The water flowing down your shower drain needs a proper outlet connection; otherwise, you risk flooding your home. Regarding showers, there are tons of drains nowadays. Unlike the standard round or square drain, a linear shower drain offers flexibility in its placement. Installing a linear drain, unlike other drain types, gives you options for placement, size, and type of installation.


Things You Should Know

  • The installation will take several days because the mortar needs time to dry properly, so the bathroom mustn’t be used during this time.
  • Like any drain, the floor must slant toward the drain to ensure quick and proper water flow out of the shower.



Measure and Mark the Drain Location. Locate and mark your choice location of the drain. Linear shower drains are installed in four ways: one-sided wall, free floor, three-sided wall, and shower entrance floor-mounted. Depending on your preferred style, you may need to relocate the current drain lines.


Calculate the Drain Height and Cut a Drain Hole. Calculate and measure the drain height so that the top of the drain will sit 1/16-inch below the adjacent tile before the grate cover is added. This is to be perfectly level with the surrounding tile.

  • Use a drill with a hole saw bit to make clean, precise circular cuts through the plywood to relocate the drain line.
  • Make a 3 ½-inch hole with the center of the drain, preferably 2 ¼ inches from the sill plate on the wall.
  • Glide the base drain into the drain line and insert the linear drain to take an accurate height measurement.


Install Tar Paper and Wire Lath. Cut tar paper that will wrap the plywood subfloor. Don’t miss the corners and the shower walls’ base. This tar paper layer will stop the plywood floor from absorbing moisture from the shower pan mortar mix. Use wire cutters to cut a sheet of wire lath so that it can lay on the tar paper and stabilize the shower pan mortar mixture.


Connect and Insert the Base Drain. Before adding the shower pan mortar mix, slot the base drain and reconnect to the drain line. Pour in some water to confirm leaks. The fit should be tight enough that you don’t need drain glue, but you can use some to seal the parts together.


Create a Sloping Floor. Build a wetter mortar bed mix and a thin-set mortar and install the tiles. Create a gradient of between 1 and 2% towards the drain. When the pre-pan mortar is flat and leveled rightly, leave it to set. Also, build stable and rigid support under the linear shower drain trench and flanges for the two ends of the drain and one for the one closest to the wall.


Install Waterproof Liner and Clamping Ring. Cut and install a waterproof liner on the pre-pan mortar. It should extend at least 6 inches up the sides of the shower wall.

  • Fasten the edges of the liner to the walls to prevent it from sliding down out of position.
  • Cut a small slit in the liner over the bolts on the base drain, then push the liner over the bolts to keep the liner in place.
  • Cut a hole through the liner the same size as the opening of the base drain, then secure the clamping ring to the base drain to hold the liner in place and create a watertight seal.


Add the Top-Pan Mortar and Tiles. Mark the gradient lines and compact the mortar up to the marked lines. Level the drain and establish the gradient height. Finish installing the shower tiles and ensure that the linear drain channel is level and ensure that it is 1/16th of an inch below the shower floor tiles.


Seal the Drain and Place the Grate Cover. Seal the joint between the tiled floor and the drain with a bead of silicone caulk, then add the linear drain floor grate cover. If done correctly, the 1/16-inch height difference should be made up with the installation of the grate cover, giving you a perfectly level shower floor.

Related Content: How to Install Double Sink Plumbing


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