Installing a Linear Shower Drain – First Decisions

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When renovating a bathroom shower, it’s tempting to build your design off stylish finishes and patterns. Unfortunately, work comes before play. Two questions will determine the correct linear shower drain for your project.

1.) What is the combined flow rate of the shower?

In other words, you need to know your shower’s total outflow. If you added up all the showerheads, how many gallons per minute would be operating?

A standard showerhead operates with a maximum of 2.5 GPM, but that’s not a given. Newer models designed specifically to save water are limited to no more than 2 GPM. California is even set to reduce flow rates to 1.8 GPM in July 2018 (they’ll have the toughest showerhead standards in the USA). Older showerheads could be as high as 3.5 GPM, but if you replace the fixture during construction that number will drop.

A 2” outlet on any linear shower drain can handle 9 GPM. Most showers won’t pose a problem. However, high pressure shower heads and specialty “rain showers” produce different rates. Multiple shower heads will also increase output, so make sure you check this early on in the project.

If you find yourself with more output than a 2” dia shower drain outlet can handle, all is not lost. You can either use multiple outlets or a larger diameter outlet. Maybe a 3” dia. drain line, with 21 GPM  capacity, is more to your liking.

2.) What waterproofing method are you/your contractor using?

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Non-Flanged Linear Shower Drain Installation Method

Traditional waterproofing methods rely on building a shower pan with copper pan, hot mop, PVC liner, fiberglass, lead pan or a rubber liner. These lend themselves to linear shower drains that use clamp down devices and no body flange.

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How to install a FLANGED shower drain

New-fangled techniques, like liquid or fabric sheet membrane, work better in conjunction with flanged linear drains that use couplings instead of clamping devices.

The type of waterproofing used varies by contractor preference and local plumbing codes. Always check your municipality’s plumbing code to see if you have a restriction on what can be used.

Understanding shower waterproofing techniques is important for a couple reasons. First, different techniques vary in material cost and installation time. For example, using the USG Durock Brand Shower System could be more expensive to purchase than a traditional liner but it takes less time (read: fewer man hours) to install. This could actually save money in the long run!

Second, linear shower drains are pretty upfront about what waterproofing method they do (and don’t) work with. Knowing your shower waterproofing plan will make the search for a shower drain faster because you won’t become distracted by options not truly open to you.

For questions about shower linear drains, including recommendations and pricing, call Trench Drain Systems at 610-638-1221 or Request a quote now.