Kitchen Sink Drain Assembly

What You'll Need
Adjustable wrench
Channel lock pliers
Teflon tape
Plumbers putty

A clogged kitchen sink drain can cause some serious headaches if not dealt with quickly and effectively. Hair, food and deposits can cause your kitchen sink to take what seem like an eternity to drain. Fortunately, the basics of a kitchen drain are not that complicated. In fact, the average homeowner can undertake some of the most basic maintenance and repairs.

Step 1 – Replace the Strainer

Often the first place to look when you’re having a problem with your kitchen sink drain is the strainer portion of the assembly. This piece can easily be found at your local home improvement store and is simple and quick to install.

Remove the strainer assembly by loosening the large nut under the sink basin with a pair of channel lock pliers. Break the seal of the flange by pushing up on the bottom of the strainer. Install the new one by laying a thin bead of plumber’s putty around the drain opening. Finish the job by tightening the nut over the drain tailpipe.

Step 2 – Replace the Trap

The trap is the J-shaped fitting located at the bottom of the kitchen sink drain assembly. It is here that hair and other clog causing debris is trapped. Therefore, it’s only normal that these fittings will need to be replaced over time. Most traps come equipped with a clean-out which is a small access cap located at the bottom of the trap. In many cases, you can eliminate clogs through the clean-out. However, even with a clean-out, water deposits will collect along the walls of the pipe forcing you to eventually replace it. You’ll need a small bucket or pot to catch the excess water when you remove the trap.

Next, using the channel lock pliers, loosen the slip-nuts at each end of the fitting. Then remove the entire trap and replace with a new one. Tighten the slip-nuts at the top and bottom to complete the installation.

Step 3 – Replace the Tailpiece

The tailpiece connects the strainer to the trap and is nothing more than 6, 8 or 12-inch long piece of 1 ½ inch diameter piping. These supplies are available in brass plated, chrome plated or PVC depending on your preference. The use of PVC materials allows for the availability of adjustable tail pieces. Their accordion-like design gives them the ability to expand to whatever length is required. These are great to use when replacing the entire sink. 

Sometimes, the strainer and trap do not line up exactly and these tail pieces can account for the difference. To install one, just loosen the slip-nut at the bottom of the tail piece and remove the old one. Install the new one by connecting the top of the tail piece with the bottom of the strainer. Next, connect the bottom to the top of the trap and tighten the slip-nut to finish the installation.