It was a hot, hot week and the air conditioners were dropping like flies. I was able to fix all of them save for one with a bad leak, which is getting a sales appointment. As I sit here drinking a Malta Goya and contemplating the rest of the weekend; rest assured one fix is done that was a year in the making. I finally got the bathtub drain done and spent a total of $12 and some change on the project. The only thing I needed were a metal cutting reciprocating saw blade, a straight blade screwdriver, needle nose pliers, some plumber's putty, a drain kit and some patience. Drain cleaners did this one in and I waited until it was practically crumbing to replace it. In reality, this wasn't a real good idea, as a basket that's deteriorated can really hurt someone. Mine was almost big enough for my four year old to get his hand into. Because there were still pieces of the strainer support left on the basket, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that he could really come to grief. The result would be a trip to the emergency department and a ruined tub; a traumatic and expensive occurrence best left outside of reality. My fix is spending as little money as possible to get the job done and not break the tub or shoe in the process. You can buy special tools to spin out the basket, or a Dremel to cut it out, but both are expensive and in the case of the Dremel you will go through several cutting wheels getting this out. Be careful with this as you can break expensive and hard to deal with parts if you get in a hurry. Tubs can be upwards of several thousand dollars to install and can cause a lot of friction on the home front. Be good to your significant other and clean up your mess when you're finished.
If the basket isn't too rotted out from Drano you can use the pliers' jaws stuck through the basket to spin it out. However, it's likely that by the time it's replaced, the basket will be rotted out to the point this is impossible. Go ahead and try to loosen in and if the supports break, they break. If the rest of the basket isn't too bad, you can let it go and use a Flip it to hold off the inevitable. Again, if the basket's really bad, better go ahead with the next step. Find the weakest spot on the basket flange and pry this up from the tub with a screwdriver. If you have a porcelain tub, use some masking tape around the basket. This should leave you with the flange off and the rest of the basket stuck in the tub shoe. No reason to panic, but this is where your patience kicks in. Use the metal blade in a manual handle (do not use a power saw) to cut 2 or 3 vertical lines in the basket and use the screwdriver and pliers to carefully peel the pieces from the shoe without damaging same. The shoe should stay up next to the tub if supported properly, but don't count on it. If all goes well, follow the directions on the basket kit and screw it into the tub shoe with the pliers inside the basket. If you have a fiberglass or porcelain tub, use plumbers putty rolled into a snake under the basket flange to seal it. If your tub is plastic or marble, use a good silicone caulk or rubber gasket. Make sure the gasket between the shoe and tub is still useable. Tighten the basket snugly, but don't wreath on it or you'll break the shoe, basket or tub and this will ruin your weekend. Put the rest of the basket together, clean the tub and you're done. Maranatha!