How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever needed to know How to Replace a Sink Drain? Or maybe in the past you hired a plumber. Well, I’m here today to tell you that it’s not a hard project and I know you can do it!

I think the plumbing Gods smiled down on me recently. After the little leak that turned into a major kitchen renovation, finding this crack in the drain pipe saved us from another costly leak.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

I don’t normally inspect the drain pipes on our sinks, but I just happen to be looking for something under my sons’ sink when I noticed the crack on the drain pipe. Remarkably, there were no drips in the vanity. Before I could grab a new drain assembly, I gently hinted to the family that they might want to use another sink in the house. (I’m subtle, aren’t I.)

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Replacing a Sink Drain Materials:

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How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Replacing a Sink Drain Instructions:

Lay out a towel under your sink to catch any drips and to cushion your work area.

Reach behind your drain and unscrew the cap around the pop-up ball and rod. Remove them from the drain. (FYI, if you ever have a broken pop-up, you can fix your pop-up stopper with this tutorial.)

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the stopper from the drain.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Look under the sink and locate the P-trap. Loosen the slip nuts from the p-trap near the wall and on the drain. (For more details, you can see this tutorial for removing the p-trap.)

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Pull the P-Trap down to release it from the drain. Dump any excess water and gunk into a basin.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

The tailpiece on my drain assembly was plastic and just crumbled in my hand (that’s why it looks like I skipped ahead.)

Use your pliers to loosen the nut on the drain and remove it. If the nut is stuck, spray a little WD-40 on it and wait about 10-15 minutes.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Pull the rubber gasket from the bottom of the drain.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Reach on top into the sink and lift up the drain flange.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Preparing the new drain:

Remove the new drain assembly from the package.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply teflon tape to every threaded section of the drain assembly: Read more

We just got back from a short trip to Vienna, Virginia to visit my family for the holidays. When we arrived, my mom had left me a note in the bathroom we were using.

Here it is:

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

My mom, she’s so cute, doesn’t she know that this sign taunted me the whole visit?

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

Besides, what kind of daughter would I be if I left this minor repair to a plumber? Puh-lease!

So, here was the deal with the hair clip in the sink. It was her way of holding the stopper up because the rod inside the sink had rusted and broken off. (Pretty creative in my opinion.)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

But not the real fix for a sink stopper that would not stay up.

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

Let’s back up before I show you how to repair the stopper. Thank you to Dvorty Girl for the excellent illustration above that she posted on

Sink parts:

  1. Drain Down Rod
  2. Joint Clamp Clip
  3. Horizontal Rod
  4. Nut
  5. Ball, Rod, Nut & Gasket
  6. Stopper Notch
  7. Pop Up Drain Stopper


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Universal Pivot Ball Replacement Kit
Pliers (maybe)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain Instructions:

1. Clear out enough room so you can work under the sink. (Okay, my mom is going to kill me for showing you her cluttered sink vanity. But, who’s sink vanity doesn’t look like this?! Please leave a comment and tell her that she’s not the only one!)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

2. Lay down some towels to cushion the edge of the vanity (or your back, rib cage or hips will be in screaming pain.)

Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain

3. Locate the (3)horizontal rod and (5) nut at the back of your drain that holds the (5) ball, rod & gasket.

4.  Unscrew the (5) nut with your fingers or use pliers if it is really tight. Pull out the ball and gasket.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
5. To release the (3) horizontal rod from the (1) down rod, squeeze the (2) joint clamp clip between your fingers and slide it off the end of the horizontal rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
6. Lay out your old pieces to assess the damage. You may or may not need a new gasket (which is sold separately.) This one was broken and needed replacing.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
7. Match the old pivot ball with the new ones in the kit. Be sure to choose the one that is exactly the same size. Thread the (5) new ball onto the new (3) horizontal rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
8. Next thread the new gasket onto the horizontal rod and then the nut.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
9. Next feed one end of the (2) joint clip clamp (the kit I bought contained two white stoppers instead of a joint clip clamp). Only add one side or one stopper at this point.)
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
10. Feed the (3) horizontal rod into the (1) down rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
11. Line the other end of the (3) horizontal bar up and slip the ball joint into the hole at the back of the drain. Ideally the horizontal bar will be parallel to the floor, but you may have to make some minor adjustments at the end.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
12. Screw the nut back onto the drain making sure the ball joint and gasket are lined up properly.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
13. Now add the second stopper or the other end of the (2) joint clamp clip to the back of the (3) horizontal rod.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
14. Look inside the drain, and notice the post end of the (5) ball joint inside the drain.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Pull up on the (1) down drain rod and make sure that it moves up and down freely and the post in the drain moves as well.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
15. This next step requires a little patience, so put your patience cap on. Feed the drain stopper back into the drain. You want the end of the stopper to be at a 90 degree angle from the ball joint post as show below.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Gently rotate the stopper 90 degrees until the end of the stopper hooks the post.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
16. Once the stopper has been properly rotated and hooked onto the ball joint post, test your sink by pulling up and own on the (1) drain down rod.
And you are done!
Pretty Handsome Guy thought it would be funny to re-arrange the letters in the sign.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
And just to prove to you that my Mom can also be handy, this is a photo I found of her from the 1970’s when my parents were building my childhood home.
Repairing a Pop Up Sink Drain
Next time your drain stopper is broken, I hope you will put off calling a plumber and fix it yourself!

