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Repairing a leaking bathtub overflow pipe

Blocked DrainsConfirm the source of the leak

Perform a quick diagnostic test to confirm that the overflow is the source of the leak. Remove any access hatches or coverings you have to expose the tub pipe connections. Run water into the tub and look for water leaking directly under the tub. If you see water leaking, it’s very likely that you have loose connections in the drain fitting or trap underneath the tub. Tighten them or repair them as needed.

If the water in the tub is not causing a leak, run the shower water instead. If you notice a leak, look for signs of water splashing onto the tub spout, showerhead or faucet plate. Cracked or missing seals around these elements allow water to run behind the shower wall.

Check the overflow seal

A tub overflow pipe seals against the tub with an annular gasket, usually located between the flange around the pipe opening and the back of the tub wall.

To check the overflow gasket, remove the overflow plate by removing the screws holding the plate in place and pulling the plate off. You may need to cut the sealant around the overflow plate before you can remove it. Cut through the sealant with a utility knife.

Examine the sealant. If it is badly worn, cracked or compressed, replace the seal using the steps below. During the inspection, you may notice that the overflow tube assembly is loose or damaged. If this is the case, a simple solution is to replace the entire overflow assembly with new parts.

Remove the old overflow gasket

The overflow tube usually has a bit of give, and you can carefully push it backward (away from the tub) to gain some space so you can grab the gasket with your fingers or needle-nose pliers. Remove the old gasket completely, then clean the area around the tub hole and the flange of the drain pipe with a rag and rubbing alcohol to remove all debris and residue.

Install the new gasket

Slide the new gasket into the hole in the tub wall and carefully place it against the flange around the opening in the drain pipe. Make sure it is fully seated against the flange so that it forms an even seal against the tub.

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