Bathroom Sink Drain Pipe And P-Trap Don't Meet? (Fix It Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

When you are working on installing your bathroom sink’s plumbing, a lot of things can go wrong. Like, a lot, a lot. One of the most aggravating issues that many people have when they are trying to DIY a sink setup is having a sink drain pipe that doesn’t line up or meet the P-trap. Obviously, this renders the sink pretty useless until you can get this fixed. But, what exactly is the fix for this problem?

There are several ways that you might be able to get your drain pipe and P-trap to meet underneath your sink. The most common methods include readjusting the piping, adding other drain assembly parts, or adding a flexible extension pipe to both ends. Which one works for you will depend on your sink setup as well as the orientation issue.

This is the type of problem that makes it hard (okay, impossible) for homeowners to actually have a functioning sink. If you want your sink to be of any value to you, you’ll read up on what you can do to make this issue disappear.

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Why Isn’t My Drain Pipe And P-Trap Meeting Up?

Oh, if only there was a single answer for this. The truth is, there are a lot of reasons why this could happen. The most common reasons are as follows:

  • You chose the wrong plumbing equipment. If the P-trap and drain aren’t the right size, they won’t mesh. Many people just assume they know the measurements for a new sink setup because they have a similar setup in another bathroom. Reading up on the distance of the P-trap and everything else can help prevent this. You might also want to check out the parts of a sink, just to brush up on the basics.
  • You didn’t install the P-trap or drain pipe correctly. Twisting the wrong part or just not aligning it properly can make a mismatch, even if you have the right parts. This often happens if this is your first (or second) time connecting plumbing pipes together. Learning how to adjust your piping can lead to a quick fix.
  • Your drainage area is too far away from the P-trap. This sometimes happens when you just have a very odd plumbing setup, or when you have a sink that was installed too far away from a specific drain. We’ll get into a way to make sure that your plumbing setup can cover the distance.

Is This A Bad Thing?

I mean, it’s not good. You can’t really use a sink that doesn’t have a P-trap connected to anything, so having this issue will render your sink useless until it’s fixed. However, there is some good news here. This is usually a relatively easy, inexpensive fix that won’t take more than an hour to do.

In most cases, these kinds of mishaps occur as a result of trying to use old piping in a new setup that has different measurements from your last sink. So while it’s not the most enjoyable speedbump to hit on your journey towards a new sink setup, it’s far from the worst thing that can happen.

Is This Issue Preventable?

In most cases, it is. Careful planning, measuring all your equipment, and understanding what you need to do when you’re installing your sink all can help prevent this mishap. Parts are 80 percent of the problem in most cases. It’s easy to get the wrong size plumbing, especially if this is your first install. As most plumbers might say, it’s a rookie mistake.

Did you do a lot of measurements and got the right thing-a-ma-bobber? Well, it still happens. If you still find that your plumbing isn’t meeting up where it’s supposed to, you can usually follow the troubleshooting tips below to make things work out for you.

How To Troubleshoot A P-Trap And Drain Pipe That Don’t Meet

In order to get your connection corrected, you’re going to need to do some troubleshooting when it comes to your P-trap and drain setup. To do this, you’ll need to follow the instructions below…

  • Start by removing the P-trap and seeing if it can fit in both the drain area and the drain pipeIf the P-trap has one end that doesn’t match up to the stuff it’s connecting to, chances are that it’s a sizing issue. Go back to Home Depot and get equipment of the right size. (Note: If you’re doing the install by instructions online, double-check to see if you got the right sizes per instruction.)
  • If the pieces are good, reinstall them and try to adjust them horizontally and vertically. The cool thing about both P-traps and drain pipes is that you can adjust their location slightly. For example, most plumbing models will allow you to adjust the P-trap up and down by placing the drain higher. Twist and lock them into place to see if you can get it to work this way.
  • If you’re still having trouble, get a flexible drain pipe. There are several companies that sell flexible drain pipe kits specifically for this reason. You may need to measure the cap, the P-trap length, and the size of the drain to get the right model.
  • Use the flexible drain pipe kit’s instructions to fasten it from your drain pipe to your P-trap. Give it a quick tug and test out your plumbing to make sure it’s totally fastened.

Do You Need To Call A Plumber To Fix Your Sink?

In most cases, you don’t need to call a plumber to get your P-trap to meet your drain pipe. After all, if you’re already installing a sink on your own, it’s clear that you have some comfort with doing your own plumbing. If you’re already comfy doing your own plumbing, then you probably already are aware of how to connect piping from one end to another.

The only time that you need to call a plumber is if, for one reason or another, you cannot get a flexible drain pipe to solve the problem. Though it’s really rare, there are some moments where you may need to get additional fittings in order to get the sink to be fully connected. If you’re skeeved out by flexible plumbing, it also can be a good idea to get this done.

With that said, if you’re well-versed in DIY plumbing, you might not even need a plumber for that. As long as you know how to connect fittings the right way, you can still work on it yourself.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Sink’s Plumbing Installation Issue?

Let’s say that you’re not in the mood to try to fix this issue, even though it’s usually a quickie. It happens, and when it does, there will always be people who are willing to help you out for the right price. Installing a sink’s plumbing, at least when it comes to a fix as small as this, is going to run between $70 to $250.

The price will involve the parts (usually under $20) and labor, which begins at $50 for a consultation or an hour of labor. Most sink setups that are getting fixed from a P-trap and drain that don’t meet won’t need more than an hour of labor. It just so happens that most handymen and plumbers tend to require a minimum of one hour of labor to go to a worksite.

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Related Questions

What size P-trap is required for a typical bathroom sink?

While older (read: historic) homes may have a slightly different plumbing setup, most modern plumbing setups will require a P-trap that measures 1 1/4 inches. It’s important that you do not try to use a kitchen sink P-trap in your bathroom. P-traps for bathroom sinks are slightly smaller than kitchen P-traps, which means that this could lead to a mismatched plumbing setup.

Is a P-trap required for a bathroom sink?

Regardless of where your sink is located, chances are that it will need a P-trap. This includes the sinks that are found in your bathroom, your kitchen, your laundry room, and that random weird sink you have in your basement. This isn’t just a structural requirement, either. It’s a building code mandate.P-traps are what help trap the smell of sewer gasses in your home’s plumbing. Without a P-trap, the potentially toxic fumes from the drains and sewer setups will start to waft into your home. Along with it being a pretty foul odor, some of these gasses are linked to higher rates of sickness and negative reactions.

Can you have a sink drain go straight down?

In the vast majority of situations, the answer is a hard no. Or rather, it’s not something you want to do. This will cause sewer gasses to escape through the sink, causing a foul smell and potential health problems to people throughout the home. This is why it’s against building codes. The only way to get a code-friendly sink drain in this fashion is to install a vent that goes straight up.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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