Fixing Leaky Sink Strainers

1-2 hours

If you have a leak under your kitchen sink, the sink strainer may be the cause

Fixing Leaky Sink Strainers

Fixing under-the-sink leaks is a project most homeowners can take on. These leaks are typically caused by a bad seal between the sink and the sink strainer. This guide will teach you the best way to fix the problem.


Disconnect the Slip Nuts
Disconnect Slip Nuts - Fixing Leaky Sink Strainers

Tip: The sink strainer assembly has quite a few nuts, washers and gaskets. Keep the parts in order as you remove them, and keeping notes or take a picture to help with putting everything back together. You may also need an extra pair of hands to hold the strainer in place with needle-nose pliers when you reattach the locknut.

Loosen the slip nuts from both ends of the tailpiece with water-pump pliers. Next, remove the tailpiece.

Remove the Locking Nut
Remove Locking Nut - Fixing Leaky Sink Strainers

Use a basket strainer wrench to remove the big drain locking ring under the strainer. If it won’t budge, loosen it by placing a screwdriver on the lugs and tapping the screwdriver with a hammer. Next, unscrew the locknut and remove the strainer assembly.

Scrape off Old Putty
Scrape off  Old Putty - Fixing Leaky Sink Strainers

Use a plastic putty knife to scrape off the old putty on the drain opening. If you’re reusing the old strainer body, clean off the old putty under the rim of the strainer.

Apply Putty to the Drain Flange
Apply Putty Drain Flange - Fixing Leaky Sink Strainers

Apply a bead of putty to the underside of the drain flange then insert the drain into the sink.

Reassemble the Strainer
Reassemble the Strainer - Fixing Leaky Sink Strainers

From beneath the sink, place a rubber gasket and metal or fiber friction ring over the strainer. Secure the gasket and friction ring by screwing on the drain locking ring. Next, make sure the drain compression seal is seated properly in the drain locknut, then reinstall and tighten the drain locknut. Lastly, turn on the water and test for leaks.