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Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith, Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 3586
Experience:  City and Guilds qualified plumber
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Hi I have an old leaky basket trap to remove from my sink

Customer Question

Hi
I have an old leaky basket trap to remove from my sink and it is stuck FAST with plumber's putty. I don't want to damage my beloved sink but the basket needs replacing. How can I soften the putty to remove the drain - brute force has failed and mangled the basket trap and a pair of pliers.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Andrew Smith replied 2 years ago.

Andrew Smith :

If the waste is metal, then you can slice the nut off with a hacksaw and take it off in pieces in you need to

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

Hi

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

There is no nut left on. Everything that could hold it in place physically has been removed except for the putty which isn't even visible and is a very thin layer but a fiendishly tough adhesive. I was hoping there was something that we could soak the joint in that would penetrate and 'eat' the putty away.

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

The hot water and the vinegar were used separately but neither had any effect.

Andrew Smith :

Are you trying to get the trap off, or the waste out?

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

Hi Andrew

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

Trying to get the basket trap base detached from the sink in order to replace it with a new one. Is that what you call the drain. It's the bit with four holes around it which would normally be a plug hole, but the basket sat in there with a prong clicking it into place when the water needed to be kept in the sink. The old one corroded below the drain hole, where it attached to the drain pipe below the sink. From above the sink it looked ok but below it was rusted through and leaky. Now the pliers have mangled the cage bit and the basket can't fit in because of that. I need to remove the drain bit and it just seems almost seemlessly welded into place. It just seems like metal to metal but there must be something between gluing it together firmly.

Andrew Smith :

Ok, the waste.

Andrew Smith :

It may be stuck in with putty - this sets hard over time.

Andrew Smith :

Try putting 2 screwdrivers through the slots of the waste and twisting them, this will twist the waste and usually cracks the hold

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

It has had a long time to set. About 25 years. Is that likely to make it unsaveable?

Andrew Smith :

It would not be the first time I had to use a hammer and sharp screwdriver to get one out

Andrew Smith :

If it is a stainless steel inset sink it will probably be strong enough to take it

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

It is a stainless steel inset sink (currently not inset anymore) and I think it may be our only option but I didn't want to tackle it that way if there was a less aggressive option as I don't want to right the whole unit off by damaging the sink. It's a great sink with deep bowls and I have looked long and hard for a replacement without finding one - I currently have a second hand one balanced over a base unit and I am well and truly ready to get back to my proper sink if it is at all possible! If I turn it upside down, support the sink around the hole and then give the protruding waste threads a sharp tap with a mallet, could that do it? Or do I have to work a screwdriver between the waste and the cup it sits in below the hole in the sink?

Andrew Smith :

The problem is old style plumbing, boss white and putty was made to last forever.

Andrew Smith :

You could try white spirits as that is good for cleaning putty of before it sets

Andrew Smith :

You could turn it over a give it a knock with a mallet and support the waste hole with a roll of sellotape or similar

Andrew Smith :

Try giving a twist to weaken the joint first

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

Do you think it may have been put in using this 'boss white'? I will try that, thanks. We suspended the sink above a bowl of vinegar last time so we will try that with white spirits and see what happens. Then try the mallet. We bust the pliers with trying to twist it and it didn't budge a millimetre so will have to try the white spirits before repeating that. It really is rock solid.

Andrew Smith :

You may need a wrench or something stronger, try to loosen one way and then the other

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

Will try that Andrew. Thanks.

Andrew Smith :

No problem - good luck

JACUSTOMER-zarzjil0- :

I'll let you know if it works or not - believe it or not this is a 5 year problem and I would really love to sort it out.

Andrew Smith :

Ok, just come back if you need me again

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