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On my shower drain, I have a broken screw flange, so only one of the screws is holding the drain cover in place. This causes the drain cover to slide around easily when your foot hits it during a shower. The other screw got lost a while back due to this issue. Is there any easy way to reattach this flange? Before it broke, the threads are stripped and the flange material is almost crumbling.

I thought about using some kind of silicone to just hold the drain cover in place on the broken flange side, but I need to be able to take the drain cover off from time to time to clean out hair, etc.

Another idea would be to put some JB weld or some kind of epoxy to reattach the flange, but then I still have the problem of the stripped threads.

I really don't want to replace the drain because this is an upstairs bathroom, so we'd have to cut the ceiling in the living room to access it.

I did try to use some plumbers putty, but it does not hold it in place and it makes quite a mess too.

enter image description here

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    the other side looks ready to break too, – Jasen Apr 2 at 12:02
  • @Jasen - See my answer below, it addresses your point – dcp Apr 4 at 20:27
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See if some of the covers that do not use screws will work for you.

Example this oatey cover has tabs that grip inside the drain hole.

enter image description here

There are other after market drain covers that employ a screwless attaching mechanism, even an attached hair trap. Use the search term “snap in drain cover” to try and find a compatible one. enter image description here

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  • Good suggestion, I'm just not sure if these will work since on my drain it's a bit angled at the top part of the drain (see picture), so I don't think the tabs would be able to grip it. – dcp Apr 2 at 13:09
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You're close but no cigar. Clean the surface and inside cracks as best you can. Take some of the JB Weld or epoxy and glue the parts back together, bracing or clamping the broken part. Fill the screw hole too and be very generous with the weld, epoxy. When it drys, fully cured, drill a small hole for the screw into the flange. You should be good to go.

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  • Which type of JB Weld do you recommend? There is some that comes in a stick, and you just pinch off what you need and rub it together with your fingers, and there are others where you mix the epoxy together on a piece of cardboard using a little plastic scooper. – dcp Apr 2 at 12:48
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    I've used them both and the epoxy does a better job of sinking into cracks. The putty is great for filling in holes. – JACK Apr 2 at 14:27
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A drain is a difficult place for epoxy, as it's hard to get clean enough, and presumably it's also plastic since it stripped and broke, and many sorts of plastic are difficult to get epoxy to stick to.

In my experience, most black plastic drain-waste-vent pipes and fittings in the USA are ABS, so choose an ABS-compatible solvent glue. Start with cleaning and drying the mess, which may require completely removing the cracked bit to clean properly.

You might be able to just glue the cracked bit back on, fill the stripped hole with excess glue (or glue and ABS plastic shavings), wait a day or more for the solvents to work their way out (the filled hole will be slow - gentle heat may speed the process, too much heat will cause other problems) then drill and tap the hole to make new threads.

Another approach would be to find a pipe or fitting that is sized so you could glue a short ring from it (or segments of a ring) in the recess where the screw holes are, with the aim of drilling and tapping two new screw holes into solidly glued new plastic. If fully committing that might involve removing the present holes to glue a full ring, or removing the rest of the broken one to glue in a ring with a segment cut out for the good hole. A more minimal approach (but you'll need some creative clamping - perhaps a shaped wood scrap driven in) would be to glue in two short segments at 90 degrees from the present holes.

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  • (Responding to a comment that has been deleted stating that the drain flange was actually metal) In that case, the breakage is surprising, but clean, dry, epoxy it full, drill & tap should get you a solid fix - though I'm amazed at it breaking in the first place; Manufacturing defect? Gorilla plumber and a screw a bit too long? IDK... – Ecnerwal Apr 2 at 12:46
  • Sorry, I deleted the comment because after further thought, it may actually be plastic, it's hard to tell, so I didn't want to make a false statement. The inner part of the flange looks plastic as you can see some white there. Anyway, I think maybe I will try the epoxy and see, any type you recommend, or any type of ABS solvent glue you recommend? – dcp Apr 2 at 13:01
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    I did not edit the answer in response since it might have been helpful for other folks (or for you if it is plastic.) If it's metal, most any epoxy will do, recommending brands is frowned upon here. If plastic, there are some epoxies that claim better plastic sticking. I guessed the whitish was remains of plumbers putty - if the plastic is black, any glue at your preferred hardware source that says it works with ABS - if cleaning or filing reveals it to be white, PVC - or you can get glues that claim to work with both. Buy a SMALL can, it goes bad sitting around waiting for your next project. – Ecnerwal Apr 2 at 13:11
  • @dcp: I've made field repairs on plastic parts with "Plexus" methacrylate; it is a two-part adhesive, extremely strong and waterproof, but be warned, it is expensive and smells terrible. – Eric Lippert Apr 2 at 21:35
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You should be able to unscrew the closure from the top side without replacing the whole drain from beneath. Most bathtubs and sinks are installed by placing the basin on top of the drain assembly, then applying putty, then screwing the top closure through the basin's drain hole into the drain assembly. Look for "tub trim set" at your favorite home improvement supply.

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  • Yeah, I thought about that but I could not find any good youtube's on it and it's one of those things where if you screw up, you're in a world of hurt. So I'm going to try the epoxy. Thanks for the suggestion. – dcp Apr 2 at 20:58
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Many thanks to the folks who answered and commented, really appreciate it. I ended up going with a different solution though, and wanted to detail it here in the hopes that it might help others.

I did try Kris' solution of the hair catcher drain (bought the exact one from the picture), but as I feared, it would not fit my drain due to its shape so I had to return it.

I also tried JACK's solution of making screw threads with the epoxy, but the screws would not hold because the epoxy was just not strong enough for screw threads.

I had previously found a thread on reddit where someone suggested using hex couplings and then attaching the coupling to the side of the drain with epoxy. This is the solution I used (huge thanks to the redditor that suggested this solution).

  1. Here are the materials I purchased for the repair. As the redditor mentioned, be sure to get stainless steel screws so you don't have to worry about rusting. enter image description here

  2. First, I drilled out the old flanges and made notches for the hex couplings. Tip: stuff some paper towels in the drain to catch the drill shavings so they don't get into your drain enter image description here

  3. Next, I used the epoxy putty (make sure you use the type that is waterproof) and secured the hex couplings in the notches. At this point, you want to make sure the hex couplings fit the drain cover screw holes properly and adjust as needed. I messed up on this the first time and had to drill out the notches a bit deeper, but be careful that you don't drill too much as to cause a leak. Once I had the epoxy and hex couplings in place, I just left the drain cover attached with the screws started about halfway while the epoxy dried. enter image description here

  4. Let the epoxy putty dry for a few hours, then put the screws all the way in. Done!

enter image description here

  1. In hindsight, I should have adjusted the rear hex coupling a little higher as one of the screws doesn't go plush against the drain as you can see from the picture. But I can live with that. Anyway, good luck and hope this helps!
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  • Ideally you should use threaded inserts but the stainless steel couplers are a fairly good substitute. – Jasen Apr 4 at 22:31

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