I'm hoping someone can help me! I noticed the water was a bit slow draining from the bathroom sink, so thought I'd try my hand at fixing it myself as I'm working from home at the mo. Found suggestions to clean the trap. It was so gross. Soooooo much hair and slime. Anyhoo, cleaned that and tried to put the trap back, THEN realised there's a gap between the top of the trap and the sink. I was wondering why it was so difficult to remove and why some plaster stuff fell off...Pls take a look at the pic. The gap is between 15-20mm. How can I fix this pls? Is there a solution that allows me to clean the trap again in the future without any problems?

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Would really really appreciate any tips and advice please. Feel so stupid I didn't notice it from the beginning!!

sink basket?

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I think I've added several pics (struggling with this too now!) A couple is of the sink plug, above and below, one is of the parts after I've dismantled them and the other is to show the small gap between the bottom of the sink and pipe now....can I not just stick it back together with some industrial super-strength glue?!?!? The gap isn't that big - the shadow makes it look bigger. As I mentioned before, I'm not very hopeful. I've gone through so many emotions today trying to sort this sink out!

  • The last picture does seem to indicate that the mounting rod for the drain is broken. Be sure to clean all that white silicone off before installing a new one. The new drain will have gaskets that are expecting a nice, clean, flat surface to seal against. That silicone will prevent the gaskets from sealing properly, leading to leaks and, possibly, adding more silicone as a band-aid. Don't go down that route.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 9, 2022 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


I'll offer an alternative to jwh20's answer...

You need to check if your drain looks like that:

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This type of drain goes through the entire sink. It is inserted from the top, and the upper part is the "drain" you see when looking into the sink. The rest of the shaft pokes out under the sink, and the black plastic screw goes on that.

If that's the type of drain you got, then the photo indicates the shaft would be broken, which is unlikely. That's a nice type of drain.

Another type of drain is this one:

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The top portion goes in the sink from the top, and the bottom goes... on the bottom. The porcelain sink is sandwiched between the two, and they are held together by the screw in the center.

Now this screw often causes trouble because it tends to be flimsy, and sometimes it's threaded into plastic, and if it's not stainless it'll corrode. That's the usual construction on cheap drains.

So I'd recommend first to pull the drain out from the top of the sink. and look at what you got, check if there are broken pieces, etc.

The huge amount of silicone caulk in the pic makes me doubt how well it was installed...

If the drain you pull out has a broken screw dangling from it (or a hole for a screw but no screw) then you'll have to change the whole thing.

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First loosen 1, then rotate the whole drain 90°, loosen 2 and pull it out, then you can loosen 3 and recover the metal part of the drain.

Note that normally you clean the drain by putting a bucket under it and loosening #4 and that's it.


OK looks like t's broken.

You should find a replacement in any bix box home improvement store.

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Make sure it has a hole matching the one in the pic, that's where the sink overflow goes.

You should measure the diameter of the threaded shaft (get the same) and the thickness of the sink:

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...and/or the length of the shaft, so you don't get one that's too short. "Same length as the previous one before it broke" would be a safe bet.

You can also get the cheapie ones that hold with a screw, but then you still need to measure the thickness of the sink to get one with a long enough screw!

Also make sure you know what controls the plug, it doesn't look like you have one of these little levers on the faucet, that pushes the plug with a system of rods, like that:

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...so don't buy one of these, otherwise you'll have nowhere to connect all this stuff.


** Quick'n' dirty repair **

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Insert blunt kitchen knife as shown by arrow, wiggle it, and pop the drain out of the sink. Don't use anything with sharp edges, like a screwdriver, cause the sink is porcelain.

When it pops out, and you have the two pieces of the broken drain in hand, you'll know what it looks like better than I can descrige so you can get a new one.

Then take all the pieces to a big box improvement store: top part of drain, bottom part of drain, and the trap because you might need to know the diameter of the pipe and it's better to have it on hand.

And then just ask the people there to pick the replacement, and make sure it fits together...

It'll look like this. Pick plastic or metal according to cost.

You may also need to change the trap if the diameter of the new drain doesn't fit the old one. It's not expensive.

Then you need to clean all the junk, especially the silicone goop (just scrape it off with any tool that'll do the job) and screw the new one in place.

  • I wish I knew I just needed to remove #4 beforehand. I should have done more research facepalm
    – H Chan
    Mar 9, 2022 at 14:43
  • The additional pictures recently added to the question by @HChan point strongly to this drain assembly being the second type listed in this answer and the last picture shows that the threaded rod does seem to be broken. It looks like replacement of the drain would be the proper course of action. It's likely that the silicone was added by a previous person to avoid making the proper repair. Be sure to scrape all the silicone off the sink to ensure that the new drain parts have flat surfaces to seal against. There's no need for it with a properly installed drain.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 9, 2022 at 15:26
  • Ah well, life's an adventure! Yeah, looks like the part that goes through the sink is broken., and as you say, "fixed" with goop. That's gonna need some scraping...
    – bobflux
    Mar 9, 2022 at 15:29
  • So I can't "fix" it temporarily with goop myself?! Really appreciate everyone's help but most of your last answers have completely gone over my head! Maybe I need to give up and find someone to fix it for me...
    – H Chan
    Mar 9, 2022 at 16:18
  • 1
    Meeeehhh, if you put more goop on it, it'll stick for a while then break in a week or two. I have tenants, I've seen this stuff before lol. I've put more info in the answer, you'll manage.
    – bobflux
    Mar 9, 2022 at 17:45

Loosen this ring:

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and then slide the portion of the drain above it up until it touches the bottom of the drain.

In the sink (which you are not showing) there is usually a "sink basket" that looks like this:

Sink Basket

It appears you have a part of this attached to the top of your pipe stack. The basket is installed from the top of the sink and the nut that is at the top of your photo screws onto it. Note that you use plumbers putty to seal the sink to the basket flange.

I think the rest of what you have in the photo is still OK once you remove the remains of the broken sink basket from it.

BTW the part that attaches to the bottom of the sink basket is called a "tailpiece".

  • Oh my, I feel so stupid now!! I think I panicked and thought I completely broke it....Thank you soooo much!! Umm, and do I need to buy plumbers putty to stick the top bit back together?
    – H Chan
    Mar 9, 2022 at 10:44
  • Are you sure that's all it would take, jdv? It looks to me like there's no flange inside the sink, but instead the flange has been screwed into the waste plumbing on the outside? If simply raising that metal part to contact the bottom of the drain flange, what's to keep water from leaking over the top of it?
    – FreeMan
    Mar 9, 2022 at 12:39
  • The question was how to get the drain to contact the bottom of the sink. But yes, there appear, from the photo at least, to be other problems here.
    – jwh20
    Mar 9, 2022 at 13:20
  • Yh, sorry, I don't know the names of the parts. My problem now is that even though there is some sort of contact between the drain and the bottom of the sink, there is a slight gap and the water does leak over the top! Is there a way of fixing this? I thought I had to stick them together or something.....so did I break it after all?
    – H Chan
    Mar 9, 2022 at 13:41
  • 1
    Look at the picture of a sink basket I posted. Compare it to yours. It appears to me that yours is broken but it's hard to tell for sure based on your limited photo.
    – jwh20
    Mar 9, 2022 at 14:20

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