Should I Caulk or Seal the Bathtub Drain?

Some plumbing fixtures, especially bathtub drains, tend to leak once in a while. Caulking or sealing the tub drain assists in preventing water damage.

When sealing the tub, the material you’ll use will depend mainly on how the tub drainage pipe can be accessed. The area surrounding the drain often requires sealing to assist in insulating the bathtub.

caulking a bathtub


Considerations to Make

First, look for the access panel. You can find it either beside or below the bathtub. The access panel will allow you to get to the pipe that sits beneath the bathtub drain.

Check whether you can easily access the drain area. There’re several sealants you can use. However, the most ideal solution to seal this area is using plumber’s putty. Using plumber’s putty works best for it creates a waterproof seal when used on wet surfaces.

In case you find it challenging to reach the underside area of the tub drainage pipe, then your best option will be silicone caulking.

Use the caulk to seal the exposed drain area. Silicone caulking forms a strong, tight seal that doesn’t wash away easily.


Using Plumber’s Putty

If you’re used to handling DIY home improvement projects or overseeing various projects at home, then you’ve probably come across the term plumber’s putty.

Plumber’s putty refers to a thick and moldable substance used in creating a tight sealing between the bathtub surface and the lip of the tub drainpipe.

To apply plumber’s putty the right way, start with loosening the lip of the drain by removing the nut you’ll find below the tub drain.

The nut is usually attached on the drainpipe right underneath the bathtub. Upon unscrewing the nut, squeeze out some putty and create a thin roll with a diameter of around ¼ inch. Apply the roll of putty under the loose drain lip.

Once done, you can reattach the nut and tighten it. As the nut tightens, it will pull the drainage lip firmly onto the tub surface for a tight seal. Remove excess plumber’s putty before drying up.

When to Use Caulking

In case you’re unable to access the underside area of the tub, then your best bet will be applying silicone caulking on the exposed drainpipe.

Silicone caulking will create a waterproof seal that will assist in reducing the risks associated with leaking water as it seeps under the rim of the drainpipe.

Silicone caulking is white, clear, or colored. It provides a tight seal between a drainage pipe and the tub. However, excessive rubbing and regular application of caulking may wear out the tub material.

Consequently, you’d have to re-caulk the tub drain area regularly. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer when applying caulk on any plumbing fixture.

Exterior Caulking

While caulking the tub drain area can assist in eliminating water leakage, caulking doesn’t assist in insulating the tub drain from leaking air that can enter through larger gaps on the exterior surface of the drainpipe.

Large openings and gaps on the floor below are a source of heat loss. The gaps can be sealed with insulation foam spray for better insulation beneath the bathtub.


Related Articles:

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Fixing A Whirlpool Bathtub Without A Plumbing Access Panel

A DIY Guide On How To Remove The Bathtub Drain

The Basics of Sink Plumbing in the Bathroom

How to Repair Your Leaking Bathtub

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By |2020-04-03T18:11:46+10:30November 20th, 2019|Bathroom|0 Comments

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