How To Install Or Replace A Shower Drain
A shower drain is an important plumbing fixture that captures water and directs it towards your homes sewage system. You can install a shower drain as part of a home renovation project or replace an existing one when you notice a leak.
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Doing this project DIY-style whether youre installing or replacing shouldnt take you more than an afternoon. Keep on reading to find out how.
How To Install A Shower Pan
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To ensure your shower is water-tight, whether its a new plumbing installation or youre looking to upgrade your current shower, consider a new shower pan. While it is possible to create a shower floor using a pan liner and tile, a ready-made shower pan makes shower installation easier. Ready-made shower pans are typically made of acrylic, fiberglass or composites. With so many options available, you are sure to find the size and style of shower pan that fits your bathroom. This guide teaches you how to install a shower pan, including floor prep, installing a shower base and compression shower drain assembly.
Water Spots And Leaks
Another reason to wonder how to install a shower drain in concrete floor for renovation is when you find signs of a leak and water spots.
If you notice that there are wet spots on the walls or water pooling on your concrete floor, be worry that these signs indicate a leak.
When you face some of the above problems, get ready to read how to install a shower drain in concrete floor once again to help with the replacement.
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How To Install A Solvent
Solvent-glued drain assemblies are recommended only when you have access below the shower from an unfinished basement or crawlspace. If you don’t have this access, a compression-style drain assembly is a better choice.
Solvent-glued shower drain assemblies are usually PVC plastic, though older ones may use ABS plastic. If you have a plastic drainpipe, make sure to match the shower drain to the type of plastic in the drain system. Like compression-type shower drains, this type can be used with steel, fiberglass, and acrylic shower bases.
With solvent-glued fittings, it can be harder to get the pipe measurement right, so make sure to measure carefully and test-fit the pieces before gluing.
Install The Shower Drain Flange
- Test-fit the shower drain flange, also known as the drain basket or drain body, to ensure it fits flush with the shower base.
- Line the underside of the shower drain flanges rim with latex/acrylic or silicone caulk, per manufacturers instructions. In some cases, plumbers putty – a commonly used drain flange sealant – will degrade the shower pan material, so be sure to check the manufacturers instructions carefully here.
- Place the flange through the top side of the shower pan and press down as far as you can without twisting so that the excess caulk squeezes out.
- Wipe away excess caulk before it dries using an old cloth or paper towel.
- On the underside of the shower pan, put the rubber washer around the threads of the flange and against the bottom of the shower pan.
- Next, put the friction washer on the threads of the flange.
- Screw the locking ring onto the threads of the flange, tightening the gasket and friction washer between it and the bottom of the shower pan. Use adjustable pliers to tighten if needed.
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Secure The Shower Pan
- When replacing a shower pan, some shower pan manufacturers call for the shower pan to sit directly in an adhesive or into small mounds of mortar.
- If adhesive is called for, spread it within the area where the shower pan will sit.
- If mounds of mortar are called for, mark the locations on the subfloor per the manufacturers instructions. Then position mounds of mortar on the marks.
- Position the shower base in the area, placing it onto the adhesive or mortar, and press firmly in place.
- Adjust the shower pan until it is level in all directions.
- Place cardboard or another material into the shower pan base to protect its surface.
- Screw the shower pan rim into the wall studs using 1 1/4-inch exterior-grade screws through the pre-drilled holes.
How To Install A Shower Drain In Concrete Floor Correctly
Generally, there is nothing different between installing a drain in a concrete or plastic shower pan since you just need to screw it onto the pipe stub that emerges from the slab.
You will need a few necessary tools and safety equipment like a dust mask and goggles to get started.
Once you are ready, the installation process typically will not take much time and energy.
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Break The Concrete Slab
Take an electric chipping hammer and use it to chip away the concrete slab into smaller pieces.
Begin with one corner and then run through the slab until the blade of your chipping hammer arrives at the filth beneath the concrete chunk.
Unlike the steps on how to install a shower drain in concrete floor, you have to get rid of the broken concrete from the lane and throw the wreckage away.
Get Ready To Add New Concrete
Following the assembly, you need to add new concrete to finish the floor appropriately.
While stirring up some concrete mix in a bucket, you can apply duct tape over the drains top to protect it from dirt. Once the concrete mixture is chunky and thick, prepare to fill the hole carefully.
Pour clean water into a spray bottle. Consider misting the edges of the hole lightly with it before filling. This will help the new concrete to hold more successfully to the old one while removing dust.
