How Do You Install A Pop-Up Bathroom Sink Drain Stopper?

In this blog post, you’ll read:This guide provides a comprehensive overview on how to install a pop-up bathroom sink stopper, a common fixture in modern bathrooms. It begins by detailing the necessary tools and materials, such as channel-type pliers, plumber's putty, and a pop-up drain assembly. The installation process involves several steps, starting with the removal of the P-trap and the old drain assembly, followed by the installation of the new pop-up drain stopper. Key steps include applying pipe joint compound and plumber's putty for a secure seal, attaching drain components, ensuring the assembly's tightness, and properly setting the drain stopper and pop-up lever. The guide emphasizes the importance of adjusting the pivot rod for smooth operation and concludes with reinstalling the P-Trap and testing the drain for leaks. This detailed guide aims to assist homeowners in successfully installing a pop-up sink stopper, enhancing the functionality and aesthetics of their bathroom sink.

Table of Contents

When installing a new faucet or sink in your bathroom, you will need to replace the pop-up sink drain.

You must install a new drain stopper when you install a new sink. Sometimes, you need to replace the stopper of a new faucet with the old one during installation. Obtain a replacement stopper assembly if a sink drain stopper assembly becomes defective and begins to spill.

Installing a drain stopper is simple. However, there are instances where slight variations in the fixture or fittings can cause some complications. You can restore the functionality of a new pop-up drain assembly in simple steps. Always turn off the water before starting any plumbing work. You position the shut-off valves (round or oval knobs denoting hot and cold, respectively) beneath the sink.

A type of stoppers, coatings, and construction materials are available for selection. Check your preferred aesthetic and functionality.

How To Install Pop-up Bathroom Sink Stopper

What You’ll Need

Required Tools

  • Channel-type pliers
  • Bucket


  • Plumber’s putty
  • Pipe joint compound
  • Pop-up drain assembly


Pop-up drains are the most prevalent type of drains. To open the drain, push the lift rod behind the faucet.

This lifts the stopper using the pivot rod under the sink. This action facilitates the passage of water through the drain. In contrast, pulling upwards on the lift rod causes the pivot rod to descend, securing the drain stopper.

If the drain seal is not secure, the pop-up drain assembly may need replacing. When renovating your bathroom or replacing your sink, you should consider replacing your drain assembly. You can set it up once you’ve chosen your desired pop-up drain assembly.

Step 1: Remove the P-Trap

Remove the p trap
Remove the p-trap

Placing a vessel beneath the drain will allow you to collect any excess water. Clockwise, rotate the shut-off valves beneath the sink to turn off the water supply to the faucet. You must remove the P-trap before disassembling the existing drain assembly.

Detaching the slip-joint nuts that link the P-trap to the home’s plumbing and sink drain could be accomplished manually. Use tongue-and-groove forceps if this is not the case.

With caution, eliminate the P-trap. Water will be present around the bend. After pouring the water into the bucket, empty the P-trap of any debris.

Step 2: Old Drain Assembly Removal

Old drain assembly removal
Old drain assembly removal

The lift rod must be disconnected from the pivot rod. Connecting the lift rod and pivot rod frequently requires an adjustment strap or clevis strap consisting of a planar piece with multiple holes. Detaching the lift rod and pivot rod will require the removal of the harness.

Detach the lift rod from the faucet’s apex. You must unscrew and extract the pivot rod from the drain assembly. At this point, you should effortlessly detach the sink stopper from the drain.

Connect the drain body to the metal ring around the sink’s drain opening by loosening the slip-joint nut. Remove the drain body’s screws from the flange.

Pull the flange out from above the sink or push it up from below. It may be putty-sealed, so you may need to adjust it laterally or use forceps to pry it upwards and rupture the seal.

Take precautions to prevent damage to the basin. After removing the flange, stop any remaining sealant and debris.

Step 3: Establish the New Pop Up Drain Stopper

Establish the new pop up drain stopper
Establish the new pop-up drain stopper
  • You should disassemble the new pop-up assembly components.
  • Remove the mounting fastener by unscrewing it from the drain tailpiece.
  • Push the rubber and plastic fasteners onto the mounting nut to complete the installation.

Step 4: Use Pipe Joint Compound

On the upper surface of the rubber gasket that will make contact with the sink, apply a thin layer of pipe joint compound. Applying joint compound at the joint will effectively seal the bottom of the sink drain opening. You do not need a pipe joint compound, but getting the rubber to seal without it may be challenging.

Step 5: Execute Plumber’s Putty

Execute plumber's putty
Execute plumber’s putty.

Substantially apply the plumber’s putty to the base of the sink drain ring flange. The seal will facilitate the seal between the top part of the drain assembly and the sink drain orifice.

You can use silicone caulk as an alternative to a plumber’s putty. Specific pop-up assemblies include a foam or rubber gasket to replace caulk or plumber’s putty.

Pro Tip: Roll the plumber’s putty into the shape of a long rope in your hand by scooping out a lump and rotating it. The putty will compress more effectively when warmed through kneading in the hands. Wrap the rope around the drain ring’s edge.

