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Standing Waste Sink Drains

Before the advent of the modern “pop-up” drain, sinks used a type of drain called a “Bi-transit”, or “Standing Waste” type drain. Sinks that use this type of drain typically have a large (1-7/8 to 2-1/2”) center hole.  This large hole can pose problems for those who wish to install a modern faucet on an older sink. This is a common problem facing restoration enthusiasts; we have added this page to our site to outline some of the available options.

Sink at left is typical of fixtures that used a standing waste drain. The large center hole would have been filled by the drain stopper, the outside holes most likely had separate hot and cold taps in them.

The photo at right is of a 100 year-old standing waste drain. Notice how the drain shoe goes straight back to the tee and how close the drain is to the back wall of the sink. (Note in the photo above how close the drain hole in the bottom of the sink is to the back of the sink.)
  This tight spacing can pose problems when trying to use a modern drain on an old sink.

Photo at left shows the same drain with its drain stopper removed. The hole near the top of the stopper tube is the overflow hole. When the stopper is lowered into place, water rises inside the large outer tube to the same level as in the sink. Should the water level reach the overflow hole, it runs down the center of the stopper tube and straight down the drain.
(Hence the name “Bi-Transit”, there are two water paths.)
    Note that the sealing surface at the bottom of the stopper tube is tapered; the inside of the tee is tapered to match, the water seal is metal-to-metal. (no rubber washer).

Photo at right shows a more advanced version of the standing waste drain: The stopper and a mixing spout are incorporated into one assembly. Photo below shows the underside of the same drain installed. Note the small cut-out in the back of the sink pedestal. Installing a modern pop-up or CO plug drain on this type of sink can be nearly impossible, a set-back drain or the original standing waste drain must be used.

Photo above in middle shows another common standing waste related problem with older sinks:  This sink used a spout/drain combination with extra mounting holes for the spout. If the original spout is gone, covering these holes can pose a problem.

Frequently Asked Questions about Standing Waste Sink Drains:

Question #1: “I have the old standing waste drain but it is broken/missing parts. Do you have parts or know where I can get them?”

Answer: Maybe and no.
            Okay, it’s not the answer you wanted but we’ve found it’s more polite and generally better received than laughing out loud. Let us explain:
    This type of drain hasn’t been made for over 75 years, there are no “off the rack” repair parts available, there is no parts list, there was no “standard” size. During the 65 years or so that these things were common, there were probably close to 50 different manufacturers. As a result, you need to send us your old parts so we can match them up with parts in our extensive inventory of salvaged parts. If we cannot find parts to fit, we can use your parts as patterns to machine new parts.  Click Here for Information on our Shop Services.

Question #2: “I have this old sink with a huge center hole. Do you have a faucet that will fit?”

Answer: Probably, if not we can make something work.

The faucet pictured at right has an oversized base. It measures 2 1/2” at the base using a supplied trim ring.  Click on the picture to be taken to the webpage to check pricing and finish options.

79-P140BN thumb

For sinks with multiple or really large center holes, we can machine a custom cover plate and drill it to accept most faucets. We can also equip the cover plate with a chain stay if separate hot and cold faucets are desired. Custom plates cost about $150 and require a dimensional drawing. Custom work is non-returnable so draw carefully and FAX or email the drawing to us for a quote. (email and mailing information can be found in the footer at the very bottom of this page.

Question #3: “The hole in the pedestal on my sink is really small, do you have a drain that will work with this sink?”

Answer: Yes, you need a set-back drain.

The set-back drain will work on old pedestal sinks with a tiny hole in the rear of the pedestal. Unfortunately, a pop-up type drain isn’t possible but we do offer a rubber plug version.  We have versions for sinks with and without integral overflows. Click on the picture to be taken to our specialty sink drains page.

Click here for more information on our restoration services.
Click here to see examples of some of our restoration work.


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