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I've had issues with my kitchen sink's strainers and I've replaced them both, but I'm still having some problems with one of them. I did what I think is fairly normal procedure: undo the piping + basket nut, pop out the basket, clean everything well, wrap plumber's putty underneath the basket, press down, reassemble nut and piping under the sink and then peel away the excess putty on top. It (seems) to have worked fine for one side, but not the other; it still has a slow drip, almost like condensation, when the sink is filled with water.

I've pulled it apart and replaced the putty and gasket a couple of times now, but still can't seem to get this one to work. I've run hot water down the tap and managed to move the nut a tiny bit more, although if I tighten it much more then I'm worried that the nut will crack or I'll squeeze the gasket out. There's no play in the sink strainer itself. When I was tightening it down it did twist maybe 15 degrees as I was tightening it, but afterward I kept water in it for around 30 minutes with no issues. That was about a month ago, and the water just started to start to drip.

I haven't seen any more putty leak out of the sink since, and there's no play in the sink strainer if I try to wiggle it a bit. One thing I did notice with this side is that it seemed like the hole might have been a hair bigger than the otherside; I had more plumber's putty on the bottom with this one. Although I would have thought that with a good plumber's putty seal and really tight gasket that I should be fine.

Any suggestions? This doesn't seem like rocket science but I'm starting to get a little frustrated.

  • To be clear you are putting the putty ( a lot of putty ) on the top side of the sink and the rubber gasket on the bottom side, i think you are base on you description but want to clarify. Are you including the paper gasket that goes between the nut and the rubber gasket ?, if not the rubber gasket will have to much friction and not allow the nut to tighten up as much. do you have the special basin wrench? it much easier to get the nut tight with the proper tool. – Alaska Man Oct 15 '18 at 19:31
  • I'm putting a significant amount of putty, but not an obscene amount. Plenty is squeezing out of the top and the bottom; I peel off the bottom carefully first to put on the nut and then my last step is to peel the excess putty off the top. And I am using a paper slip ring, yup. Do not have a special basin wrench, been using a large pair of channel locks. I thought about buying the specific wrench, although once I get the channel locks on I honestly haven't had much trouble with getting the nut really tight. – JosephRT Oct 15 '18 at 19:42
  • Maybe the new strainer has a crack in it. Did you look carefully? Where is exactly I the leaking water coming from? Above the nut, below the nut or down the threads? – BrianK Oct 15 '18 at 19:54
  • @BrianK not that I can tell, visually inspected it and ran my fingers around the inside of it, didn't feel or see anything. Although good point, that hadn't occurred to me. If I run into something like this again in the future I'll remember to check :) – JosephRT Oct 19 '18 at 12:58
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Channellocks are great for replacing sink strainer drains. I've never had a sink drain where I needed something like a basin wrench because they are generally easily accessible.

As for the leak:

1)Make sure you don't have a faulty basket strainer. Make sure there are no cracks or other defects in it. You said it looks like condensation underneth so I'm guess that means water is actually on the outside of the plumbing and it's not just leaking past the strainer plug and into the drain.

2) Is it leaking from the sink drain or from one of the drain connections below? Be sure to check the drain connections closely to make sure it's not leaking from them. If you've used putty on top and a rubber gasket and paper gasket on the bottom (make sure the rubber gasket goes directly against the sink and the paper gasket between that and the nut), the likelyhood of it leaking is very slim. You can overtighten the nut (and other plumbing parts that have gaskets) and actually cause leaking issues so be sure not to go crazy on it. Tightness is realitive but it should be tight enough that once you're done you can't twist it by hand and it doesn't move when you tighten the drain pipe back on.

3) Be sure to check for any chips and/or cracks that water might be able to seep into and leak out. If there are chips and/or cracks, you can try repairing them with some special epoxy or using silicone instead of putty. Silicone will be much more of a pain to remove later but it does come off with some persuasion. If using expoxy, be sure to let it fully cure before putting the strainer back on.

  • 1. double checked the strainer visually and running my fingers over the inside, if there is a crack/defect I couldn't detect it. 2. I'm pretty sure that it's from the drain, there was a little water on the underside of the sink and the side of the strainer was wet. I might have gotten it too tight, I was going for max tighteness with channel locks (without squeezing out the rubber gasket). The rubber gasket isn't 100% square, so that might be my issue. But if it's extremely tight, wouldn't it still keep a good seal with the plumbers putty? – JosephRT Oct 19 '18 at 12:55
  • 3. I have also inspected the sink, no obvious punctures, cracks, etc. Although when I was working with the strainer it didn't seem to fit quite as well as the other side, and I tried with both strainers I had. Seemed like the hole was just a tiny bit bigger on this side, although I didn't take any measurements. Could that possibly be it? I still feel like with plumbers putty + good pressure that this shouldn't be an issue, but I could very well be wrong. – JosephRT Oct 19 '18 at 12:57
  • You want the nut tight but not so tight that you might break something. If you feel like you might pull a muscle, it's far too tight. The strainers don't have to fit the same as long as you have putty or another sealer on it. Check around under the sink to see if maybe water is leaking from somewhere else and is collecting on the strainer. It might be time to try another strainer or try using silicon as the sealer. – HazardousGlitch Oct 26 '18 at 15:57

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