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Severe Marks And Rust
Overlooking routine maintenance on the concrete floor and everything around your bathroom may lead you to a severe problem. This particularly affects any hardware related to your shower including the drain.
Your shower drain is typically prone to rust and stains. Minor mildew or water spots are pretty effortless to eliminate with a bathroom cleaning solution.
However, once they become severe, it seems very hard to remove the rust or stains.
Prepare For A New Drain Line
To create a new drain line, start with digging a trench in the dirt beneath the removed concrete. You can use a narrow shovel to do so.
You should dig the trench from the old drain location to the new spot.
Keep in mind that the deepness of your trench has to be similar to the depth of the previous drain lines bottom.
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Install The Shower Drain Cover
To install the cover of your shower drain, you need to loosen the bolts on the flange before positioning it.
Follow this step on how to install a shower drain in concrete floor by slotting the cover over the crown of the bolts. Then, revolve it until it is locked in place.
Moreover, tighten the bolts by using a wrench.
Can You Replace A Shower Floor Only
Its possible to replace just the tile shower floor, and you can replace a shower pan by itself as well. However, most professional shower installers would recommend not pursuing either option, as once either floor material is installed, limited replacement will be hard to execute.
Say, for example, you want to remove a preexisting shower floor. You cant just remove the tiles on the floor, as youll have to remove lower sections of wall tile as well. Everything is connected in the tile configuration, which means replacing just the floor would involve a lot of cutting, sanding, and demolishing.
And if the shower floor is torn up incorrectly, then you may have trouble situating the replacement floor. In such an instance, repairing the damage would be the necessary first step.
In short, while its possible to replace both a tile shower floor and a shower pan, there are really only a couple scenarios that warrant doing this, and most homeowners dont ever face such scenarios.
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Remove The Shower Drain
For this step, you will want to use a screwdriver to add pressure to the drain flange. Thus, you can turn the same in either direction until the bond between it and the pipe cement broken.
Position the screwdriver in the flanges bolt holes to apply force. Then, try to remove the old drain easily from the stack.
After that, you may follow the above step-by-step on how to install a shower drain in concrete floor for assembling the replacement.
When To Replace A Shower Drain With The New One
Now that you already know how to install a shower drain in concrete floor, when the best time to replace it should be the next to understand.
Just like lots of other hardware around the house, there could be a time when your concrete drain requires a replacement. Here are a few signs that can remind you about this issue.
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Open Up The Lower Layers Of The Shower Wall
Open up the lower layers of the shower wall by removing the baseboard, drywall and ceramic tiles. The lower parts of the wall will be made up by wainscoting, center support beams and studs. Open these three layers with your reciprocating saw to expose the shower pan. Be careful not to cut any wires or pipes in the wall while doing this.
Replacing A Shower Drain
Clear the majority of the grout around the drain. You can use a Dremel apparatus or a grout saw. Grout saws have teeth on the finish of them and remove the grout. Remove just enough grout that will enable you to fix the Kohler shower drains. Try not to do pointless tiles.
Pry the tiles up. Be cautious because you would prefer not to break them. You will see the drain lodging. Remove the drain. It will be stuck so you should pull hard or pry it off.
Clean the drain pipe. Apply pipe bond to the pipe and within the new drain. Put the drain over the drainpipe. Enable an hour to dry.
Replace the tiles. Use the tile bond and apply it to the tiles like a nutty spread. Make it around 1/8 of an inch. Drive the tiles down. Enable them 24 hours to dry.
Grout the majority of the holes aside from the part around the drain. Use the grout buoy to push the grout into the holes. This will guarantee an even surface. Enable the grout to dry medium-term.
Seal the new drain with silicone. This will guarantee that there will be no holes. You need to let this dry for at any rate 24 hours.
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Fill The Hole With New Concrete
The last step on how to install a shower drain in concrete floor is to fill the area around your fresh drainage system with a new mixture.
You have to cover the bolts and the flange thoroughly with new concrete. After that, take a flat metal trowel to level it flush with the rest of the existing floor.
If the concrete has been dry, you can get rid of the tape that is applied in the previous step.
Install The Bottom Flange
After the subfloor of the shower is prepared and clean, install the bottom flange of the shower drain into the drainpipe, usually by solvent gluing.
