Types of Shower Floor Drains (Linear, Point & More)

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Choosing a floor drain for your shower can be relatively easy if you know your bathroom’s floor construction, as well as the style that you want. When it comes to installation, there are three main classifications of showers. If your shower is tiled, on wooden floors, you’ll need a different drain than if you had concrete floors. With this in mind, pre-molded shower bases and one-piece showers will also need a different kind of drain.

Before buying and installing a shower drain, you need to check the kind of shower you have. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to get expert help. Keep in mind that DIY installations require a level of skill and understanding of plumbing. Going into the job without the right preparation might cost you more money than if you hired a plumber. To give you some more insight on the types of shower drains, keep on reading.

Types of Shower Floor Drains Based on Number of Pieces

Single-Piece Drain

In terms of components, the single-piece drain is the simplest. You can find this type in tiled shower bases that are placed over concrete floors. If concrete is exposed to water and moisture, it doesn’t suffer from damages. These drains have a strainer screwed into the recessed area of a pipe socket. The drain pipe is placed into this socket, and the strainer is connected to the top using screws.

Three-Piece Drain

Because of the similarity in construction, you can use a three-piece drain as a floor drain as well. This type fits a tiled shower flooring to an underlying shower pan, securing the wooden subfloor from mold, mildew, and rot. It has three parts that let you do adjustments depending on the tile’s thickness. The top part screws into the middle portion, which is then screwed into the shower base and pipe socket, found in the bottom portion of the drain.

Unlike other types, this should only be installed by professional plumbers because it is challenging to seal all parts properly. Doing it yourself might risk more damage and further costs.

Multi-Piece Shower Drain

Multi-Piece drains are the most complicated variation available. However, they are used in the simplest shower stalls, such as those with pre-molded bases or one-piece stalls. The drain consists of (from top to bottom) a strainer, a locking ring, a rubber compression gasket, a flange, a threaded drain body, a washer or rubber gasket, and a tightening nut.

The components from the strainer to the flange are installed above the floor of the shower area. The remaining parts are found under the shower, and these must be the first ones installed before the shower base is slid into place.

Types of Shower Floor Drains Based on Design

When it comes to design, there are more choices than you can imagine. However, they all fall into two main types: point drains and linear drains. It’s essential to learn that both drains can take water away with the same level of efficiency. Choosing between the two is more about personal preference in terms of design and budget. In general, point drains are cheaper than linear drains. Let’s talk about these a bit more.

Point Drains

These are the most common, and you probably have one in your shower. They are often placed in the middle of the shower floor, where the floor slopes from different directions, pointing down to the drain. 

Pro Tip: Go for square drain grates instead of round ones. Because tiles are square, having a square drain will look much better and you eliminate the need for having to make rounded cuts on the tile.

Linear Drains

The linear drain is long and narrow. It adds some style and uniqueness to the shower. These have become more and more popular in recent years. You can find these in the middle of the floor, too, but most homeowners place them along one side or wall of the shower area. The placement and design of linear drains suggest that the entire floor should slope a little bit, evenly, to the drain. There are no funnels. You can get these drains in different sizes and lengths, some as long as 72 inches!

Choosing a Finish & Style

Whether you go with a point or linear drain, you’ll need to choose which finish and style you want. This refers to the portion of the drain that is visible on the floor. You’ll want to make it match with the rest of your bathroom’s decor. This applies to the finish of the drain, so that everything ties together and has a continuous aesthetic flow.

For styles, this is a personal choice more than anything. There are so many to choose from. You can go for classic and timeless pieces or take a risk with more loud and bold designs.

Tileable Grate

There’s one more option that you can check out. Tileable grate presents a really sleek and aesthetic choice. If you use this, the same tile that you have for the shower floor adheres to a solid surface on the top of the grate. The water will basically drain around the edges of the grate. The tiled grate area can seamlessly blend in with the rest of the floor as if you haven’t added a separate drain at all. Minimalist decor will definitely get much use out of this option.