On Wednesday, I had the morning to myself since the kids were in summer camp.  I decided not to work since it was my birthday. Most people would probably take the free morning to get a massage, or a pedicure, or go shopping. I chose the later. But, the shopping mall wasn’t calling me. My destination was far from the marble floors and glittering displays. I was headed to the industrial part of town where warehouses and construction equipment rental stores reside. I visited my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

I am always amazed by the things that are donated to the ReStore. When I enter those doors, my mind begins to whirr. Before me are shelves and aisles of discarded items. Each one calling to me to transform him or her from an ugly frog into a beautiful prince or princess. I happen to possess the magical powers to do just that! It starts with the ability to see into the future (well, maybe just a vision of what could be.) Then it takes some concentration and before you know it…bippity boppity boo! There before me stands a beautiful object and no one can guess at its humble beginnings.

I’d like to give you a look at some of the visions I had.  Won’t you join me on my tour?

First I headed down the furniture aisle. This little knotty pine night stand whispered to me, “Psst, look at my beautiful handles!” She had only been at the ReStore for a few days, so her price was a little steep. But, her drawers were solid and on gliders. Structurally she was solid.

I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I saw this beautiful off white dresser. Freshly painted a crisp white and her handles had a satin black finish. Beautiful!

Then I heard the sounds of water splashing on a classic marble sink. I turned the corner and saw this builder’s special white vanity with brand new brushed nickel faucet.

It didn’t take much to invision this gentleman with a black tuxedo coating of paint and brushed nickle knobs and handles. At $75, he is a diamond in the rough. The sink set alone would cost that!

But, the best is yet to come. Continuing down the cabinet aisle, I see this poor late 70’s kitchen cabinet set. Her handles are charming and exotic. She has some nice curves and pretty lines.

I squint my eyes and begin to see a miraculous transformation! Antique gold handles pop out. Legs grow at her base and a table top sprouts on her head. Oh she will be the belle of the ball as a sideboard in anyone’s dining room.

The next cabinet can not be ignored with a $5 price tag. He begs for someone to take him home.

Imagine a built in cabinet and window seat in a dormer window. Fresh white paint and slate blue trim with black handles.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to see these old newel posts cut down and fitted onto a plain jane desk to add more curvaceous legs:

Now it’s your turn. Imagine these items transforming before you very eyes:

I have a friend who has an old set of lockers by her door. It is her upright family organization center. Each child has a locker and he/she can store shoes, book bag, etc. inside.

I can just see this set of red lacquer cabinets in a retro modern dining room or living room:

A little black paint on the shelves and some feet. Maybe a black marble or granite top?

The ReStore has a large selection of donated lights. Chandeliers twinkle in the light above your head. Envision the shiny gold fading to a beautiful oil rubbed bronze. Another friend shared this link with me detailing such a transformation with Krylon spray paint.

The ReStore staff actually has a display model that someone has transformed into a shiny black chandelier with crystals dripping off her arms.

With an $8 price tag, it is hard to walk away from these beauties. But, I’m seeking something in particular. A new hanging fixture for our foyer.

I find these two potential hanging lights.

At $5 a piece I should bring them both home. But, I decided I prefer the one on the right with his open base and seedy glass. Check out the transformation here!

This glass globe used to be a large exterior hanging light fixture!

Can’t you just see it as a cloche in your garden? At $35, her price was a bit steep for me, but maybe she will still be there in a few weeks with a lower price tag. (Update: I went back to buy this exterior light and the second lantern above, but they were both gone. My loss, but hopefully someone else’s gain.)

As I gather my treasures (the hanging light, an old rickety ladder, some decorative moulding and a copper wall sconce) I am nearly bowled over by the detail on this solid armoire. At $450, it would be a nice addition in someone’s bedroom, but alas our rooms are too small for this towering king.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and check back soon to see the magic I am going to perform on the treasures I bought: copper sconce, decorative moulding, ladder, and hanging lantern.

In the meantime, I have a busy weekend ahead building a built in reading bench with storage in my youngest son’s extra closet.