Should I Install a Linear Shower Drain?

Updated September 30, 2021
man installing linear drain
Tomasz Zajda - stock.adobe.com

If you're remodelling, linear shower drains can give you lots of design and style options, but these often come at a price

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There’s nothing quite like a hot shower at the end of a long, hard day. But turning your bathroom into the perfect in-home spa means navigating a lot of design options. When it comes to remodelling or refreshing your shower, though, you probably don’t give your shower drain much thought.

And that’s a shame because abandoning the old tried and true square or circular shower drain can actually give you tons more options for your shower redesign. A linear shower drain, for instance, can help you create a shower that’s both fabulously stylish and largely fall-resistant. We’ll show you the pros and cons of linear shower drains.

What Is a Linear Shower Drain?

linear drain system in shower
AndriiKoval - stock.adobe.com

Just like traditional square or circular drains, linear drains are designed to siphon water from your shower bottom, ideally with no overflow onto your bathroom floor. They feature a rectangular shape and can lie toward the edge of the shower or flush against a wall. As with any drain, though, the floor must slant toward the drain in order for the water to flow out of the shower.

Pros

Linear shower drains have a lot to recommend them. Here are some of the top benefits:

Lots of Style Options

To drain effectively, traditional circular and square shower drains must be positioned in the center of the shower floor, meaning that the entire shower bottom must slant toward the drain. To get the required slant, you’ll need to use small tiles in the shower pan.

However, linear shower drains give homeowners the option to use any size tile. This is because they tend to slant toward a wall, which allows tile installers to use larger tiles, since all tiles lean in the same direction.

Best of all, because linear drains usually lie flush against the shower wall, they’re often far less noticeable than standard center drains. And that means that all you’ll notice is your beautiful tile work and the luxurious feel of your shower!

Safety and Accessibility

One of the biggest perks of the linear shower drain is how well they work in walk-in, roll-in, and curbless showers. Walk-in and curbless, or zero-entry showers are great for older homeowners or for those with disabilities. They significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls and make the shower accessible to people with mobility challenges or who use wheelchairs.

Linear shower drains are best for curbless showers because curbless showers don't include a ledge to keep water in. Linear shower drains cover the most surface area for water drainage.

Cons

Of course, with sunshine, there will always come some rain. And, for all the benefits of a linear shower drain, there are also some drawbacks.

The Cost

You can expect to pay significantly more for a linear shower drain than for most center drains. You can buy circular shower drains at home improvement stores for as little as $15. Most linear shower drains cost $200 or more, though you can find some for as low as $100.

Because linear shower drains require more coordination between the tile contractor and plumber, you may also need to pay a few hundred dollars more for labor, especially if working with someone who charges hourly.

It May Require a Massive Remodel

Because linear drains require a different slope than do traditional center drains, you will probably need to brace yourself for a pretty significant shower remodel. This is especially true if you’re planning to replace a standard step-in tub or shower with a walk-in or curbless one.

Depending on the size and scope of your shower remodel, you may have to wait days or weeks for the project to be completed. And your wallet may also take a hit, as a shower remodel generally costs between $3,500 on the low end to as much as $12,000 on the high end.

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