Tilting the Tub

The phrase “tilting at windmills” comes to mind after multiple attempts to fix the leaking tub drain. The solution seemed elusive for a long time. We had to tilt up the tub on its side to get to the drain. For some reason I was convinced that the piping under the tub was the cause of the leak. Especially after tightening the metal washer on the drain part as far as Dave’s strength could do it. I even replaced the plumbers putty once the leaking drain was disassembled. But I concentrated on the piping below the drain believing that the tub shoe was not able to get tight enough because the drain threads did not extend below the tub bottom.

Tilted tub with tub shoe drain

Tilted tub with tub shoe drain

My first attempt was to extend the tub shoe below the bottom of the tub.

Extended tub drain

Extended tub drain

The new configuration leaked as much as old. Plus it was so long that I lost the slope of 1/4″ to a foot of drain.

Leaking drain with extended pipe

Leaking drain with extended pipe

So I thought to try a shorter extension pipe and a regular 90 degree angle. In theory it would gain a 1/2″ of space underneath. In practice the slope was still gone.

Ninety degree elbow below drain

Ninety degree elbow below drain

I gave up on extending the drain and decided to try replacing the plumbers putty under the lip of the drain and at the rubber washer underneath with 100% silicone caulk. That was finally the solution to stop the leak. I did try the extended pipe one more time but could not get it tight enough to allow for the required slope. I even put the tub up on 1/2″ plywood to gain a bit of height. But I finally gave up and went back to the tub shoe connector.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to find another tub shoe since I had cut the pipe and the shorter pipe required a straight connector that made the pipe a bit wider just under the tub. My hunt for this usually common part was unsuccessful. Home Depot, Lowes, Ferguson Plumbing. Nobody had the full size pipe for under a tub. Amazon had a non-prime offering where the shipping was almost 8 times the cost of the part! I could only find kits that included an overflow and that type of drain pipe is a different width from regular schedule 40 plastic pipe.

Tub Shoe

Tub Shoe


I gave up and used the one I had with the connector that made the pipe wider, but with the silicone on the drain itself, the shoe did not leak anymore and the fact that it could be tighter no longer mattered. Whew!
No leaks now

No leaks now

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