What Is A Linear Shower Drain
To the uninitiated, it may seem as though all shower drains are the same. After all, how complicated can something that takes water away from your home be, right? Well, there are several different types of drains that are suitable based on your home and the terrain on which it is constructed.
A linear drain is a water egress or exit that is an elongated rectilinear form of drain. Basically, it captures the water flow and moves it towards a single exit point. The goal ultimately is to create an efficient delivery method for liquid moving away from your shower basin.
The Pros And Cons Of Using A Linear Shower Drain In Your Remodel
A bathroom remodel is an exciting project that requires you to make many decisions throughout the process. From choosing the perfect tile to deciding on countertop materials, cabinet finishes, and more, you need to consider choices from both the perspective of aesthetics and functionality.
Sometimes, your decision will hinge on your goal for the space. For example, if you’re planning on aging in place, you might choose to remove the tub in your master bath and convert it into a threshold-free shower. What type of drain you should use is probably not a decision you’d typically need to make. However, if your design includes a “wet room” or a threshold-free shower, you have one more decision!
When it comes to your shower, you have another option beside the traditional circular or square drain. Instead, you can use a linear shower drain.
A linear shower drain offers some great benefits, both in terms of functionality and aesthetics.
Any Length + Flexible Outlet Placement
This type of linear drain needs to be assembled on site. It requires a little bit of effort, but the steps are simple and easy to follow:
1. Have your shower area ready, waterproofing installed and tested
2. Calculate the finished drain length, allowing for wall & tile thickness, and 8 for the outlet section
3. Cut the channel where the center of the outlet section is and join the components to build the channel.
4. Secure the channel to the flange and trowel mortar to the required height
5. Install tile and grout
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The Cost Of A Linear Shower Drain
You can buy a circular shower drain at your local big box home improvement store starting at around $15 and up. If you are installing a wall-to-wall drain, it is typically a custom piece, and custom always costs more. In general, a linear shower drain unit will cost significantly more than a traditional circular or square shower drain. You should also budget a little more for labor and installation.
Installing a linear shower drain will require more coordination between your plumber, contractor, and tile person. However, if you are looking for a more modern look, are remodeling to age in place, or are creating a wet room, including a linear shower drain is an excellent choice that is more than worth the expense!
If you’re planning a bathroom remodeling project and live in the West Central Alabama area, give the design experts at Toulmin Cabinetry & Design a call at We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have. Let us help you design the perfect bathroom space to meet your aesthetic and functional needs.
Linear Drain Installation For Your Shower
Linear shower drains are a popular choice for modern homes and can offer many benefits but proper installation is key. We asked the expert behind the QuARTz by ACO collection and they shared these important consideration for a successful linear drain installation.
Photo Source: QuARTz by ACO
Use an Experienced Installer
A linear shower drain requires only one slope while a traditional center point drain requires all 4 sides to slope towards the center. You are able to use large format tiles and have only linear cuts in the tiles. For this reason, a linear drain installation is considered to be easier but it is important to use an installer who has experience installing linear drains. They will have the experience to ensure a proper install so that you do not run into issues down the line.
When choosing a Linear drain it is important to plan in advance. Decide on whether you would like a curbless shower or not. Making the right steps ahead of time will ensure an easy and proper install. Communication with your installer about the membrane being used, measuring the shower from the finished walls, even choosing your grate designs are all important to do prior to buying the drain.
Placement for Curbless Showers
How long should a linear shower drain be?
Plan for Flow Rates
Choose Tile Prior to Laying the Floor Bed
Your questions answered
Are linear shower drains better?
How much does a linear drain cost?
Why use a linear drain?
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What Is The Tile Drain Style
Make the drain disappear. The Tile Insert Frame allows the drain to truly disappear into the shower floor. Flooring material is set into the tray and a minimally sized, yet sufficient, gap provides the necessary drainage to evacuate water efficiently. This grate style provides the illusion of an extension of your shower floor over the drain.
Install Tar Paper And Wire Lath
Use a utility knife to cut tar paper so that it can cover the plywood subfloor. Make sure that it also covers the corners and the base of the shower walls. This tar paper layer will prevent the plywood floor from absorbing any moisture from the shower pan mortar mix.
You can also cut a sheet of wire lath with a set of wire cutters so that it can lay on top of the tar paper and help provide stability for the shower pan mortar mixture.
