How To Extend Bathtub Drain?

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You might find that your bathtub does not drain fast enough or is prone to spilling over. One way to combat this is by extending your bathtub drain. But how do you do this? We have done the research to help guide you in this post!

You can extend your bathtub drain using an overflow drain. This mechanism sits below the rim of your bathtub and aids in drainage. Here are the steps for installing an overflow drain:

  1. Prepare the materials
  2. Measure your needed drain extension
  3. Disassemble the drain spout
  4. Feed the tailpiece through the drain hole
  5. Assemble the drain stopper
  6. Assemble the pieces together

Extending your bathtub drain will help avoid any plumbing issues or damage to your home from constant overflow. Though it may seem daunting at first, you can extend your bathtub drain all on your own. Keep on reading for a more in-depth explanation on how to do just that!

Bathub filled with water for warm bath, How To Extend Bathtub Drain?

How Do I Increase The Drain In My Bathtub?

Most modern bathtubs have accessible drainage systems and a standard mechanism for you to work with. While installing an overflow drain to extend your bathtub drain can be a DIY job, try not to work beyond what you are capable of.

Should you find any potential issues with your plumbing that you cannot deal with on your own, call up a professional. Otherwise, proceed to the next steps.

Strong stream of water pours into the tub. Water pours out

Check out this video for a detailed explanation of the process:


Prepare The Materials

You will need a couple of tools for working on your bathtub overflow drain. Prepare wrenches as well as cutting tools. You will also need some putty. If you need assistance, get somebody to help you.

Get your hands on a good-quality overflow drain. Make sure that it is specifically made for bathtubs, as there are also overflow drains made for sinks instead.

Bathtub drain kits typically come in three parts. The drain mechanism, the stopper, and the pipes. Just in case the ones supplied in your kit are not enough, have a few different types of PVC pipes ready.

Click here to see Bathtub Drain Kit on Amazon

Measure Your Needed Drain Extension

Before you start installing, check to see if your drain kit will fit your bathtub and its plumbing. Chances are, you will have to do adjustments later on if you find that a pipe is too long or too short.

Check to see if the drain plate and trip lever fit into place. If they are just slightly loose in the tub, don't worry. You can use putty to seal them into place. These are just a couple of precautions to avoid wasting any time, so make sure not to skip this step. 

Disassemble The Drain Spout

You can find the drain spout near the front of your bathtub when you access its drain system. Using a wrench, disassemble the drain spout so you can make space for the replacement.

Feed The Tailpiece Through The Drain Hole

Place putty around the drain rim to seal it tight. Place it in the drain hole. Next, have someone push the tail piece through the drain hole so you can pull it up through your end. Secure the tailpiece in place and scrape off any extra putty.

Assemble The Drain Stopper

Next, you can assemble the drain stopper. Remove the gasket from the inside of your tub. You can find this at the front of your bathtub behind the drain spout. Feed the drain stopper through here and attach it to the mechanism from your bathtub drain kit.

Assemble The Drain Kit PVC Pipes

Finally, it is time for you to work with the pipes under your bathtub. This part may take a while depending on how old or complex your plumbing system is. If you're lucky, everything will fit just perfectly. All you will have left to do is to seal them.

If you are not so lucky, then this means some parts will have to be adjusted to fit. Cut drain pipes as needed and use PVC pipes as necessary. Once you have everything connected, install the overflow kit mechanism to the drain stopper and drain pipe.

How Does An Overflow Bathtub Drain Work?

Wet baby girl with blond hair looks at her reflection in overflow drain knob of the bathtub

An overflow bathtub drain is connected to that metal knob you can find at the front of your bathtub, just under the tap. It is placed around the water line to drain out any excess so that the tub does not overflow.

You can engage and disengage the overflow drain by pushing on this knob. As long as you leave it open, the water in your tub has access to the overflow drain. This is connected to your bathtub main drain or floor drain.

One primary reason to have an overflow drain is that you might be prone to leaving the water running in your bathtub for too long, or you may have kids in the house who do.

Without an overflow drain, the water will fill up the bathtub until it spills onto the floor, leading to a flood in your house. 

You might be wondering if you really need a bathtub overflow drain. The truth is, it is not necessary unless you prefer to have one. The overflow drain is simply a safety mechanism to prevent flooding or plumbing problems. 

Note that having an overflow drain could cost you money if it has to be engaged often. If your overflow comes from a running tap, that would be a considerable amount of clean water thrown out. This not only contributes to excess costs but can be harmful to the environment.

Other Ways To Extend Bathtub Drain

An alternative to the traditional bathtub overflow drain is the integral overflow drain. Rather than having to work with additional plumbing, integral drains are holes where the drain switch would be. Water spills out of the hole into the drainage system before it can overflow.

This sort of overflow drain is similar to the kind you will find in sinks. If you ever wondered what that little slot in a sink is, that is the overflow drain!

Having an overflow drain is not standard, so not all tubs come with the hole meant for one. Smaller tubs or shower/bathtub combos, for example, do not need an overflow drain.

If you want to install an overflow drain for a bathtub that is not built for one, you will have to replace your bathtub. The costs for this option are likely to far outweigh its worth, as there are less expensive alternatives.

How To Speed Up Bathtub Draining

wash-out water with bubbles on white drainage

Another reason for installing a bathtub overflow drain is to speed up draining time. Should you find your main drain to be too slow, the overflow drain can be engaged to let the water out faster.

There are other means for you to drain your bathtub faster without the need for an overflow drain! Sometimes slow draining time is a result of clogged or dirty drain and pipes. Cleaning them out regularly is a good solution to this problem.

Here are some ways that you can make your bathtub drain faster:

  • Use drain cleaner
  • Use a mixture of one cup baking soda with equal parts vinegar and salt
  • Use boiling water
  • Use a plumbing snake
  • Unclog the drain through the pipes or with a plunger
  • Call up a professional to unclog your drain for you

To clean out your bathtub drain with drain cleaner, solution, boiling water, or similar methods, remove your bathtub drain cover (if possible) and pour your solution down the drain.

This should break down and clear up any gunk and residue stuck to the drain and its pipes. Should this method not work, then you are either dealing with heavier clogs like hair, or a plumbing issue.

When this happens you can use a plunger, a plumbing snake, or have a plumber help you clear out your drain.

Click here to see Drain Clog Remover on Amazon

Can I Convert A Bathtub Drain To A Shower Drain?

water drops on metal gutter in the evening sunshine

Renovations to your bathroom, especially with the bathtub, will involve a lot of plumbing. You can certainly replace a bathtub with a shower. However, you will then have to convert the drain to fit appropriately.

Converting a bathtub drain to a shower drain involves removing the old drain pipe, modifying the space around the drain, and putting together the new system. You can purchase PVC fittings and conversion pieces to make your project easier.

Once you have all the new drain pipes assembled, you can install your new shower drain!

Wrapping Things Up

Bathub filled with water for warm bath

You can extend your bathtub drain by installing a drain overflow. This keeps the drain running smoothly and, as the name suggests, prevents water from overflowing from the tub.

Another way to extend or remedy a slow bathtub drain is to simply clean it out. You can use whichever method from this post works for you!

Did you find this helpful? Before you go, check out our other articles:

How Long Should It Take For Hot Water To Reach Faucet?

How Close Can An Electric Wall Heater Be To A Bathtub?

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