How to Install a Sink Stopper

The first time my pop-up sink stopper broke, and I could hear pieces rattling around in the pipe, I had stomach-churning visions of gigantic plumbing bills just to replace a few pieces of plastic and metal.

No more money down the drain! It's easy to install a sink stopper as a do-it-yourself project.No more money down the drain! It's easy to install a sink stopper as a do-it-yourself project.
To try and save money on plumbing charges, I decided to see whether this was a potential "do-it-yourself" project, or if I really needed to call in a professional. It turns out, it's very simple to install a sink stopper yourself.

Remove the existing stopper if necessary. (This will really help you to understand how the pop-up stopper works, and make installation easier.) Look under the sink, above the s-bend, and find the nut that attaches the stopper mechanism to the pipe. Remove the nut and pull out the rod that goes into the back of the pipe. Look at the top of the assembly that the rod is attached to. You should see a screw attaching the flat piece of metal (called a clevis) to the handle rod. Remove this screw and set aside the assembly you have just removed from underneath the sink. Now remove the stopper itself as well as the handle, lever or pull that raises and lowers the stopper by simply pulling them straight up from the sink.

Install the top portion of the new sink stopper. Drop the new handle, lever or pull that raises and lowers the stopper into the appropriate hole. Drop the stopper into the drain.

Install the lower assembly of the new sink stopper.Temporarily attach the flat metal piece with the holes in it (the clevis) with a screw to the bottom part of the handle that is hanging down below the sink. Place the other rod into the hole in the back of the pipe, just a little above the s-bend. The rod should pass through the bottom loop of the stopper, but you won't be able to see it. Don't connect the rod to the clevis just yet. Slide the retaining nut over the rod and loosely turn it into place.From above the sink gently lift the stopper up as high as the rod will allow it to go. You may need an assistant for this portion. Have the assistant gently lift the stopper . With the stopper pulled up, look at the position of the rod and note which hole it is nearest to on the clevis, and mark the hole. Unscrew the clevis from the handle. Slide one hole of the clip on to the rod, put the rod through the hole you marked on the clevis and squeeze the other hole of the clip over the rod. Re-attach the clevis to the handle's rod with the screw. Be careful not to over-tighten the screw. Hand tighten the retaining nut that you placed over the rod and against the pipe.

Make any necessary adjustments.Pull the handle up to close the stopper and run some water into the sink. If the sink hold water, you are done! If not, go back under the sink and adjust the retaining nut and screw to allow either more or less movement, whichever is needed to obtain a good seal.

Things You Will Need

  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Marker
  • Replacement stopper assembly


  • There's no need to shut off the water to install a sink stopper.


  • Don't over-tighten the retaining nut or screw. It's better to start out with them too loose than too tight.