Home Plumbing How To Replace Bathroom Sink Stopper

How To Replace Bathroom Sink Stopper

How To Replace Bathroom Sink Stopper

You’ll never fully understand the importance of a bathroom sink stopper until you drop something into your sink drain. This past weekend, I decided to give one of my old finger rings a quick wash before I started wearing it again. In the midst of the cloud of soap, which I created in my palms, it slipped and landed straight into my bathroom sink drain. As I gathered my tools to open my pipes, I noticed that my bathroom sink stopper assembly had corroded, and I chose to replace it.

A bathroom sink stopper is an essential component of your sink. Without a stopper, your sink drain will be completely open and vulnerable to potential clogging materials such as dust and hair. Your sink drain is the primary point of drainage and should be kept clean. An unclean sink drain will have the formation of gunk on the inside, which will lead to clogging of your drain. A sink stopper acts as a layer of protection of your sink drain. It blocks any foreign material such as paper or hair from entering your sink drain. If you notice any of these materials on your sink surface or stuck on the head of your sink stopper, remove it immediately.

Additionally, it provides you with the flexibility of plugging your sink drain and using your sink as a vessel to wash or soak materials. Personally, having used it as a makeshift bucket to soak new color clothes to check for color bleeds, I can vouch for its effectiveness.

Your sink drain stopper will have these essential parts –

  • The lift handle
  • Extension Rod
  • Pivot Rod
  • Drain plug

And various other small nuts and bolts that you’ll use to attach these components. I suggest once you remove these parts, place them on a towel over your sink counter or table. Once you have disconnected all the parts, you can either take them to your favorite home improvement store as a reference to buy the new parts. Conversely, you can do what I did, find the name of the manufacturer of your existing parts, and buy them online.

What’s important is that you have all the proper components. There are numerous important connections you’ll need to make to successfully install your bathroom sink stopper, such as –

  • Connecting the Pivot Rod to your tailpipe
  • Securing the Lift Handle to the Extension Rod
  • Attaching your Pivot Rod to your Extension Rod

Additionally, you can follow the steps mentioned below to attach a sink stopper to your new bathroom sink. Also, when you choose to replace your bathroom sink faucet, it is good practice to replace your bathroom sink stopper with it.

Once you have all the necessary components, shut off your main water valves and place a bucket beneath your pipes. Open your faucet to drain any excess water.

Average Cost To Replace Bathroom Sink Stopper

You’ll need to spend between $25 – $60 to replace your bathroom sink stopper. Depending on whether you choose to replace just your stopper, the entire stopper assembly, and other pipes, your cost will vary.

Time Required

The steps to replace your bathroom sink stopper are simple. With preparedness and patience, this project should take you between 1 – 2 hours to complete. Ensure that all the components are correctly aligned and firmly attached to avoid future damages or leaks.

Tools & Materials

Removing Old Bathroom Sink Stopper

How To Replace Bathroom Sink Stopper properly
  • Firstly, locate the spring clamp underneath your sink faucet. The clamp is V-shaped and connects your extension bar (vertical bar coming from your faucet) and the pivot rod (horizontal bar coming from your drainpipe.
  • Pinch and pull the spring clamp to disconnect the extension bar and pivot rod.
  • Next, unscrew the pivot nut connect to the side of the drainpipe using a wrench. Once the pivot nut is loose, proceed to pull the pivot rod from the tailpiece. The pivot rod will include a pivot ball that nests inside the tailpiece and a stub, which connects the rod to the end of the stopper.
  • Similarly, you’ll need to remove the extension bar. The extension bar is attached to the lift rod extending from the top of the sink by a clevis screw. Unscrew it using your hand and proceed to pull the lift rod from the top.
  • Once the screw is detached, you can remove the extension rod too.
  • Lastly, pull the drain stopper from your sink’s drain opening.          