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Always Hire A Reliable And Dependable Contractor To Remodel Your Shower
Always work with a trustworthy contractor like DADs Construction. We are experts in bathroom remodeling who can manage projects in an efficient manner. DADâs Construction will do everything to minimize the possibility of change orders. Our team will make sure we have all the necessary information to prepare a proposal that meets your requirements. Rest assured that we will provide you with a detailed, by line-item contract. We will make sure that the contents of this agreement are properly and clearly communicated to you. If you have questions or need updates regarding your project, we will always answer your inquiries.
Install Waterproof Liner And Clamping Ring
Waterproof shower liners provide a significant layer of protection against water damage, rot, and unseen mold growth, so the next step in the process is to cut and install a waterproof liner on top of the pre-pan mortar. The liner should extend at least 6 inches up the sides of the shower wall to create an effective water barrier.
You can use nails or screws to fasten the edges of the liner to the walls to prevent it from sliding down out of position. Cut a small slit in the liner over the bolts on the base drain, then push the liner over the bolts to keep the liner in place. Cut a hole through the liner the same size as the opening of the base drain, then secure the clamping ring to the base drain to hold the liner in place and create a watertight seal.
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Why Choose A Linear Drain
Also called a trough or trench drain, a linear drain is a rectangular-shaped drain that allows for the use of larger format floor tile and the ability to pitch the floor in one direction. This offers an advantage from the traditional center drain installation, where the floor must slope in four directions in order to drain the water properly.
Benefits of a linear drain installation include:
- No limitation on tile size or slab material
- Can be placed as a threshold or curb
- Meets ADA requirements for handicap shower entry
- No boundaries on design because of the drain location
- Drains water more efficiently
Linear Channel Drains Covers For Shower Size:
When the size of the area is standard, which is in most cases, you can use a standard linear drain. They are available in many sizes: 24, 28, 32, 36, 48, 58. Drains dont need to run the full length of the wall, which allows you to use a standard length in most projects.
As a general rule-of-thumb, linear drains are located at either the back or sidewall of where the fixtures are installed or along the threshold or entrance
Are linear drains worth it?
Linear drains do more than look cool and are far beyond an embellishment but an improvement. This essential part of the plumbing system of your shower is now an architectural focal point not just for wastewater but to enhance the complete aesthetic of the space.
Are linear drains more expensive?
In general, a linear shower drain unit will cost significantly more than a traditional circular or square shower drain. You should also budget a little more for labor and installation. Installing a linear shower drain will require more coordination between your plumber, contractor, and tile person.
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Calculate The Drain Height And Cut A Drain Hole
One of the goals during the installation of a linear drain is to ensure that the top of the grate cover on the drain will be perfectly level with the surrounding tile. To achieve this goal, you need to calculate and measure the drain height so that the top of the drain will sit 1/16-inch below the adjacent tile before the grate cover is added.
It’s a good idea to measure the height of the linear drain assembly with the grate cover and without the grate cover so that if the difference is greater than or less than 1/16-inch, you can make the adjustment to the height during installation so that the floor ends up level with the drain.
Use a drill with a hole saw bit to make clean, precise circular cuts through the plywood if you need to relocate the drain line. It’s recommended to make a 3 1/2-inch hole and position the center of the drain about 2 1/2 to 3 inches from the back wall.
Slide the base drain into the drain line and insert the linear drain to take an accurate height measurement. Mark the desired height on the shower wall, then remove the linear drain and base drain.
Linear Shower Drain Cons
Cleaning and maintenance can be a drag. Longer drains mean that the velocity of water for draining out will also turn out to be slow. You need to be regularly on the lookout for grime or hair or dirt or just about any other particle that could slow down your shower drain. Its not exactly something a lot of people look forward to doing.
Water containment is an issue. Unlike regular showers where theres a curb to keep the water in, this isnt the case with a linear shower drain as its just open but sloped. If the drain isnt installed properly, you might end up having water all over and thats not a good experience.
Some ways to remedy this would be to get a rain head shower fixture installed so that the water direction is more controlled.
You will end up missing your sense of privacy. Showering is an extremely intimate act and usually something that you would prefer to do alone. This isnt the case if you get a linear shower drain installed in your bathroom.
These showers are generally open. So anybody who walks in will well, walk in and see you. If you have an open door policy in your household, then this shouldnt be that much of an issue but if you have a growing family with different needs and youre all sharing the same bathroom, this might not be the best option for you to go for. Read more about walk In shower designs here.
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Linear Shower Drains Vs Center Shower Drains
When installing a new shower or remodeling an existing one, youll need to determine what type of drain will best suit your customers needs and taste.
There are many different types of shower drains you can recommend, like multi-piece, three-piece, and single-piece or round, square, center, and linear shower drains. For the sake of keeping things simple, well be focusing on center and linear shower drain systems in this article. If youre looking for some more information on round and square drains, you can find it here.
