Say sayonara to the traditional center shower drain. Linear drain systems eliminate the use of a traditional center drain, allowing for the floor to be pitched in one direction, and resulting in no-limitation on tile size or slab material.
Linear drains are located either against the wall or along the entrance, or threshold, of a shower enclosure. A zero threshold shower (where the linear drain is used in place of a curb) provides a modern, open aesthetic, and also allows for the greatest maneuverability in and out of the shower for aging-in-place or handicap accessibility.
Site Sizeable vs. Fixed Length
Two common installation types of linear drains are Site Sizeable and Fixed Length. Site Sizeable linear drains are specified as a complete kit in a stocked length. The channel components are assembled on site, allowing the most flexibility for the installer. The length can be cut down to the exact finished wall-to-wall dimension needed, and the outlet can be located anywhere along the channel run. Additional outlets can also be added to increase capacity. Fixed length linear drains come in set sizes with a center or offset outlet connecting to the waste line.
How to choose a Linear Drain System
1) Which one do I need? This is answered by confirming the waterproofing technique to be used in the shower enclosure or wet room. Traditional waterproofing methods such as a vinyl pan liner, Chloraloy®, lead pan, or hot mop connect to a clamping flange floor drain and require a straight edge channel with a threaded connection. Liquid membrane or fabric sheet waterproofing is under the ‘modern waterproofing’ umbrella and requires a linear drain system with a flanged channel. Flanged channel linear drains use a coupling to connect directly to the waste line.
2) Curb or Curbless Shower? It is important to determine whether you wish to install a zero-threshold shower with no curb. A linear drain with a low-profile channel helps save floor height and makes floor transitions easier to achieve. Site Sizeable linear drains make attaining a perfect wall-to-wall installation possible since installers can modify the length of the channel to the exact measurement needed. This is critical to keep water within the shower enclosure and out of the ‘dry’ side of the bathroom.
3) Which one do I like? This is purely a decorative decision. A number of top grate styles are available including perforated stainless steel in a number of different patterns, Wedge Wire, a highly architectural style composed of heavy gauge stainless steel, or a tile insert frame where the tile setter installs flooring material into an empty frame so the drain visually disappears. Linear drains come in a variety of finishes to match your shower fixtures.