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Can I safely remove this shower drain cover? I want to snake my drain, but this shower cover seems to be grouted in. I had to remove the grout from the screws to get it out.

I spayed with WD-40 and then tried to pry it out using one screw driver in one of the holes and laying another across the group and using that as a lever. It bent a little, but did not release.

Any ideas would be helpful. I don't want to create a larger job...enter image description here

Here is a close up (I put the screws back in as to not forget).: enter image description here

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    How about a photo that's not six feet away? :)
    – isherwood
    Sep 1, 2022 at 15:19
  • 1
    Take a dremel tool and cut the grout around it
    – Traveler
    Sep 1, 2022 at 18:02
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    @Nathan - I pried it up a little more and it finally came free... I got lucky. It's still usable. Good luck.
    – Dan B
    Nov 27, 2023 at 14:33
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    @DanB thanks for the reply! I was able to get mine up as well without damaging it as well. It helped to know that the "keep prying until it works" approach was the right one :)
    – Nathan
    Nov 27, 2023 at 18:39
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    Congrats @Nathan! A huge win any way you slice it!
    – Dan B
    Nov 28, 2023 at 7:52

2 Answers 2

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Whoever installed this did a terrible job. You're not supposed to put the cover before grouting. The cover should have been removed, grout applied, then the place for the cover carefully cleaned of grout so the cover fits.

In any case there shouldn't be grout where the arrow points. If the cover is put in before grouting, the grout that falls through the holes can't be removed. It's probably stuck in your drain now, which could explain the situation...

enter image description here

The grout that's stuck in these holes is probably holding the cover. You can stick something into the holes, like a flathead screwdriver, and turn it to grind the grout away. Also, since grout is brittle and metal is ductile, you can try to pry the metal off, using the screwdriver as acrowbar, or gently tap it with a hammer.

If you bend the cover, you can always get another one or hammer it flat on a workbench. If you use a screwdriver as a crowbar to pry it off, do not use the tiles as support, they will chip.

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Usually with a tiled floor the cover inserts into a flange that is set level with the tile. Usually in a plastic shower stall the drain cover fits like in your picture. So the drain probably was not installed properly to begin with. It's hard to say for sure what will happen if you rip the cover off.

On the other hand ... no drain should depend on the grout, or on the seal between the top of the drain and the tile, for water tightness. It's assumed that water will get between the tile and the drain, and there should be both waterproofing, and further drainage below the tile. So if that was installed properly and you damage the grout, it shouldn't matter. It comes back, again, to not knowing how it was installed.

If I owned this I'd pop it off, snake it, try my best to figure out if the whole thing is installed well, and then watch carefully in the ceiling below it for signs of water. For a couple of years I'd keep a close eye.

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  • It's on the first floor and there is no "below" which makes me leery of just yanking it and hoping for the best.. It seems like a less than standard install and there was grout in the screw slots, so it's embedded like a tick... Based on what I've seen in this house, I make no plumbing or electrical assumptions...
    – Dan B
    Sep 1, 2022 at 18:48
  • Sorry I don't have any experience on how to deal with imperfect shower pans/liners on a concrete slab floor. What if the shower pan or liner was done poorly (or not at all) and now the thinset and grout is directing all the water down the drain, but you damage that ... how will you know if/when there is a problem? I think that should be a new question. But if the shower isn't draining I don't see it changing the equation. I guess you could try a 2-gallon jug of mainline drain cleaner before you embark on anything destructive.
    – jay613
    Sep 1, 2022 at 19:44

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