View Full Version : Lever drains

11-11-2009, 01:14 PM
Right now, I have two drains in front of me... one is going into the new tub, and one is getting returned. I need help deciding which one to keep.

One is a traditional lever-type drain that cost ~$25. The other is a cable drain that cost ~$80. Both solve the one problem I care about: being able to open the drain without sticking my hand into the water. Beyond that, I'm trying to decide whether the second is really worth paying ~3x as much, just to get a dial that turns instead of a lever that flips.

From what I can tell, the one deal-breaker for lever drains is distance to the drain... they can't be used with center-draining tubs, and might not be usable with tubs that are substantially larger than "normal". My tub is right-drain, and as far as I can tell, is within the capabilities of a lever drain.

Is one significantly easier or harder to install and/or maintain than the other? One factor I thought of is long-term reliability. If the lever drain needs to be fixed, I think I can do it from "outside". On the other hand, I'm not sure whether a cable drain with cable problems (say, a cable that stretches or becomes loose over the years) *can* be fixed without access to the underside... something I won't have once the tub is installed & the room is tiled.

Does anybody have any particularly strong opinions one way or another? Although I'd rather go with the cheaper drain, it's not like I'd be bankrupted by the more expensive one if I could think of any really compelling advantage to it. So far, the one really compelling argument either way I've come up with is against the cable drain (worries about repairing a stretched/broken/loose cable if I can't get at the underside).

11-11-2009, 04:50 PM
The lever drains are limited ONLY by the location of the overflow opening relative to the "P" trap, although you might have to lengthen the lift wires. The bottom opening in the tub has no revelence to the installation. The cable drains, however, do require that the drain opening be within the cable length of the overflow opening. AND when the cable, fulcrum mechanism, or operator break, you will have to make an opening somewhere to replace the drain assembly.

11-11-2009, 07:30 PM
Great. Another reason to go with a lever-type drain... about an hour after I realized that my tub really *is* too deep for any of the lever-type drains carried by Home Depot and Lowe's. :(

Do lever-type drains that cost less than $100 and are capable of working with a 22" deep tub exist? Or am I pretty much stuck with cable-type after all?

God forbid, if the cable does break someday, can I at least unscrew the drain from inside the tub and replace it with a twist-open or pop-up/press-down drain to get by until the next major remodeling project ~25 years from now?

11-12-2009, 05:10 AM
Kohler makes a drain with several different length lift wires so you can modify it for whichever tub you have. If the overflow tube is too short, just add to it with a slip joint, (or solder joint type if you know how to use one), extension tube. DO the same for the drain arm if the opening is too far away from the tee.

11-12-2009, 03:42 PM
Can one of the "normal" brushed nickel (a.k.a. stainless steel) trip lever drains from Home Depot, like the one at 't i n y u r l - dot - com -slash - ydv8m63 ' (the Watts 4BN) be modified with a longer tube and longer wire?

11-12-2009, 06:06 PM
Gerber makes a Roman Tub Drain in your finish, N1-813, that works to a depth of 24". It is well made and you won't have to Mickey around with the linkage.

11-12-2009, 07:04 PM
Are they a brand that's commonly-stocked by real plumbing stores, even if Home Depot and Lowe's don't stock them?

How does height adjustment for the two main pipes work if they're brass instead of PVC? I'm guessing brass can probably be cut with a hacksaw, but how are they subsequently joined together? Specifically, how would they be joined together by someone whose closest thing to a real plumbing tool is a big mid-grade adjustable wrench(*)?

11-12-2009, 08:30 PM
The same slip connection works with either brass or plastic drain pipes.

Plumber Jim
11-12-2009, 08:45 PM
Why not use a lift and turn. plus get one that is glue pipe so you can make it whatever size you need.


11-13-2009, 10:23 AM
Well, so much for my plan of buying one from a real plumbing store. I went to two over lunch, and both said that lever drains for soaking tubs are strictly a special order item, by virtue of them being both expensive and hard to sell (since most people with deep tubs have pumps and need an access panel anyway).

So... it's looking like I basically have two choices if I want to have my tub installed by tomorrow night and have a drain that can be opened & closed remotely... try hacking the too-short lever drain to make it longer, or put in the cable drain and hope the cable doesn't break, loosen, or otherwise have problems over the next 25 years.

Sigh. I wish (expletive deleted) UPS and FedEx would let you ship things standard overnight on Friday & just pick them up directly from their office on Saturday, or more online vendors were willing to use USPS express mail (since they deliver Saturday & Sunday, for what UPS & FedEx charge for standard overnight). I've lost count of the number of times I've been forced into questionable kludges because the part I *really* needed couldn't be obtained in time to use on Saturday or Sunday. :(

As far as twist-drains go, my problem with them is the fact that I almost always take showers, and it seems like 99% of the time, when the drain ends up closed, it's closed by accident... and magically, it only seems to happen when the water ends up being particularly gross & disgusting for some reason.