I had my bathroom remodeled about 6 months ago and today I noticed water under the counter.

To my completely untrained eye, the plumbing connection between the sink and the drain line looks hacky. The PVC pipe is fitting loosely over the top of the metal pipe that is integrated with the sink. If I grab the PVC pipe I can make it slide up and down about 3/4", or side to side a couple of millimeters.

My gut instinct is that the installer was taking a shortcut because he didn't have the correct fittings on hand, and just tried to "make it work" in a way that makes it prone to leaking.

Is this a valid reason to go back and complain about unfinished work? And if so, do contractors typically come back and fix issues that are months old?

Pic 1 Pic 2

  • 2
    Does it work? Leave it be. Does it leak? Squeeze some silicone in it... Commented May 4, 2021 at 14:53
  • 3
    Due to gravity, this will not leak... until the trap gets clogged by something. Then you will have a flood.
    – bobflux
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 19:56
  • 2
    Do you even have enough clearance to disconnect the trap if you needed to? It looks like it's resting directly on the floor.
    – bta
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 23:48

4 Answers 4


Yes this seems faulty, not just a poor alternative. Installer needs to come back and fix it, at their cost, with proper seal rings ...etc. This is very straightforward and easy work that should and easily could have been done right.

In the interim, try to slide a bucket, a container or a lid (inside facing up) under the P trap to collect water and prevent damage to the cabinet.

Should it be hard to slide something underneath as-is, you can open the P-trap rings, remove it to place a bucket underneath and close again. Have a cloth handy (like you seem to have) to collect any run off.

You can also fix this yourself. No glue is needed. Take measurements of the length and diameter of the pipe, and take the picture to a hardware store. They will be able to tell you what parts you need and how to assemble it all. If you can disassemble the parts, take them with you.

If the installer is irresponsive, the DIY route is viable even for a beginner. You can always come back to this site for more questions.


This is so blatantly wrong that I have to think the contractor just forgot to finish it up. It almost looks like a stainless steel drain pipe going into that piece of PVC. Your fix would be fairly easy if you don't want to mess with the contractors. Just get a rubber coupling similar to the one pictures below and remove the PVC pipe from the trap and slide the coupling onto the top of the PVC. Re install the PVC with the drain pipe going into the top of the coupling and tighten the nut on the trap. They always say "hand tighten" but I've always found out that it takes a bit more, like a quarter turn further with some Channellocks. Then tighten the hose clamps.

enter image description here

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    I think this is overkill here, but it would get the job done. There's a major caveat, tho. These rubber couplings are sized for outside diameter of normal PVC, which doesn't apply to the thin-walled PVC drains. Always buy a 1/4" smaller than the list size of your sink pipes. So for this case, you need a 1 1/4" to 1" reducer.
    – Machavity
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 13:25

It looks like you have the following

  1. The trap arm coming out of the wall is wrong. There should be a compression ring on it. Instead, it has threads.
  2. The adapter is to fix the need for two compression rings (this makes your trap contact the floor needlessly)
  3. The trap is 1 1/2"
  4. The pipe coming up to your drain is 1 1/2"
  5. Your sink drain pipe is 1 1/4"

If the installer is fixing it, make them pull all of this out and put 1 1/4" all the way into the wall. We're talking $10 of supplies, and you can often buy kits to get everything you need. Heck, you can do this yourself if you want, since you shouldn't need any tools to pull it apart and put it back together. Buy a P-trap kit and an extension tube. Remove the compression ring in the back and put your new trap arm in (you might need a reducing washer for this). The trap compresses directly to the arm, then a slip washer compresses the slip washer to the trap. Finally, a slip washer compresses the sink line to the slip tube (you might need to cut the slip tube some, FYI). You don't need any exterior rubber gaskets to make this work (I have a metal-to-PVC transition like this that doesn't leak).

If you want a simpler DIY fix, go buy a an 1 1/2" extension tube (your existing tube doesn't have any threads for you to use) and then buy a 1 1/2" to 1 1/4" reducing washer. It assumes nothing else is leaking, but it would fix the glaring problem of the sink drain being smaller than the trap pipe.

  • If they replace the P-trap with a new 1 1/2" kit it often comes with a 1 1/4" reducing washer in the package. So a 1-1/2" p-trap kit and extension tube can make this perfect for <$10
    – redlude97
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 18:10

This is not appropriate. That whole drain stack must be solidly connected and watertight or it will leak badly (as you discovered) when heavy water flows through it. Your installer either didn't know what he was doing and tried to fudge it, or knows this is inadequate and screwed you over.

You can probably resolve this by getting a reducing rubber ring to place inside the white pipe where it meets the metal (looking) tail, but it will require disassembling some of that P trap to get it in there. Something like this (I am not affiliated, just the first one that popped up in a search). Measure to make sure it is the right size before purchasing that one.

You could also reduce the whole P trap to 1-1/4 back to the swivel, I believe there are mating kits available for 1-1/4 drains to 1-1/2 drains that will mate there instead.

  • Why would the drain only leak when carrying heavy water, and not when carrying light water?
    – Vikki
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 0:59
  • @Vikki because it will leak if the resting water level in the long vertical pipe is above the plastic-metal sleeve. That will happen anytime the water flow exceeds the exit capacity of the (possibly partially clogged) trap. Commented May 5, 2021 at 2:09
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica: Yes, but why would only heavy water do this, and not regular (light) water?
    – Vikki
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 19:02

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