After this is done, a bed of mortar is troweled around the drain opening, creating a 1/4-inch-per-foot slope away from the walls and toward the drain. When the mortar bed has dried, a waterproof membrane liner is installed over the floor and the lower flange of the shower drain. Use silicone caulk to seal the liner to the drain flange, then trim away the liner around the drain opening.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
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How To Install A Shower Drain
Aaron Stickley is a licensed plumber with 15 years of experience in commercial, new residential plumbing, and residential service and repair. He started his own residential service and repair plumbing business. Aaron’s articles about plumbing on The Spruce span four years.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- Working Time: 1 – 4 hrs
- Total Time: 1 – 2 days
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Estimated Cost: $15 to $100
There are several options when choosing a shower drain. Your choice depends on your shower base, the type of pipes you have in your home, and the manufacturers recommendations for both the shower pan and the drain.
Keep in mind that shower drain assemblies are generally made to fit a 2-inch drainpipe, not the 1 1/2-inch pipe usually found on tubs. A 2-inch pipe is the recommended size because showers have a low threshold for flooding, and a 2-inch pipe helps the water drain faster than does a 1 1/2-inch pipe. So, if you are converting from a tub and shower combination to a shower, you’ll likely have to change the drain pipe size.
Each type of drain assembly has its own installation method:
- Compression-style drains
- Plastic pipe primer
- Plastic pipe solvent glue
How To Install A Shower Drain For A Tile Floor
Since tiles are square , you will need a drain assembly with a square strainer. There are essentially three parts to a tile floor assembly: the drain barrel , drain body and clamping ring.
Begin installing the shower drain after youve finished installing the subfloor and drain pipe. Fit the drain body over the drainpipe, ensuring that the flange is resting on the subfloor. Use solvent cement to bond them together.
Next comes the bottom mortar bed. Be sure to cover the drain body with a clean rag before you apply it so the drainpipe remains clean. Lay down the layer of mortar starting from the wall. Make sure there is a slope every ¼ inch per foot, all the way to the drains opening. The mortar bed should be flush with the drain bodys flange.
Wait for the mortar bed to dry. Afterward, install a pan liner on top of it. This is a waterproof membrane that catches any water that seeps through the mortar bed and directs it towards the drain. Cut a hole in the membrane around the drain hole and around the inner and outer mounting holes of the drain body. Screw some bolts into the outer mounting holes to secure the pan liner and drain body to the subfloor.
Place the clamping ring above the membrane. Align its mounting holes with the ones on the drain body and screw it in. This will sandwich the membrane between the drain body and the clamping ring. Fill the shower floor with 2 to 3 inches of water to check if the membrane has any leaks.
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Prepare Your Work Area
Before starting the installation process, please check if the floor and work area are clean. Another important thing is to make sure debris or filth cannot get into the shower drain during assembly. You can protect the drain using the pre-assembled sealing membrane or a cloth. Prior to the assembly, the assembling advice and its special characteristics should be discussed with the tiler. After the assembly, please provide the tiler with the complete assembling advice.
The Way Of How To Install A Shower Drain In Concrete Floor
Understanding how to install a shower drain in concrete floor is crucial, both renovation and new construction.
While hiring trained professionals is more recommended, knowing the step-by-step to install a shower drain will not hurt.
Fortunately, installing a standard shower drain is not as difficult as you might ever think. Just make sure to read the installation guide carefully to make the most of the result.
Here you will discover a brief explanation about how to install a shower drain along with some other tips to do so. Enjoy!
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How To Move A Shower Drain In Concrete Floor Properly
Aside from knowing the basic method to install a shower drain in your bathroom or to replace it with a new one, you probably want to know the way to move this drainage system as well.
This knowledge may come in handy when your bathroom remodeling involves moving or substituting the shower stall.
In this case, you typically need to move the drain connection that goes through your concrete floor as well. If you have known the installation, the entire process is basically similar.
Like the steps to replace a shower drain, it is necessary to break up the existing concrete slab when you want to move this drainage system into another area around your bathroom.
To understand the approach perfectly, check out the following steps.
Install The Middle Flange
Insert the middle flange of the drain fitting over the liner and drain opening, using bolts to secure it to the bottom flange beneath the liner. The liner will be tightly sandwiched between the flanges. At this point, it’s common practice to pour water over the shower pan to check the liner for leaks.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
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Can I Replace Tile In Shower
I want to have the floor tiles replaced in our shower, but the wall tiles are in good shape. The tile guy I spoke with says that it can’t be done, due to a difference in thickness of the tiles. Does anyone have experience doing this? How did it work out? All comments/suggestions will be much appreciated.
Try to get a second opinion from another contractor.
5 years ago
When installing tile in a shower, the rule usually is to lay the floor first so there’s little chance the water dripping from the walls would seep through the floor tiles edges.
If you replace them you might leave a gap between the wall tiles and the floor, which might look ugly too.