Are Tub Drains Reverse Thread?

Are you having trouble removing your bathtub drain? One question that may come up is whether or not tub drains are reverse thread.

The answer is not a simple yes or no, depending on your type of drain.

In general, most tub drains are not reverse thread. However, there are some exceptions. For example, some older drains or specialty drains may be reverse threads.

A tub drain of a bath tub

It's important to know what type of drain you have before attempting to remove it, as using the wrong technique can cause damage to the drain or plumbing system.

If you're unsure whether your tub drain is reverse thread, it's best to consult a professional plumber.

They can help identify the type of drain and guide the best way to remove it. It's always better to be safe than sorry about plumbing issues, as mistakes can be costly and time-consuming.

Understanding Tub Drains

When it comes to maintaining your bathtub, understanding the drain is crucial. Tub drains can be threaded or drop-in and come in various styles.

Identifying your tub drain type and style will help you choose the right tools and replacement parts.

Threaded vs. Drop-In

Threaded tub drains screw into the drain shoe, the pipe connecting to the drainage system.

On the other hand, drop-in tub drains sit on top of the drain shoe and are held in place by a crossbar.

Look at the drain to identify whether your tub drain is threaded or drop-in. If you see threads on the drain, it is threaded. If there are no threads and the drain sits on top of the tub, it is drop-in.

Types of Tub Drain Stoppers

Tub drain stoppers come in various styles, each with its mechanism for opening and closing the drain. Here are the most common types of tub drain stoppers:


These stoppers require you to lift and turn the plug to open and close the drain.


Push-and-pull stoppers work by pushing the pin down to close the drain and pulling it up to open it.


Pop-up stoppers have a knob on top that you push down to close the drain and push up to open it.


Toe-touch stoppers are activated by pressing down on the pin with your toe.


Flip-it stoppers have a lever that you flip up to close the drain and flip down to open it.

Trip lever

Trip lever stoppers are operated by a lever located on the tub's overflow plate.

Reverse Threads in Tub Drains

The term "reverse thread" often comes up when discussing tub drain removal. But what does it entail?

In most contexts, threading patterns dictate that you turn objects clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. However, a reverse thread defies this norm.

Specifically, you would tighten by turning counterclockwise and loosen by turning clockwise.

This unconventional design is employed in specific scenarios, especially when standard threads are prone to loosening due to vibrations or other external forces.

With a reverse thread, the force direction is reversed, reducing the likelihood of unintentional loosening.

If you're unfamiliar with this design, it can confuse you, especially when using tools.

Using the standard clockwise method, attempting to loosen a reverse-threaded tub drain might damage the drain or the surrounding plumbing.

So, how do you identify if your tub drain employs reverse threads? One standard method is to inspect the drain flange, the drain section visible atop the tub.

To compare, a coarse threading pattern often suggests a reverse thread, while finer threads typically indicate a standard design.

Additionally, turning the drain clockwise and counterclockwise can provide a clue. If it loosens when turned clockwise, it likely has a reverse thread.

Lastly, always refer to the manufacturer's instructions or conduct a quick online search to confirm the threading pattern of your tub drain.

This ensures you handle it appropriately and significantly when attempting removal or replacement, thus prolonging the life of your bathtub fixtures.

Are Tub Drains Reverse Thread?

Tub drains come in various threading patterns, and while many adopt the standard threading mechanism, some use the reverse threading system.

So, how can you determine which type your tub drain employs?

As mentioned, a simple method to ascertain if you have a reverse-threaded drain is to turn it counterclockwise.

You're dealing with a reverse thread if the drain begins to unscrew or loosen. Conversely, if there's resistance or it remains immovable, it's likely a standard threaded drain.

However, it's crucial to emphasize that tub drains are not universally standardized. They can vary in both size and thread type. Standard sizes, for example, include 1 1/2 inches and 1 7/8 inches.

Always measure the current drain's size and thread type when considering a replacement or conducting repairs. Equipping yourself with this knowledge ensures you acquire a fitting replacement.

Neglecting this step and opting for an incompatible size or thread type might not only be ineffective but could also inflict damage, cause leaks, or compromise the integrity of your bathtub.

Always strive for precision to maintain the efficiency and longevity of your bathroom fixtures.

Why Tub Drains Might be Reverse Threaded

Bathtub drains can either be standard threaded (clockwise to tighten) or reverse-threaded. For those unfamiliar, this variation can be perplexing. Here's a quick explanation:

  1. Prevention of accidental unscrewing: The water pressure during a bath can inadvertently loosen the drain. A reverse-threaded drain resists this natural force, ensuring it doesn't unintentionally come loose and cause a water leak.
  2. Ease of removal: A reverse-threaded drain can be more comfortable to unscrew and remove—the water pressure, which tends to tighten standard drains, aids in loosening reverse-threaded ones.

However, it's vital to recognize that not all drains are reverse-threaded. Always consult the manufacturer's guidelines before installation or removal.

Final Words

Understanding the threading of your bathtub drain, whether standard or reverse, is crucial for proper maintenance and repair.

The primary reasons for reverse-threaded drains are to prevent accidental unscrewing due to water pressure and to facilitate easier removal.

However, it's essential to remember that not all drains follow this design. When in doubt, always seek advice from a professional plumber to avoid potential mishaps!

Ever wondered if new tubs come with drains? Perhaps you're dealing with a stubborn, slow-draining tub? Don't miss these:

Do Bathtubs Come With Drains?

How Often Should You Clean A Jacuzzi Tub?

How To Fix A Slow Draining Bathtub [6 Different Methods]

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