Detaching Pipe Connections

  • Firstly, you will need to detach the P-trap from your drain’s tailpipe. These are typically connected using a compression nut. If you have PVC pipes, the nut should easily loosen using your hand. Conversely, for metal pipes, a wrench will have to be used.
  • Once the tailpipe is free from the P-trap, proceed to unscrew it from the threaded underside of your drain. Locate the lock nut connecting the tailpipe to your drain and unscrew it using your hand or a wrench.
  • Similarly, your sink drain will be attached to the sink via another lock nut. Using a wrench, unscrew the nut.
IMPORTANT TIP – If, while trying to unscrew the drain’s locknut, you notice the entire sink drain spinning in place, don’t’ fret this is one of the most common problems that occur. Place the ends of two-flathead screwdrivers into the drain opening. This will hold the drain in place and while you unscrew it from below.
  • To remove your sink drain, push the drain from below and pull it from the top.

Re-attaching Pipe Connections

  • Firstly, you will need to attach a new sink drain. Apply a generous beam of plumber’s putty to the underside of your sink drain and proceed to push it into the sink’s drain opening. Wipe any excess putty with a cloth
  • Attach the included gaskets to the underside of your new sink drain. It is essential to attach the gaskets as they create a watertight seal between your sink and your sink drain.
  • Once the gaskets are attached, thread the lock nut onto the underside of the sink drain and tighten using a wrench. Be careful not to overtighten the nut as it can damage your sink and pipe connections.
  • The underside of the lock nut is threaded onto which you will attach your sink drainpipe. Wrap the underside of the nut with plumber’s tape and proceed to thread your tailpipe onto the nut.
IMPORTANT TIP – Following your manufacturer’s instructions, attach gaskets between pipe connections wherever provided. Additionally, wrap the threaded ends of lock nuts or other pipe connections with plumber’s tape if gaskets are not provided. Gaskets and plumber’s tape create a watertight seal between the connections and also increase their durability.
  • Thread your tailpipe onto the lock but by hand. The tailpipe will have an opening on one side through which you will attach the pivot rod afterwards. This opening needs to be facing towards your cabinet wall.
  • Lastly, attach your P-trap to the threaded end of the tailpipe using a lock-nut.

Installing New Bathroom Sink Stopper

How To Replace Bathroom Sink Stopper the right way
  • Carefully drop your new drain stopper into your sink drain from top. Your stopper will have a notch at the bottom to which the pivot rod will be attached. Ensuring that the notch is facing towards your cabinet wall place the stopper into your drain.
  • Along with your stopper, you will receive a plastic washer. Attach this washer to the notch of the stopper through the opening in your tailpipe.
  • Next, insert your pivot rod into your tailpipe. If your stopper and notch are properly aligned the rod will attach easily. Checking if you have been successful in attaching the rod is easy, just pull your drain stopper from top. If attached, you won’t be able to detach the stopper from your sink.
  • Threading the pivot nut over the rod, hand-tighten it to the tailpiece.

IMPORTANT TIP – Overtightening the pivot nut can cause damage to your pipe connections. Additionally, you might need to adjust your pivot rod in order to attach it properly to the extension rod. Hence, tighten the nut by hand until you have made all the necessary connections.

  • Thread the lift handle through the opening in your sink location directly behind your faucet. From underneath the sink, attach the end of the lift handle to your extension rod at the clevis joint using the screw provided.
  • Ensuring that the holes in the extension bar are facing the pivot rod adjust your bar accordingly before you connecting it to the lift handle.
  • Next, angle you pivot rod downward which will make your drain stopper pop-up. Maintain this angle thread the rod through the desired opening in your extension rod.
  • Using the provided V-shaped spring clamp, connect the pivot rod to the extension rod.
  • Once all connections are made, pull on your lift handle. Ideally, your drain stopper should plug the drain. Conversely, pushing the handle down will open your drain.

Checking Connections

  • After attaching your stopper, turn-on your main water valves.
  • Open your faucet and let the water flow for a few minutes.
  • Carefully inspect all your new pipe connections for leaks and tighten accordingly.
  • Additionally, pull on your lift handle to plug the drain. If no water drain from the sink, you have successfully installed your new stopper. 

Do I need to replace my sink drain with my stopper?

No, if you want you can choose to only replace your stopper. Replacing your sink drain is optional.Do I need to remove my pipe connections each time to repair my stopper?

You can choose not to remove your pipe connections if you are familiar with the process of replacing your stopper.


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