Installing Linear Shower Drains - How to select and decide on the right shower drain.

April 26, 2011
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North Vancouver
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Before you install your first linear shower drain it is important to understand what drain will be best suited for your application.  There are many drains to choose from right now - most have the proper cUPC or CSA classifications but many do not.  

 If you are a designer or homeowner you might be drawn to a certain grill style or channel grate.  As a tile man or woman you might be drawn to a certain install method.  As a plumber you may decide to stick with what you know best.

All of these factors and many more come into play when selecting the "right" channel drain.  I have been installing these linear shower drains for a little over a year now and have been researching them for almost three.  I have learned a few lessons the hard way and have had a lot of solid advice handed down to me by the key people in these various companies.  Over the past year I have found that when it comes right down to it - any drain can be installed in almost any location... with in reason.

The make up of the home or condo, the type of subfloor or concrete, a private or multi-family home all help fine tune the decision process and then the mechanics can be outlined.  I have not written a blog before here on Contractor Talk and I'm not sure how to start.  I will showcase a few of my projects and outline the steps I have taken to install these linear shower drains.

Regardless of the type of drain you install it is first and foremost that you understand that all shower drains need to be installed by a ticketed plumber - this is code here in Vancouver and code right across Canada.  I would imagine in the states this is the same.  As a homeowner in a single family home (yours) you should be able to do this work yourself with the cities OK.

Secondly all showers should have a pre-slope regardless of what local code states - in my town like many others this step is overlooked and most times not followed.  All showers should be flood tested and all work checked.

Framing and structure should be solid and free from excessive deflection - this is a whole other Blog but an often overlooked item in shower construction.

Your tile man (woman) is your key player in any successful linear drain install and a tile setter with training in many waterproofing products most likely will offer up the best solutions for your home's installation requirements.

Once you begin to plan your new shower renovation you need to figure out how it is going to get built.  Do you right now or will you in the future have access from below?  Will you be installing small or large tile?  Natural stone? Slabs? Are you going to have a curb or will this be a barrier free shower? Steamer? What is your timeline? Budget?

Questions. Questions. Questions...

I have installed drains this past year from Schluter, Heelguard USA, Platinum Stainless Steel, ACO, My Shower Grate Shop, Watts and Quick Drain USA.  I have reviewed drains from Easy Drain, CeraLine and Nobel. I have found that each drain offers up it's own advantages and offers up it's own challenges as well.  My approach to these installations is multi-stepped and this has proven to be a struggle at times with builders expectations and what plumbers are used to.  

My favourite quote of 2010 was from a plumber who told me that because my center location for my Linear Shower Drain included a fraction it was to difficult to lay out and that he would have to come back another day.  It still makes me smile that comment.

We are building a nice new steam shower downtown Vancouver right now and for change will be a regular point drain - I struggled a bit with the grading since I have been getting very used to grading my showers all one way.  It is much easier to install a one way slope and much less likely that you will have any puddling in the shower pan.

Enough said for tonight.  I will get some pictures up and start expanding on my installs.

If you have a site specific question I would love to help out if I can - send me an email or post a question within the Contractor Talk pages.  Here on Contractor Talk there are many contractors who have had great success installing these linear drains and much of the trouble shooting we have all ready figured out.  

Best,

John Whipple

By Any Design Ltd.



Comments (2)

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  • Thumb_vaulted-ceiling-repair-wave_046
    Sir Mixalotover 7 years ago

    Great information on Linear shower drains John. Thanks.

    -Paul

  • No-avatar-62
    rgvtilealmost 7 years ago

    I need work

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