Indoor plumbing is a great convenience that we, as a general population, take for granted. It isn’t until we have some sort of problem that we realize how nice it is to have plumbing. Although it may seem to some people that plumbing is an easy trade, it can be quite complex if you aren’t familiar with the different parts and pieces. Many parts that are associated with plumbing can be used in many different applications and for different situations. Some parts, however, were designed for specific purposes and can’t be used interchangeably for some projects. One of these parts is the P trap.
Although the P trap is used for different applications, such as underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks, and the drains underneath bathtubs and showers, it is important to get the right type of trap in order to get the job done right. Although it is easy to get a plumber to get the job done, there may be times when you won’t be able to afford the labor cost or you might just have some time to do it yourself (or you are like me and prefer to learn what needs to be done and do it yourself). There are different factors to consider when installing these different types of P traps for different applications.
Pipe Material/Size. When working with tub and/or shower drains it is important to match the correct material of pipe. Although there are some glues out on the market that allow you to use different types of pipe, this glue will cost more than matching the previously installed pipe. The best way to determine what pipe you have is the obvious way, to look at it! In most homes, plastic pipe is used and there are only two types of plastic pipe that should be used in drain applications. One of these pipes is called ABS pipe. The color is black so it is easier to distinguish from the other type of pipe, which is PVC drain pipe. PVC pipe is white in color but looks very similar to ABS pipe. The difference is the material each pipe is made from and the colors will help you discern what type you need. Once you know what type of pipe you have, you will need to know what size the pipe is that you are replacing. Most pipe and fittings will have the size written on them somewhere, but if not, you may have to cut out a section of the pipe to measure it. Once you know what type of pipe and the size of that pipe, you can get the parts and glue you need.
Type of P Trap. The type of P trap that you use on your tub or shower drain will not be the same that is used underneath your bathroom or kitchen sink. For these applications, you will need what is called a tubular P trap. The size of tubular p traps are smaller than those that are designed for the draining of the tubs/showers. Making sure you have the right type of trap will help avoid stress and trips to the supply house.
For help with installing a p trap, click on the image.