I've got a laundry room on the second floor, and when it was remodeled the contractor put in a drain pipe, but no drain pan. At the moment, I have the washing machine hooked up, but it's away from the wall and the drain pipe.

I picked up a drain pan only to find that its shape and features weren't conducive to a good installation, so I ended up getting this one from Driptite. I feel a lot better with this pan because it'll lay flat regardless of where I drill the hole for the drain pipe.

Now here's my issue -- I just don't know how to install it properly. The drain pipe isn't centered with the hole in the floor, it's angled, and I don't know how to patch the area around the pipe. This is what it looks like:

enter image description here

I can drill a hole in the pan in the right spot, but then how should I really make a good seal with the pan? The pan came with a PVC fitting that is not the right size for the pipe, and I'm actually not sure how it's expected to go together. This is what I was given with the pan:

enter image description here

I assume that it's supposed to go in upside down from the way it is in the picture, otherwise the water level in the pan would have to be ridiculously high before it drained. So let's just pretent that the fitting actually fit the drain pipe (it doesn't right now) and I flip it over. It would still sit way too high because the fitting wont go down into the floor since the pipe is off-center!

At this point, I was thinking that I would need to do the following to finish this project:

  • Fill in the hole in the floor with something. If so, what should I use? Maybe some kind of silicone sealant / caulking? Is there a particular kind I should use for the floor? Is this a bad idea?
  • Cut the hole in the drain pan at the right spot. Sadly, this is the only step that seems pretty straightforward. I would cut it to be as close as possible to the diameter of the fitting
  • Caulk around the interface between the pipe and the drain pan. The only thing here that scares me (a lot) is that when I put the washing machine in, it'll probably shift a little, and I would expect there to be a big risk of tearing the caulk and compromising the seal.

Perhaps there's another way to deal with this?

  • I could try to finesse (heat up) the pipe and bend it a little to be more straight, then find a fitting that will actually fit over the pipe snugly.
  • I would then have to cut the pipe little by little until the screw portion of the fitting is flush with the floor
  • Cut a hole in the drain pan the right diameter to fit over the threaded portion of the fitting
  • Slide over rubber washer
  • Screw on nut

After typing all of this out, I bet the second approach is the "right" way to do it, though the bit about heating / bending the PVC makes me a little uneasy.

Can anyone offer their suggestions and / or solutions?

UPDATE -- I picked up a better fitting and attached it to the pipe to see how much needs to be cut:

enter image description here

The bottom of the wrench flats is about 1.5" from the floor, so I imagine that's how much I will need to cut. If I do that, the bottom of the pan will have to bulge up a little where the fitting is, as I'll need to put a rubber gasket ring below the pan since the plastic nut can't screw down all of the way (the thread is tapered). This ends up being about 3/8"... has anyone had issues with their drain pans bulging a little? I guess my main concern is that this means the water will tend to flow away from the drain... but as long as I cut the fitting low enough and it's below the lip of the drain, I should be okay. Perhaps it would be a good idea to cut the wrench flats off and shorten the fitting so that it can be mounted even further below the level of the floor?

  • What material is your drain pipe? Does it already have threads on the end?
    – Jason
    Sep 17, 2013 at 16:27
  • Should be PVC from the looks of it, not ABS. No threads on the end, just the bare pipe.
    – Dave
    Sep 17, 2013 at 16:33

3 Answers 3


Go with your second approach of getting the right size fitting except don't bend the pipe, just deal with the angle. You pan lip should be higher than the ending (with fittings) top of the drain pipe so it can drain but that's all you need.

Why? PVC fumes are extremely toxic and you have a significantly better chance breaking the pipe than fixing the angle; then you'll have to tear up the floor to fix the pipe. A washer machine drain pan is used for worst case scenarios, not day-to-day use so as long as water can drain you'll be fine and a slight angle may actually decrease the minimum height of the drain anyways.

As for drilling the hole in the pan, mark it in place and drill it somewhere else with a sacrifice piece of wood/etc. underneath. You don't want to hold it up or anything because you'll need a decent amount of pressure to hold a bit in place and plastics like to fracture if not properly supported.

  • Great advice, thanks for proposing this alternative! I had not considered the toxicity of PVC, which is ironic since I always worry about it with ABS and the 3d printer. :)
    – Dave
    Sep 17, 2013 at 18:03
  • I got the new fitting, and while it fits now, it won't clear the tile (see the top of the picture in my original post). I could sand down one part of the fitting to make it fit, I think. It looks like I've got some challenges ahead, and have updated my original post.
    – Dave
    Sep 17, 2013 at 18:20
  • Do you know if there is a fitting that will press inside of the drain pipe? While this means the hole is smaller and water won't flow as easily, maybe the installation will be easier. It's hard to explain, but I envision the hole in the pan being the exact diameter of the drain pipe. The pipe will stick through far enough to accomodate the gasket ring. Then the to-be-determined fitting would be glued down over the ring, and inside of the pipe to form the seal.
    – Dave
    Sep 17, 2013 at 18:29
  • Not really, you can probably find something that happens to be the right size or find it online but it is generically a bad idea and off item so it won't be stocked locally.
    – Jason
    Sep 18, 2013 at 15:23

To do it right you need to cut the pipe down below the height of the tile. You can get a Dremel cut off wheel to cut it from the inside to the proper height.

NOTE: you can attach the bit to a drill if you dont have a Dremel.

It looks like the the pipe is too close to the tile so you will have to cut the tile too if you can not straighten out pipe. You would then glue on the fitting so the top of the threaded fitting should be about 3/4 to 1 inch above the tile. Now drill the hole in the pan. Set in place put on gasket and screw on nut. About 1/4" of thread should be showing above nut.

Another less professional approach would be to cut the hole in the pan and let the pipe stick up through. You may need to cut pipe down so it only stick up about 1/2" higher than pan. Then get the most expensive silicone caulk they have at your hardware store and go crazy with it. As log as the washing doesn't shake to violently it should hold. I install sunrooms and the only thing that keep the water out is silicone caulk. Can't be the cheap stuff though.

  • Can you suggest brand names / types or what specific properties of caulk to look for?
    – Dave
    Sep 17, 2013 at 20:45
  • Also, do you know offhand if Dremel sells a bit for the moto-tool that can remove bits of tile? If so, what is that bit called?
    – Dave
    Sep 17, 2013 at 20:46
  • We use Tremsil 600 it comes from the sunroom manufacture. I dont know exactly what makes it better i just know that I go on repairs that homeowners try to fix it themselves and use caulk from home depot or lowes and it peels right off with your hand. I think some of that has to do with homeowner not properly cleaning surface before caulking.
    – Justin K
    Sep 17, 2013 at 21:06
  • mototool has their own tile cutting bit. I would just use a screw driver or nail set and a hammer to chip away the quarter inch of tile needed. Doesnt need to look pretty its getting covered up.
    – Justin K
    Sep 17, 2013 at 21:09
  • 2
    ugliness shouldn't be a huge factor with a washing machine sitting on top of it . The next owners will think you were crazy but you'll either be dead or have their money so who cares.
    – Jason
    Sep 18, 2013 at 15:25

I used a 1 1/2" sink drain. Works awesome. Now the drain in the pan is flush with the pan. It will let all the water drain out.

  • Is the original question yours? If not, how was your situation the same and exactly how did you fix all of the issues asked about in the original question with fixing the angle and sealing the pipe, etc?
    – dslake
    Oct 3, 2016 at 19:35

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.