Does the plumbers putty applied around shower drain need to dry up? I applied some and it does not dry up, and surplus putty keeps getting out from under the drain (at the top side of the shower base, around the drain) as the pressure applied by tightening the drain is pushing it out. I did not have a shower drain wrench enter image description here

and I used a small mallet and a piece of wood to tighten the exterior setting ring (not sure if that was a good idea) For a day or so I was able to tighten it up more and leave it for a while and then come back and do it again since as more putty was getting out there was more room to tighten the ring. Now it got to the point that it does not do it but I am suspecting that if I use one of the below more will come out

  • You'll know when the plumber's putty has dried up because you're likely to have a leaky drain.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 17, 2021 at 14:54
  • If you tightened it with a pipe wrench and a basin wrench, and it's still not flush, you used too much. Do it again, with more than a 1/4" bead and less than a 1/2". Immediately return any clean excess to the can, discard any that's fouled with debris or allowed to dry.
    – Mazura
    Aug 17, 2021 at 23:56

2 Answers 2


It does not need to dry up, and you need to use a suitable tool to tighten it fully. The excess putty creates some play in the fit between the drain and the shower, so your mallet method cannot work. The putty is absorbing the force of the blows. You need to use a proper wrench to turn it until putty stops oozing out and there is no perceptible gap under the drain flange. Then use a fingernail or dull knife to remove any putty you can from the hairline gap. (Don't scratch the shower.). If your nail can go in the gap it's not tight enough.

This is also a good way to know if you applied enough putty all around. At least a small amount should ooze out in a complete circle. If it's only a partial circle, open it up and add more. You can't do this if you're removing the putty in installments over several days.

  • Well Oatley said add 1/2" of putty. I have been tightening this for two days during which I went more than two full circles. The fingernail measurement indicates I am not there yet. I guess I need to procure the wrench and try a full circle with that.If I cant go full circle does it mean I need to re start from scratch?
    – MiniMe
    Aug 17, 2021 at 0:30
  • 2
    What I mean about a "full circle" is that putty should creep out of the gap from all around, 100% of the way, forming a complete circle of putty. If you don't see that it means there was not enough putty where it didn't come out. A half inch bead ought to do it. I do not mean that you turn the nut a full circle. You keep turning the nut until it's as tight as I described, as many turns as it takes.
    – jay613
    Aug 17, 2021 at 0:39

The entire point of plumbers putty is that it does not harden or dry.

You can keep beating on your drain connection until you break something, or stop - your choice.

  • :-)) So what is a reasonable measurement for the right tightening or the right amount of putty that should be there ?
    – MiniMe
    Aug 16, 2021 at 20:38
  • 1
    Some drain connection manufactures will provide guidance on the amount of putty, e.g. a 1/4" diameter cord completely encircling the drain. As far as the right amount to tighten, usually for a drain, it will become flush with the surface.
    – Degan
    Aug 16, 2021 at 21:37
  • My mfg is Oatley and there is a vid on youtube saying 1/2" aThat was a a lot
    – MiniMe
    Aug 17, 2021 at 0:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.