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Trip lever drain - brass or PVC?

2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

I need to order a drain for a new acrylic (or fiberglass or polystyrene?) bathtub. The drain height is 14”. I need the trip lever to get the strainer for hair (human and dog).

Should I get a brass or PVC drain?

It does not freeze much here. The drain will connect to pipes in the crawl space, which is encapsulated with a dehumidifier and seems to have pretty constant humidity and temperature control.

The house is constructed with a Piers foundation. The bathtub will be on the first level above the crawl space, on top of 2 layers of plywood subfloor. I will probably mortar the tub to the subfloor. (Should I add hardiebacker under the tub?)

The house vibrates. I notice it when a big vehicle drives by on the road 100’ away. (We are in a farming community and big vehicles drive by several times a day - some go slow - some go faster and create vibrations.) I also have noticed vibrations while the air conditioner is running. The A/C vibration may not be near the bathtub, which is in the back of the house. The vibrations are not big enough to be concerning, but they are evidence that the floor moves a tiny bit.

I had a brass drain in my previous house, with a cast iron tub. It was fine except for mineral buildup when the trip lever went unused. I can avoid a stuck trip lever if I just flip it once a week. I don’t recall hearing any leaks while soaking in the tub.

I have not yet found a PVC drain with the right height. Should I go with brass to get the 14” height?

Biggest concern is that the existing drain in this bathroom leaked water into the crawl space. That is a problem now that the crawl space is encapsulated with a vapor barrier. (The crawl space floor is no longer dirt - it is a thick plastic sheet that needs to stay dry on the top surface.) The existing drain has been disconnected from the existing plastic (or fiberglass?) tub in anticipation of the reno. A couple of people told me it probably just needed to be tightened. I don’t know if they saw the drain. I’m guessing the current drain is PVC. This concerns me because I don’t know why it became loose. Was it due to the vibrations or tub use or both?

Which type of drain will better retain the connection (not create a leak) through vibrations and tub use?

There is access to drain behind the drain wall (water heater closet) and underneath in the crawl space. I will keep an access panel available in the water heater closet post-reno.

I’m leaning toward brass. This is the one I had in mind. The vertical measurement needs to be 14” from drain to overflow (strainer to trip lever). Will it fit? The delta faucet popup drains that fit the tub are rp293 and rp393.

Please advise. Thanks!

UPDATE: I cannot find the measurement info I need, so I am going to take a chance and order this drain. I can return it if it doesn’t fit.

I found another forum where a plumber said he does not use brass unless it is a trip lever drain. That tells me that I should get brass. The strainer is a big deal and even though you can get strainers for plug drains, I don’t want to deal with hair wrapping around the plug, or an add-on strainer, especially one that protrudes above the tub. When I wash the dogs, I need to plug and unplug the tub and catch all the hair in one process.

I would still appreciate any advice anyone has to offer. My fear is that this drain may be too wide (the horizontal extension).

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