Can't remove bathtub shoe gasket

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by daveoftn, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. daveoftn

    daveoftn New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I just bought a house and the faucet has apparently been leaking for years resulting in a rusty drain. I removed the drain using a hammer and chisel (btw, thank you forum for that suggestion). The problem is, I can see the gasket on top of the shoe and could probably remove it, but I'm 99.9% sure that I could not replace it. I have no access underneath or behind the tub, and there is no 'give' when I take the big end of a screwdriver and push down on the shoe from above. It is tightly wedged between the shoe and tub.

    I am guessing the shoe gasket is probably from 1995 when the house was built. The gasket is not deteriorated, but it's not in perfect shape either from what I can tell feeling the edge.

    My question is, will I *probably* be ok just putting some putty underneath the new drain, or do I absolutely need to find a way to replace that gasket?

    Also, out of curiosity, in a worse case scenario, if the gasket is shot, does the putty underneath the new drain completely seal everything?

    Thanks for the help, this is my first house, so I'm super excited to get these quirks worked out!

    David
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,142
    Location:
    South*East
    If the gasket is that tight I chances are it will be OK.


    John
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,889
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You can install putty under the flange piece that threads in from the top, but the gasket below the tub is all that's needed there.
    No tape either. When the drain threads into the shoe, it clamps the three pieces together. Drain, tub, gasket, shoe.
    Four.
  4. daveoftn

    daveoftn New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Thanks for the reply guys. Being the perfectionist that I am, I really wish I could replace that gasket below the tub, but that's the piece that I'm pretty sure if I remove, I won't be able to get back in. Assuming the gasket is on its way out, will the putty around the flange prevent a leak anyways?
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The putty has nothing to do with leaking....it just is for a cushion, and to a small extent, the tub would not perfectly hold water if there were not putty, but anywater going by that ends up in the drain, not leaking to the ceiling. It is the rubber gasket which prevents leaks. I would not be real comfortable leaving the old one if it showed any indication of being hardened or cracked. A new one is quite flexible, and it is usually quite easy to work it into place, working down through the tub drain opening. There is rarely access from below, and it should not be necessary here.
  6. daveoftn

    daveoftn New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Well, I tried taking the gasket out and it was crumbling into hard chunks. So, some of it I was able to pull out, but most of it I had to push through with a steak knife. I tried replacing it, but the clearance is so tight that literally the only thing that can fit is a thin steak knife. I think my only option now is to cut out a panel behind the tub and replace the gasket and shoe all at once? Luckily the cut out will be in a linen closet.
  7. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Have you considered that the leak might actually be up at the overflow? It's not uncommon.

    It may be easier to install a new assembly. Finding a new drain that fits properly into an old shoe is a gamble.
    A new assembly will have all the proper components.

    While you are at the store, pick up an access panel for your linen closet too so you have easier access in the future.

    http://www.oatey.com/Channel/Shared/ProductGroupDetail/65/Access_Able_Access_Panels.html
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,889
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You can normally push the shoe down with a tool and make it give enough to slide the new flat washer in.
    I've done this many times.

    After you have replaced this washer, you can overfill the tub and check the overflow washer too.
    That's the other common leak location.

    If that doesn't nail it, then you can move to the diverter spout if you have one. Sometimes you can get water forced toward the wall when the diverter is pulled to force water to the shower head.
    HJ and I like the Delta replacement diverter spouts.
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