Step 6: Drain Components Attachment

Drain components attachment
Drain components attachment

Raise the pop-up drain tailpiece assembly as high as possible through the drain orifice beneath the sink. Insert the drain ring into the orifice above the sink while holding the drain piece in position. Thread the ring as far as possible by hand onto the drain tailpiece. Make sure to thread it properly to avoid cross-threading. Simply exerting hand pressure is enough to fasten it.

Step 7: Drain Assembly Tightness

Push the nut under the sink upwards to secure it in place, even though you cannot move the drain tailpiece. Ensure the pop-up pivot lever hole in the tailpiece faces directly backward toward the wall.

Tighten the mounting fastener while maintaining the position of the tailpiece using channel-type pliers. Secure the nut so the drain assembly cannot rotate within the drain orifice; avoid over-tightening it.

Tip: Put the extra plumber’s putty back in its container after cleaning it off the drain area. If you tend the putty, you can safely keep and use it.

Step 8: Set the Drain Stopper Into Position

Set the drain stopper into position
Set the drain stopper into position.
  • How is a pop-up drain stopper installed? Insert the pop-up stopper into the sink drain with the hole facing the side of the sink.
  • Insert the pivot rod through the aperture in the side of the tailpiece from beneath the sink. A plastic gasket is typically present on each side of the plastic ball. The tip of the pivot rod should be capable of going through the hole in the stopper linkage inside the drain assembly. Fasten the pivot rod nut to the tailpiece using the threaded coupling to secure the ball inside.
  • Inspect the stopper’s ability to readily rise and drop within the drain by testing the action of the pivot rod.
  • Verify that the pop-up is functioning by hand-tightening the nut.
  • If a pop-up malfunction occurs, adjust the stopper and pivot rod to ensure proper assembly of the parts.
  • Moving the pop-up assembly can be hard if the nut on the pivot rod is too tight. Loosen the nut slightly to make it easier to use.

Step 9: Pop-Up Lever Installation

Insert the vertical pop-up lever through the gap behind the outflow of the faucet. The stopper must be fully raised (opened) prior to linking the horizontal pivot rod to the vertical lever. Connect the attaching strap to the end of the vertical pop-up lever from beneath the sink.

To secure the connecting strap to the pivot rod, tighten the nut on the strap.

Step 10: Attach the Pivot Rod and Pop-Up

Connect the horizontal rod to the vertical strap by putting the spring clip on the rod. The strap is attached to one end of the clip on each side. Confirm that the pop-up stopper completely closes and opens within the drain orifice. Moreover, press and move the spring clip if you cannot adjust the rod connections.

Step 11: Reinstall the P-Trap and Test the Drain

Reinstall the p trap and test the drain
Reinstall the p trap and test the drain.

Attach the slip-joint bolts between the new drain and the house plumbing while replacing the P-trap. To reopen the water supply, rotate the shut-off valves counterclockwise.

Check all parts are working and do a final inspection. Fill the sink to examine the seal after closing the drain with the lift rod.

To discharge the sink and disrupt the barrier, lower the lift rod. Modify the pivot rod’s position to ensure the drain opens and seals correctly. If the slip-joint nuts are loose, inspect the connections beneath the sink for leaks and adjust them.

If you are uncomfortable disassembling plumbing, having a professional plumber perform this job is best. Furthermore, you may consider contacting an expert if your pipes are old. Older residences typically have structures that are more fragile and susceptible to corrosion—brittle pipelines often age, requiring costlier repairs than anticipated.

Install Bathroom Sink Stopper: FAQs

Spring Loaded Vs. Traditional Sink Stoppers

You raise and lower the stopper for traditional pop-up stoppers using a lift rod, pivot rod, and internal ball. These pivot components are absent from spring-loaded sink stoppers. These stoppers deserve attention due to their comparatively simple setup procedure.

Spring-loaded stoppers resemble the widely used sink drain stoppers found in bathtubs. Push down on the stopper in the sink to adjust it to open or close.

Springs help with this adjustment. Push down once to close the stopper, then push down again to open it with the internal spring. This type of sink stopper has the drawback of requiring the user to reach through stagnant water to unclog the stopper and discharge the sink.

Professionals often install a full bathroom sink and faucet set because it’s easier to access the parts that way. At the same time, the vanity top remains detached from the base cabinet. Do it if you have a chance to do so.

Can I Replace Just The Sink Stopper?

If only the closure is affected, you can obtain a substitute. Numerous do-it-yourselfers can complete this task without needing to hire professionals.

What Size Sink Stopper Do I Need?

1 1/2 inches is the standard size of a bathroom sink drain. As drains can vary in size, it is crucial to choose a sink damper that corresponds to the dimensions of your particular drain. While installing a popup sink stopper is relatively straightforward, you might have to make certain modifications to guarantee its proper functioning.

Should I Use A Plumber’s Putty On A Sink Drain?

Plumbers often use putty to seal sink fixtures before installing them. This barrier provides an impermeable seal and is not an adhesive. Over time, it does not become harder, chippier, or crumble. Wipe away any excess after fitting the two sections together and applying it thickly where they will meet.

Do I Need A New Pop-Up Drain Assembly?

You may also need to replace the pop-up sink drain when installing a new faucet or sink in your bathroom. A few straightforward procedures can effectively restore a new pop-up drain assembly to its full functionality.

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