disconnect the waste tube portions.

Unseat Overflow Plate

Pry the old overflow plate away from the tub edge. You may need to break the existing plumber’s putty seal with some force. Remove any debris or old putty.

Disconnect Overflow Tube

The overflow tube typically slides over a nipple on the waste tube and is held by a nut. Loosen the nut and pull off the old overflow tube.

Remove Waste Tube

Finally, pull the remaining bottom portion of the waste tube down through the tub drain hole, clearing the way for the new assembly.

Installing the New Tub Waste-and-Overflow

Once the old waste-and-overflow is fully detached, it’s time to install the new replacement assembly. Follow these tips for smooth installation:

Clean Drain Hole Thoroughly

Use a rag and flashlight to remove all debris, hair, plumber’s putty and other gunk from the drain hole. Clean threads if necessary.

Dry Fit First

Dry fit the new assembly together without any sealants to ensure proper fit. Doing this will also allow you to take measurements needed for cutting the waste tube later.

Apply Plumber’s Putty

Roll plumber’s putty into a rope shape and Press it evenly around the new overflow plate. This seals the plate to prevent leaks. Install the plate in the proper orientation.

Secure Retaining Nut and Shoe

Slide the new rubber shoe piece, followed by the retaining nut, over the waste tube. Hand tighten the nut to secure the drain bottom.

Insert New Waste Tube

Grease the new waste tube o-rings with non-petroleum jelly for smooth insertion. Feed the waste tube up through the drain hole.

Tighten Connection Joints

Use an adjustable wrench to tighten all the slip-joint compression nuts on the new waste tube. This seals the connections watertight.

Cut Waste Tube to Length

Measure and mark the waste tube where it must be cut to fit properly. Cut with a hacksaw and deburr the end.

Attach Pop-up Rod

Connect the pop-up rod to the new assembly, ensuring full range of motion for opening and closing the drain stopper.

Connect Overflow Tube

Thread on the overflow plate nut over the end of the new overflow tube. Slide the tube over the nipple and tighten the nut.

Caulk Around New Drain

Run a bead of 100% silicone caulk around the gap where the new drain bottom plate meets the tub surface. Smooth the bead with your finger for a neat finish.

Testing and Using the New Waste-and-Overflow

The final steps involve testing everything is working right and using best practices for your new waste-and-overflow:

Check for Leaks

Turn the water supply back on and fill the tub with several inches of water. Check below for any drips or leaks originating from the new drain assembly. Tighten joints or redo any sealant to stop leaks.

Verify Proper Drainage

Pull the new drain stopper up and down to engage and disengage it. Allow the tub to drain fully and ensure the water drains smoothly without any blockages or slow flow.

Remove Drain Strainer Regularly

Over time, hair, soap scum and other debris can accumulate in the drain strainer basket. Remember to pop out and clean the strainer regularly to prevent clogs.

Apply Tub Oil to Overflow

Applying clear silicone lubricant inside the new overflow tube can prevent gurgling sounds as the tub drains. Reapply every few months.

Avoid Harsh Drain Cleaners

Avoid pouring harsh chemical drain cleaners down the tub as they can damage components like o-rings on the new waste-and-overflow over time.

By following these bathtub waste-and-overflow replacement tips correctly, your new drain assembly should provide years of trouble-free use. Be sure to take the proper safety precautions and call a plumber for assistance if any issues arise during your replacement project.

Frequently Asked Questions About Replacing a Bathtub Waste-and-Overflow Tube

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about replacing a bathtub waste-and-overflow tube:

What are the basic steps to replace a waste-and-overflow tube?

The basic steps are:

  1. Turn off the water supply and drain the tub
  2. Remove the drain stopper mechanism
  3. Disconnect and remove the old waste-and-overflow tube
  4. Thoroughly clean the drain hole
  5. Install the new waste-and-overflow assembly
  6. Make proper slip-joint connections and cut tube to length
  7. Reattach the drain stopper rod and overflow tube
  8. Test for leaks and proper drainage

How do I remove the old waste-and-overflow tube?

Start by disconnecting the pop-up rod from the drain. Then use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the shoe, retaining nut, threaded waste tube sections and overflow plate. Finally, pull the remaining waste tube portion down through the drain hole.

What are some tips for installing the new assembly?

Tips include dry fitting first, applying plumber’s putty around the new overflow plate, greasing the waste tube o-rings, tightening all slip joints, cutting the tube to fit properly, attaching the pop-up rod and overflow tube, and caulking around the drain bottom.

What should I do if there are leaks after replacing the waste-and-overflow?

If leaks are present, first tighten any slip-joint compression nuts that may have loosened. Also check that plumber’s putty fully seals the overflow plate. Redo any caulking as needed to stop leaks from the drain edges.

Should I replace the waste-and-overflow in my old clawfoot tub?

Yes, you can replace the waste-and-overflow system in a clawfoot tub to restore proper drainage. Kits are available with extra-long tubes designed specifically to work with raised clawfoot tubs.

How can I avoid clogs after replacing my waste-and-overflow?

To prevent clogs, regularly remove and clean out the drain strainer basket to keep hair and debris clear. Also apply tub oil inside the overflow tube to prevent gunk buildup and use enzyme drain cleaners instead of harsh chemicals.

Can I upgrade my drain style when replacing the waste-and-overflow?

Absolutely! Many kits come in a variety of finishes, like chrome, brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze. You can also often choose pop-up or toe-tap stopper mechanisms.

How much does it cost to have a plumber replace a waste-and-overflow?

It typically costs $200-$400 to have a plumber replace a bathtub waste-and-overflow assembly, varying based on labor rates and job complexity. Doing it yourself saves on labor costs.

Is this a project I can DIY or should I call a plumber?

This is a project many DIYers can tackle with proper preparation and by following instructions closely. However, if you don’t feel comfortable attempting replacement, hiring a professional avoids any errors or issues.

Replacing a deteriorated or defective bathtub waste-and-overflow tube improves drainage, helps prevent leaks and updates the look of your tub drain area. With some knowledge and elbow grease, it’s an achievable DIY repair – just be sure to take things slow and exercise safety.


Replacing a bathtub waste-and-overflow tube is an important task for maintaining proper drainage and preventing leaks and water damage. With this comprehensive DIY guide, you should now have a full understanding of how to identify when your waste-and-overflow needs replacement, what tools and parts you’ll need, how to safely remove the old assembly, tips for smooth installation of the new components, and testing to ensure everything is working correctly.

While this repair requires some plumbing skills, it is realistically achievable for many homeowners with adequate preparation. The key steps covered include shutting off water, disconnecting all parts of the old assembly, thoroughly cleaning the drain hole, proper installation and leak-testing of the new system, and maintaining the drain to prevent future clogs.

Following these instructions closely, taking safety precautions, and calling a plumber if you encounter any difficulties will lead to successful bathtub waste-and-overflow tube replacement. Be sure to refer back to this guide whenever this repair is needed in your bathroom.