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Thread: overflow gasket repair

  1. #1

    Default overflow gasket repair

    Hi everyone,

    My wife and I recently purchased a mid-60's house. She was taking a bath recently (with a lot of water flowing into the overflow drain) and I discovered a considerable amount of water running down the block wall under the bathroom. When she drained the tub, the water dried up. As we've had no problems while using the shower, I'm fairly sure that the problem is a faulty overflow gasket, which I was planning to replace myself. (From reading the forum, I guess I still need to try the half-full tub test...)

    I am a bit hesitant though, because should something go wrong, the business end of the tub is pretty much inaccessable, otherwise. From beneath, the furnace completlely obstructs the ceiling, and from the back, the kitchen cabinets would have to come out.

    I guess what I'm asking is: in your experience, what is the risk of making a small problem into a big one if I go noodling around with these drain pipes? In your experience, are the stresses put on the pipes when doing this sort of repair ever sufficient to disrupt seals and such deeper into the drain pipe? I have no idea how old they might be.

    Also, how much variability is there in overflow gaskets? Can I just walk into a hardware store and tell them I need an bathtub overflow gasket or do I need to bring the old one to match?

    Clearly, I'm very naive about these things, and any advice is very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    In a drain assembly that old, it could be dicey. It's likely brass, the screws probably won't come out (give them a good blast of a penetrating oil first). Plus, the brass is likely brittle. It could be easy and uncomplicated. See what the pros think. Don't think that the gaskets are universal, but could be.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Blog Entries


    Brass is pretty tough.
    Hardware stores carry new rubber overflow gaskets.
    Sometimes, it's just a matter of sliding a new one in.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Bathtub overflow gasket

    OK, so I'm in to my old brass overflow assembly and need only the gasket. Four hardware stores and plumbing houses later and the only thing I can find is a tapered ring. However the facing on the back of the tub is vertical as is the overflow flange. A week and a half of looking and I'm stumped. The gasket which was installed has 4 tabs which hook over the edge of the brass flange fitting, locating it during installation and sealing. Apparently that and ftubs with vertical sealing surfaces for mounting piping connections are outdated ideas (you can tell I'm a little cranky). Any ideas short of a new tub and plumbing system? Thanks

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default gasket

    Get the tapered gasket and rotate it until it touches at the top and bottom, then tighten the screws. They will rotate the riser to make contact at the sides.


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