Reasons To Consider A Linear Drain
When updating your bathroom shower, these stylish drains might be just the way to go.
When it comes to designing the perfect bathroom shower, the styles that can be achieved are only limited by the requirements of the materials. While not always unsightly, the drain is an expected and familiar, boring element in most homes. The traditional result is a round or square drain in the middle of the shower stall floor, with a noticeable grade to the tile sloped around it. To update the look and break out from the old style, its time to switch drains.
What Is a Linear Drain?
Once found exclusively in commercial bathrooms and locker rooms, the linear drain has come a long way. Also called a trough drain, or a trench drain, is really a channel built into the floor of the shower to collect water before sending it to the drain outlet. They are stylish and customized, unique to your space. The water is pulled to a long and narrow trough at one end of the shower, collecting more water at once without pooling at your feet. The pre-pitched channel then directs the water to the hidden outlet and down the drain.
Important Features of a Linear Drain
A key factor in choosing a linear drain is determining the functions it needs to perform, which influences where it should be located and the type of installation.
An Important Note on Waterproofing Techniques
Why Choose A Linear Drain?
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Converting Center Drain To Linear Drain In Very Small Shower
Id like to use larger sized tile, therefore, looking at options to use a linear drain in stead of the current center drain. Shower area is very small 30 x 48. The entire bathroom is 95×48. Any recommendations if this is actually possible, or a nuisance for installer? And would it look silly, too small of bathroom?
10 months ago
moving fwd youll need a 2″ drain rise and trap. depending on if this is a slab on grade, or wood structure will effect how easily thats achieved, post tension Condo slab even more tricky etc.
When choosing linear drains one must very clearly understand A bonding flange linear drain VS. A Linear drain strainer and know how to select the proper drain and waterproofing.
Id suggest focusing on a smart hiring decision start asking the tile pros on here HOW to hire the right tile crew rather than technical drain concerns.
Linear Drain Systems For Barrier
CASE STUDY: TWA HOTEL
The TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport was recently restored and reopened as the new TWA Hotel.
When the TWA Flight Center opened in 1962 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, it was known for its standout white-winged architecture, designed by Eero Saarinen. The historic landmark had been closed since 2001 and made an appearance in the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio as eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.
In 2019, the Flight Center reopened, restored and reimagined as a first-class hotel. The opening of the transformed hotel features new amenities but retains the mid-century modern, 1960s charm that will have guests feeling as if they have been transported back to a time when passenger air travel was the epitome of luxury.
The TWA Hotel restoration project included custom linear shower drains in 512 bathrooms.
The rooms feature retro nods to the 1950s and 1960s with Knoll furniture and rotary phones. The 512 guestrooms also feature custom linear shower drains. The linear drain manufacturers role in the project included concept development, specification, production, and installation educationall of which were completed in record time.
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What Type Of Drain Is Best For The Shower
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on many factors, such as the size and design of your shower, the amount of water it produces, and your budget. However, linear drains are a great option for many showers because they are more efficient at draining water and offer a more modern look.
What Is A Linear Drain
While a center drain has a small square or circular drain opening, a linear drain consists of a long drain trough that typically runs along the back wall of the shower, parallel to the opening of the shower. The trough empties into an unseen central drain connected to the drainpipe for the shower. Linear drains can have metal covers, like traditional center drains, but they may also have covers that match the color and appearance of the surrounding tile so that the drain can blend into the aesthetic instead of sticking out.
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Linear Shower Drain Pros
Installation is fast and easy. Get this, despite how efficient and aesthetic it looks, a linear shower drain can be installed almost anywhere and everywhere. To get this installed, the shower floor just needs to be sloped in one direction towards the drain as opposed to center drains which need to be sloped evenly from all 4 corners of the shower area.
Its important to know that this is a skilled job and you need to hire out specialized labor to get it right. The measurements need to be exact.
You dont have curbs to worry about! Stepping over a curb or stubbing a toe or hitting an ankle somewhere after we shower is fairly commonplace for regular showers but never for showers with linear shower drains because there is no need for a curb at all.
This is even more appreciated by people who have had injuries or are recuperating from them or from older people who find it a challenge to lift their feet up.
This makes linear shower drains compliant with the American Disability Act and can make the lives of countless individuals so much easier. People in wheelchairs, for example, can wheel in and out of the shower without difficulty.
They are versatile. Because linear shower drains have long lines, they are so versatile that they can be placed almost anywhere. You dont have the same kind of freedom with center drains since as the name suggests, they always need to be placed at the center.