Tips for Installing a Shower Drain Assembly

December 25 2020

Renovating a bathroom can be exciting as well as fulfilling if you’re tackling the job DIY-style. After you cross off the bigger decisions such as tile style, paint colors, and fixtures, you’ll need to finalize smaller details – such as the shower drain. In this article, we’re sharing some tips for selecting and installing the right drain assembly for your updated shower.

Shower Drain Cleaning

What is a shower drain assembly?

Shower bases or pans typically only come with a pre-drilled drain hole. Since the pan slopes toward the drain, you should consider the placement – left, center, or right – when designing your shower. You’ll need to purchase and install a shower drain assembly that connects the shower pan to the drain pipe underneath the shower. There are a few types of assemblies, which will cover in a bit.

Size of a shower drain

When it comes to installing drains, size matters. The recommended pipe size for a shower drain is 2 inches, whereas most tubs use 1.5-inch pipes. Why the difference? Since shower pans are shallower than tubs, there’s a higher risk for overflow. So, the larger pipe allows for quicker draining. If you are replacing an old tub with a newer stand-up shower, you will need to make additional plumbing adjustments to accommodate the 2-inch pipe.

Types of shower drain assemblies

There are three common types of shower drain assemblies: compression shower drain, solvent-glue shower drain, and tile shower drain. The layout, design, and materials of your shower can determine which type of shower drain assembly will work best.

1. Compression shower drain – This type of assembly attaches to the drain pipe with compression washers and nuts. The drain fitting is typically installed into the base, and then the base is installed into the bathroom floor. This makes compression-style drains easier to install than other options, particularly if you don’t have easy access from the floor under the shower base. Drains are available in a wide range of materials such as PVC, ABS, and brass, and can be used for acrylic, fiberglass, and steel shower bases.

2. Solvent-glued shower drain – Made of either PVS or ABS, this type of shower drain is sealed to the drain pipe with solvent glue and silicone. Since you’ll be working underneath the drain pan, we only recommend using this type of drain if you have access under the shower, such as from a basement or crawlspace. It’s also important that you match the type of plastic of the drain with the drainpipe. If you take these precautions, you can install a solvent-glued drain assembly with acrylic, fiberglass, and steel shower bases.

3. Tile shower drain – Drain assemblies for custom tile showers feature a waterproof membrane liner placed between two flanges. The tile is installed on top of the liner, collecting any water that seeps through the porous grout. A metal strainer is installed in line with the tile over the drain.

Plumber for bathroom remodels

Remodeling a bathroom is a lot of work. If you need help making sure your new plumbing is installed correctly – including the shower drain – Emergency Plumbing & Solar is happy to lend a hand (and our expertise). We proudly serve Oahu and Maui, so schedule an appointment today at (808) 691-9309.