QuestionsCategory: QuestionsSink drain is slightly misaligned relative to trap
Handyman Staff asked 1 month ago

The drain under the bottom of my sink, and the upwards section of the trap that is supposed to meet it, are misaligned—but by much less than other examples I can find online, including here. Looks to be about a quarter-inch off from a perfect fit. I’m hoping that this means there’s an easier way to fix it than getting new pipe and rerouting.

The “solution” apparently used by the contractors the previous owner hired was to jam a small section of pipe—a T for connecting the dishwasher drainage—in at an angle. This works poorly and produces a slow leak—that occasionally becomes a fast leak if the T section slips out of position, which happens every now and then.

Here’s what that looks like at the best of times:

sink drain into a T that is angled to try to meet misaligned trap

The T section there barely covers the gap—the overlap between the T section and the pipes above and below is about a sixteenth of an inch.

Here’s what it looks like if I disconnect the T section from the sink drain, and let it come straight out of the trap:

same sink drain with T straight out of trap, offset from sink drain

There is a little bit of wiggle in the pipe with the trap, so it can get a little closer than this, but not much; certainly not enough to close the gap at a straight shot. And anyway it won’t stay like that; it’ll just sag back down and the T section will slide out of place and dump water on the floor.

Notably, neither of these two connections are threaded. The T section and the trap each have a collar you can tighten (and tightening either too much cause the pipe it’s supposed to be clamping onto to instead pop out).

So the question is, what is the easiest way to solve this myself? Is there any way I can solve this myself? A “solution” being one that keeps water inside the pipe. Currently I can keep most of the water inside the pipe, but inevitably a little leaks out.

Various ideas I’ve had, that I don’t know enough to judge the merits of:

  • I know PTFE tape is mostly for threads, so I don’t think it’s appropriate at these joins, but is there something I can put in there?

  • Or wrap around it? I don’t love the sound of that since I’d worry water would collect in there but open to being corrected on that concern.

  • Or—much better—is there exist anything I could buy to actually have a proper seal at this kind of angle?

  • I note that there are threads on the pipe coming out of the sink itself—is any of that adjustable?

  • Or any way to move the trap that little bit closer to the wall? I suppose ultimately I could replace that pipe with a slightly shorter one, though I’m not sure I’d even know how to pick out the right one.

I’m fairly handy, but know little about plumbing. I don’t even know what here is something I might be able to successfully fix, and what should be left to professionals. I also live in a small apartment with limited workspace, and somewhat limited tools—pliers, wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, levels, measuring tape, that sort of stuff, plus a power drill and a Dremel.

Finally, this is what the rest of the piping looks like, in case there’s anything relevant back there:

another angle under the sink, showing the rest of the pipe the trap connects to

As requested, more images of the black pipe in the back. Also visible are the drain hoses from the dishwasher. The black pipe comes out of the wall to the left of the sink, and elbows down to the vertical segment seen previously, and then elbows into the wall behind the sink.

further back under the sink, showing the bottom of the vertical pipe elbowing into the wall

upward-looking shot under the sink, how the “vertical” pipe comes horizontally out of the wall to the left before elbowing down to be vertical

The left of this photo is another wall, so this pipe is coming out of the wall there above the wood seen in the upper-left of the photo.