How to Install Linear Shower Drain

Linear shower drains have come a long way, and homeowners are increasingly opting for this drainage system. This is mainly attributed to their discrete design and tits flexibility. However, with every new invention comes a less than obvious way of installing them. Experts warn that many people who try to install the linear shower drain get it wrong and end up using up more resources to get it fixed properly.

In this guide, we explore the tips you ought to consider before installing a linear shower drain and a systematic installation process.

Tips to Consider When Installing a Linear Shower Drain

Simplified Slope
The traditional center drains require that you have the floor of your shower sloping in four directions from the walls to the center. However, for a linear shower drain installation, you will only need a gentle slope towards the wall you will be installing the linear shower drain.

Proper Placement
Building codes require that you place the linear shower drain along the shower door wall or the wall opposite the door. Many people and contractors have made the mistake of placing the linear shower drain perpendicular to the wall, and this creates a trip and slip hazard.

Consider the Length
When shopping for a linear shower drain, you will find that the manufacturers produce linear shower drains in different lengths and you must consider that in the design process of your shower. According to the experts, if the drain is too narrow or it runs across the width of your doorway, eventually you will find water pooling in corners and beside walls. Consider the length of the wall with the door and take the measurements with you as you shop for the linear drain.

Flow Rates
In most cases, a linear shower drain can expel up to 10 gallons of water per minute, and the designers of your shower refrain from exceeding this volume of water. However, this is not a problem with the standard low-flow showerheads, but it could pose a problem if you have one of those luxury showers with multiple showerheads and sprays, which could pose greater water flooding issues if the designer ignores the flow rate.

How to Install a Linear Shower Drain

Before getting down to install the linear shower drain, ensure that you measure the length of the shower with the door or the opposite wall. This is to ensure that you put into consideration the volume of water coming from your type of shower and the flow rate. Here is the proper way to install a linear shower drain.

• Locate and mark your preferred location of the drain and make a 3 ½-inch hole with the center of the drain preferably being 2 ¼ inches from the sill plate on the wall.
• Create a ¼-inch slope per foot considering the volume of water that your shower produces in per minute. You might have to relocate and replace the rough-in plumbing to align with the desired placement of the linear shower drain.
• Install a waterproofing material and a thin-set assembly, as per the recommendations of the linear shower drain’s manufacturer, though most recommend that it should have a thickness of ¼ inch. The most common and efficient waterproofing materials include CPE membrane, metal pan, surface sheet membrane, vinyl, et al.
• Ensure that you get a linear shower drain with the rough opening wider by at least 2” than the drain length to accommodate wall tile thickness as well as the backer board.
• Pre-install the linear shower drain to the plumbing waste line to ensure the proper placement of the drain. If it is correct, remove the drain body and use a piece of wood to acts as the drain body as you apply the manufacturer recommended flexible sealant.
• Build a wetter mortar bed mix as well as a thin-set mortar and install the tiles to create a gradient of between 1 and 2% towards the drain. Also, build a stable and rigid support under the linear shower drain trench as well as flanges for the two ends of the drain and one for the one closest to the wall.
• Mark the gradient lines and compact the mortar up to the marked lines. Level the drain and establish the gradient height Place the tile into the tile insert tray
• Remove the piece of wood, clean out the area, install your linear shower drain, and ensure to use as much mortar as is necessary to support the drain.
• Ensure that the linear drain channel is level and ensure that it is 1/16th of an inch below the shower floor tiles.


Before using the shower, allow the mortar around the linear shower drain to set properly. You can also hire a professional and experienced plumber to install the drain if you do not have enough time. However, with the tips above as well as the installation process, you can use the activity to bond with the members living in your home.

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