How to Remove a Tub Drain with Broken Crosshairs – A Complete Guide

This article contains a step-by-step guide that will help you remove a tub drain that contains broken crosshairs using an extractor tool and a drain key.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 03, 2021
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You may not want to admit it, but a shower is one of the best parts of your day. It allows you to wash away your exhaustion and has a calming effect. This is why it’s worrying when your bathtub stops draining water. One of the most frustrating aspects of home maintenance is removing a tub drain with broken crosshairs that won’t come out. This is especially true when you’re trying to replace it but don’t want to hire a technician and are going through the DIY route. 

Most bathtub drains are made from brass, cast iron, bronze, and sometimes galvanized steel. They are then threaded into place using cast iron, and after a while, these threads can become rusty and eventually corrode, making tub drain removal difficult. If you’re researching how to remove a tub drain with broken crosshairs, we’ve compiled a complete guide for you. Check out the article below to find out the top methods you can use!

Removing a broken tub drain 

Bathtubs are a great extension of our daily activities, which is why it’s surprising that most people don’t clean them properly. In fact, a survey by Trusted Source www.bbc.com revealed that an average shower lasts a whole 8 minutes! If your household has multiple people, then it’s safe to say that without proper maintenance, the tub will end up getting damaged. We understand how difficult it is to remove a tub drain with broken crosshairs, which is why we have listed the 2 main ways you can do it. 

With a tub drain extractor tool 

How to Remove a Tub Drain with Broken Crosshairs - A Complete Guide
Using a tub drain extractor is very easy. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide.

Step 1: fix the tub drain extractor by placing it on the drain

You’ve probably never heard of a tub drain but don’t worry because we’ll explain what it is. This is a tool that allows you to remove drains that have corroded crossbars with ease. 

According to multiple reviews, the best drain extractor tool is the Superior Tool 05255 1.5″ Tub Drain Extractor. It can remove up to 1.5 inches of old tub drains that are proving difficult and is highly durable and easy to use. This tub drain extractor comes with unique knurl bites that enhance its grip, ensuring it doesn’t slip and is easy to remove from the drain once you’re done. It also has a beautiful design with a gold plate finish and is made from stainless steel. 

As you are fixing the tub drain, make sure all the edges make contact with the tub drain’s surface, as this will make removal easier. 

Step 2: tighten this tool

When you drop the tub drain extractor inside the tub drain, you’ll notice that it’s not tight enough. Check this by trying to take the extractor out of the drain and if you can remove it with ease, tighten it until this is impossible. The best way to do this is by striking it firmly with a hammer. 

Step 3: fix a screw inside the extractor

It’s important to note that the tub drain extractor usually has larger crosshairs, so you’ll need to look for a thicker screw. Go for a screw that’s around 1 inch and use a screwdriver to fix it. 

Step 4: pull out the broken tub drain

Get a ratchet and ensure you unlock it before using it. Adjust its tightness based on your needs and then rotate it anticlockwise. Apply toque until the broken tub drain comes out. 

With a drain key 

How to Remove a Tub Drain with Broken Crosshairs - A Complete Guide
You can also remove a tub drain with broken crosshairs with a drain key using the following steps.

Step 1: put the drain key into the drain basket and ensure the expanding shoes are inside it with the drive screw at the top.

Step 2: ensure the drain key shoes make contact with the sides of the tub drain by turning the screw until it’s tight.

Step 3: once the screw can’t be tightened anymore, attach it with the hex nut and an adjustable wrench.

Step 4: turn the drive screw counterclockwise using the wrench to expand the expanding shoes against the old tub drain until the drain basket breaks. It’s important to note that this requires a lot of force and may take a lot of time, so be patient. 

Step 5: Turn the wrench in a counterclockwise direction to allow the drain basket to fall away by retracting the expanded shoes. This will allow you to remove the broken tub drain. 

If you’re unsure of the drain key to use, based on popular opinion, the Superior Tool Company model is one of the best. It comes with 3 steel shoes and has an expanding design that allows for a strong internal grip. This package also comes with a tub drain removal wrench that you can use to remove and install a wide variety of drain tubs. 

With a hammer, screwdriver and cutting wheel

How to Remove a Tub Drain with Broken Crosshairs - A Complete Guide
This is by far one of the easiest methods. 

Step 1: make a notch that’s big enough to fit a screwdriver tip into the drain collar using a cutting wheel. 

Step 2: fit the screwdriver where you made the cut and hit on it using a hammer. This will make the drain collar to spin. 

Step 3: keep hitting it until the drain collar is removed and you’re done.

How to replace a tub drain

Once you remove the tub drain with broken crosshairs, we advise that you replace it with a new one as soon as possible. Here’s a quick guide you can use to install a new one. For this exercise, you’ll need a plumber’s putty and pliers.

Step 1: make sure the new tub drain fits the hole, and then place the plumber’s putty on the surface of the bathtub. Make a ring-like structure using the putty using around 4 grams of the substance. This will create a watertight surface beneath the tub drain and will make it easy to clean the putty off. 

Step 2: put the new tub drain into the hole and make sure you use some force to help it sit in the drain. Adjust your pliers according to the width of the crosshairs and then rotate them in a clockwise direction. 

Step 3: clean the putty. As you fix the new tub drain, you’ll notice the putty getting out, so make sure you clean it to avoid making a mess. 

FAQ 

What causes the tub drain to get damaged?

Most of the time, this is due to the bathtub being old. In this case, you should replace it with a new bathtub or a better shower system. You could even get freestanding tubs. The other major reason is a dirty tub drain. According to Trusted Source How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel Cost? – Forbes Advisor Because bathrooms are one of the most used rooms in a home, they need regular maintenance and, sometimes, a full bathroom remodel. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) suggests budgeting between 5% and 10% of your home’s value for a bathroom remodel.

On average, bathroom remodels cost www.forbes.com , since bathrooms are some of the most used rooms in a home, they require regular maintenance. This not only increases the life of your tub drain but is also hygienic. 

Why is my tub drain stuck?

Crosshairs are located inside the tub drain and help to tighten or loosen it. When the tub drain breaks, it also causes the crosshairs to break, which makes it challenging for you to take it out of the hole.

How can I remove rust from my tub drain?

Most tub drains are made from galvanized steel, and after prolonged usage, they can get corroded. This then reduces its longevity and causes the crosshairs to break. To clean the rust, use water and baking soda to make a paste. Apply this paste generously to the rusty area and leave it overnight. Clean it the next morning using a toothbrush. 

Will the plumbers putty stain my bathtub?

The plumber’s putty tends to leave a yellow stain around the areas on which it sussed. This is why you should be cautious when installing a new bathtub to avoid staining it. 

Final thoughts

The above review on how to remove a tub drain with broken crosshairs will make it easy for you to incomplete your DIY project and install a new tub drain. Make sure you maintain the drain properly by cleaning it regularly, and if it has served you for a long time, replace it. On average, tub drains should be replaced after around 15 to 20 years. 

References

2.
How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel Cost? – Forbes Advisor
Because bathrooms are one of the most used rooms in a home, they need regular maintenance and, sometimes, a full bathroom remodel. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) suggests budgeting between 5% and 10% of your home’s value for a bathroom remodel.

On average, bathroom remodels cost

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