How To Remove Bathroom Sink Drain Flange: Quick 6-Step Guide


The drain flange is the small ring which sits around the opening of your bathroom sink drain. It serves as the seal that connects your plumbing through the drain in your sink.

The flange is typically made of metal but sometimes it’s plastic brushed to look like metal. Over time, flanges can erode, chip, or rust beyond practical use. Sometimes, though, you just want to update your bathroom fixtures.

In either case, knowing how to remove your drain flange is a handy piece of home-improvement knowledge.

The best way to remove the drain flange from your bathroom sink is to:

  • Clean your sink and remove any clutter
  • Shut off your water supply
  • Remove the drain stopper
  • Take out the p-trap under your sink
  • Remove the plumbing hardware
  • Pull the flange away from your sink and replace

When Should You Remove Your Drain Flange?

The good news is that once a sink drain flange is installed, it can last for several years. However, if you notice a leak under your sink, the flange is a good place to check for damage first. If you see a lot of rust or chipping, it’s time to replace it.

Typically, though, the issue isn’t with the flange itself, which is often made of metal, but the sealant. Most drain flanges are sealed with plumber’s putty. It’s great for making watertight seals, but it will dry and crack over time and need replacing.

Flange can also be made of plastic that’s been brushed with a metallic finish. These aren’t as durable as metal flanges, and although they don’t rust, the plastic can still deteriorate. It’s also easier to crack than metal.

If you’re replacing the faucet fixtures on your sink, it’s a good idea to replace your flange at the same time, even if it’s in good working order. In fact, many faucet fixtures come with matching flanges, so you can keep your bathroom style cohesive.

Step By Step Guide To Remove Your Sink Drain Flange

Removing and replacing the drain flange in your sink is not as difficult as it might seem at first. You do have to work with pipes, but if you follow our guide, you won’t have anything to worry about. Your sink drain flange will be removed, replaced, and ready to use in no time.

Use this video along with the guide below for a complete visual understanding of the process:

Tools You’ll Need:

  • A pair of channel lock pliers
  • Clean, wet cloth
  • Dry cloth
  • Bucket
  • Flathead screwdriver

1. Clear Your Workspace

As always, clear your workspace before you begin the job. First, remove everything from around and under the sink. Then, wipe down your pipes, inner sink, and the drain with a clean, wet cloth.

Dry everything with another clean cloth. Now your workspace is free from any gunk or dirt that could get in the way of your tools.

Place an empty buck underneath the pipes of your sink before you move on. You don’t want to forget to have it there before you start working on your pipes.

2. Shut Off Your Water Supply and Drain The Pipes

Typically, your bathroom will have an individual water supply valve in the cabinet beneath the sink. Turn it clockwise to shut off the water just to that area; the rest of the water in your house will not be affected.

You’ll need to turn off the main water supply if there is no nearby valve. The main supply should be located either in your utility room or closet or outside near your water meter.

If you’re unsure of how to access the water supply, contact your water utility company for assistance.

Drain the water still left in your pipes by running all taps in your home until no more water comes out.

3. Determine Your Type of Drain Stopper And Remove

Some drain stoppers you can easily twist and pull out, but others are more complicated. If you have to pull and push a metal rod to open and close your drain, check underneath your sink. You’ll see a little lever that connects the stopper to the faucet.

Ensure the stopper rod over the sink is in the “up” position. Then, squeeze the clip that connects the rod to the actual stopper. Unscrew the nut on the back of the drainpipe and remove the plunger rod.

4. Remove the P-Trap

Be sure your empty bucket is in place before moving on. A p-trap is a type of sink trap that connects your sink to the main septic plumbing.

Using your channel lock pliers, unscrew the p-trap from the rest of the plumbing. Your bucket will catch any water left in the pipes. You can technically use a regular pair of pliers for this job, but channel lock pliers make it much easier.

If removing your flange is part of a bathroom remodel, take the time to check your p-trap placement. Ensure that the p-trap is installed above the main drain line so you don’t have any drainage issues.

5. Remove the Remaining Nuts and Washers

You’ll be left with a straight piece of pipe coming down from the bottom of your sink basin. Use your pliers to unscrew the nut and washer at the top of the pipe where it meets the basin.

Use your flathead screwdriver to break the seal of the rubber gasket and push up on the drain assembly. This should loosen your sink drain flange.

6. Remove the Drain Flange

Reach into the sink basin from the top and grab the drain flange. You may need to jimmy the flange assembly with your pliers to loosen it before it will come off. Pull up on the drain flange with one hand and gently pull down on the drain assembly with the other. 

You have now successfully removed your bathroom sink drain flange and are ready to continue with your sink maintenance!

How To Install A New Drain Flange

Installing a new drain flange isn’t any harder than removing the old one. First you’ll need to clean off any old putty or caulk, and then add the new flange. After that, it’s the same process as above, just in reverse. 

Remove The Old Sealant

To clean any old sealant, use a putty knife to scrape away the old residue. If it’s particularly stubborn, you can use mineral spirits (for putty) or rubbing alcohol and warm water (for silicone caulk).

Apply Plumber’s Putty

Once you’ve removed the old sealant, apply a new ring of plumber’s putty around the open drain of your sink.

Plumber’s putty is a clay-like material that you can easily mold with your hands. Roll a small piece between your hands until it forms a tube like a snake. Squeeze the ends together to form a ring and place it around the drain hole.

Press your new sink drain flange into the ring of putty until it’s flush with the surface of your sink. You will almost certainly have excess putty squeeze out from the sides; simply pull it away from the edge of the flange.

Use a clean rag to wipe away any remaining putty, and your installation is complete. You can use your sink right away, as plumber’s putty has no curing time.

In Conclusion

Dealing with any kind of plumbing can be intimidating at first, but don’t worry. Replacing your sink drain flange is one of the simplest fixture updates you can make to your bathroom.

Just clean off your sink, turn off your water, then remove the stopper and the tailpiece. Then you’ll have access to the drain assembly where you can quickly pop off the flange. After that, you can continue with your renovations like a pro.

Katherine Ann

Katherine is a freelance writer who enjoys DIY home décor and refurbishing tired furniture. In addition to writing for PlumbJoe, she blogs about books and movies and writes creatively in her spare time.

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