Bathroom sink repair
By Emerson Lockwood
A friend of mine had some trouble with a bathroom sink and discussed the best way to fix it
with me. I offered some advice
and asked him to document his adventure for the website and he agreed, this is his
My bathroom sink was draining very slowly so I tried some liquid Drano to help the flow, but
after following the directions
it continued to drain painfully slow. Since I did not have an auger handy I thought that I
would try to free up the clog by
sticking an unraveled clothes hanger down the drain. This was a bad idea! The photo below
shows that the trap on the bathroom
sink was very rusty and thin. The clothes hanger went right through the trap causing a major
The inset in the picture below illustrates the clothes hanger sticking through the bathroom
At this point I realized that I would have to replace the trap myself or call a plumber. I
chose to replace it myself to try
and save some money. This picture shows what the trap and pipes looked like before I started
working on them.
The amount of rust on
these pipes is evident in the
picture and I assume that these pipes have been in place since the house was built some
It looked easy enough to replace the trap, simply get a pipe wrench and loosen the 2 nuts to
remove the trap right? Well, I
got a hold of the nuts with a pipewrench and began to turn; this is where things got really
ugly. When I did this the rusted
pipe that the trap was connected to decided to twist and break as well. This picture shows
the results of trying to loosen
the nuts with the pipe wrench. Now you can really see how rusty it was!
Well, now I was getting frustrated with the whole bathroom sink trap repair that started out
as a problem with the sink
draining. I thought that I could simply remove the rusted pipe with the use of a hacksaw,
get a fitting to connect a new
plastic pipe to the old pipe and fix it. Here I ran into another problem.
It is difficult to see in this picture but the pipe that I wanted to remove was brazed onto
the primary larger
meant that using a hacksaw would not
I did use a hacksaw to remove the largest part of the pipe though.
Once the biggest part of the bathroom sink drain pipes were removed I had to use a torch to
undo the brazing that was done.
There are no photos of this because it is hard to take a picture and keep from burning the
house down at the same time!
Luckily the torch worked great and melted away the brazing that had been done, thus removing
all of the rusted
A quick trip to the home improvement store and a mere $5.86 later I was able to start
replacing the pipe. I used a larger
plastic coupling with twist on nuts and gaskets to connect a new piece of plastic pipe to
the old metal pipe. From this
coupling I was easily able to connect the plastic pipe to the trap and to the sinks drain. I
did, however, have to use the
hacksaw on the new plastic pipe to get it the right length. I also used some sandpaper to
remove the burrs on the new plastic
pipe after hack sawing it.
The new plastic piping and trap came with the simple twist on nuts and gaskets and did not
require any plumber’s tape or
sealant. Here is a photo of the completed project.
As you can see, I did
reuse the two pieces of pipe that
came straight down from the sink, one was plastic, and the other was not rusted through, but
did require some cleaning.
I feel like I should offer a graphic warning for this next photo. This shows the piece of
bathroom sink pipe that was the
cause of the slow drain (which was the whole reason I started messing with it in the first
Finally, I have included a photo showing all of the required tools to complete the plumbing job. A
pipe wrench, a torch, a hacksaw,
sandpaper, a screwdriver, and pliers were all that were required. The screwdriver was
briefly used to “help” get the new
gasket onto the remaining old pipe that had been brazed. The pliers were simply used to hold
the pipe while using the torch,
the pipe got pretty hot!
Total project time (including a trip to the home improvement store) was 1.5-2.0 hours. Total
cost for the project $5.86!!!
Could you imagine how much a plumber would have charged to come to the house and replace the
pipe! I’m not sure what the
exact rates would have been to get a plumber to do the job, but I know it would have been a
lot more than $5.86.
I hope this article has shown you how easy it is to repair a bathroom sink trap and piping
as well as shown you what not to
do, like shove a clothes hanger down a rusted out clogged sink drain.
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