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preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Posted by lori_inthenw (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 21:10

We are getting close to having to spec this. I've read several threads on the topic, but some are from several years ago, so I want to get the latest info and experience from those in the know.

Quick Drain? Or the one by Laticrete? Others? When I first started looking into this, it seemed there was only one I could easily find and it was on the order of 600.00. Then Laticrete came out with one closer to 400. Yay for competition! Are those still the options or are there others to consider?

Pros and cons of the grate showing as opposed to those with the sliver of tile to cover? Aesthetics or function?

Do I have to know the plan for the waterproofing in order to make this decision?

Background info: Shower is walk-through to tub, no curb, large format tiles (yes I will consider coefficient of friction). New construction, concrete floors, hydronic heat.

What else do I need to be thinking of?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Take a look at the Schluter linear drain website. They have some gorgeous photos of large tile linear drains, where you can barely see the drain. We selected the grate type linear drain because we have little 2" square floor tiles, but if our floor had been larger tiles we would've gone the other way. There is one made by another mfg. that has colored LED lights around it (!) not quite my style, but the plumbing supplier also had a shower head equipped with blue tooth!!! OBTW, we've been using ours for over a month and are very pleased with it. The little hair strainer is easy to get at and clean.

Someone recently posted a pic of a centered square drain with tile on top and drain channels around the edges which looked pretty cool too.

-Babka


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

I'm in same boat, got to order in next few days. Currently looking at ACO brand, has the screen and LED if you like such things. Our shower is also a walk in, no curb.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Consider the drain to be part of a system tied in to your choice of waterproofing membrane. And I do recommend you go with a topiclal membrane.

If you are using Hydroban for your membrane, go with the Laticrete drain. Same with Kerdi and the Schluter drain.

ACO makes the "cool" drains. A bit of pizazz. The only nitpick I have with them versus, for example the Laticrete drain, is the flange around the drain and how the membrane ties in to the flange.

Quickdrain, their installation can be a little tricky, but they are also the only one that I've read complaints about water and suds sheeting right over the drain grate and out onto the bathroom floor. That's when the drain has been installed the the shower door threshold.

If you like the look of the drain, for ease of installation and for integrity of the shower as a whole, I'd recommend the Laticrete drain with Hydroban as your waterproofing membrane. You have the option of a "tile in" drain to match the floor tile in the shower, or going with a typical perforated drain grate.

Simply for waterproofing, my second would be Schluter/Kerdi, though I'm not a tremendous fan of the aesthetics of the Kerdi linear drain.

Third ACO.

And an important note: It's not that you're going to go wrong with any of them. When properly detailed, they'll all work well. So if one floats your boat design-wise more than another, go with what makes you happy. Just read up on how the drains need to be installed (some are more peculiar than others) and makes sure the floor framing in the shower is built to accommodate the drain, if in fact accommodations need to be made.

My preference would be cement board on the shower walls. A sloped mud floor, sloped to the linear drain. And a topical waterproofing over the floor and walls to provide protection. Then tile on the membrane.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Thanks for the input. (Mongo, I was hoping you'd see this). Our GC is very meticulous, he wants to make sure he has the drain on site very early so he can think it all through and make sure all the pre-work is done properly. I need to talk to him about the specific plan for the waterproofing system.

We are not doing a "wet room" per se, but I do want the waterproofing to extend out a ways, since we'll have a glass panel, but no shower door. Drain will be along wall, not at shower entry.

Showing my ignorance here, but does the waterproofing cover all the floor in the room plus shower walls? Or just shower floor and walls? It's not a large room.

I need to draw this out in Sketchup, but have family visiting at the moment, so it will be another week or two. Then I'll follow up with questions about detailed placement of the shower head. I know there may be some splashing, but I don't want to have an actual door.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

"We are not doing a "wet room" per se, but I do want the waterproofing to extend out a ways...Drain will be along wall, not at shower entry.

...does the waterproofing cover all the floor in the room plus shower walls? Or just shower floor and walls? It's not a large room. "

Since your drain will be at the back of the shower, just consider the size of your shower and location of the shower heads. If you think you'll get over spray or splash outside the shower door and on the bathroom floor, then certainly extend the waterproofing outside the door a bit.

With curbless, it does make sense to extend the waterproofing across the shower threshold and into the bathroom a bit. It's easy to do, and a nice touch.

If you're doing Laticrete and the bathroom floor will be tile over cement board, just run the Hydroban out of the shower door and onto the cement board on the bathroom floor. If it's not a clean or smooth transition from the sloped shower floor mud to the level bathroom floor cement board, you'll probably need a piece of reinforcing fabric to make the transition.

On Laticrete's website, they have a good PDF for Hydroban with details regarding fabrics, etc.

If you're doing Schluter, then you can do Ditra on the bathroom floor as an uncoupling and waterproof membrane, and when you Kerdi the shower floor extend the Kerdi 3-4" out onto the Ditra.

Or you can omit Ditra and just use cement board on the bathroom floor. When the shower floor gets Kerdied, just extend the Kerdi out onto the cement board on the bathroom floor for a few feet.

Since you haven't settled on a drain, you and/or your GC can review the installation instructions for the various drains, or your GC can get input from his tile guy. Note how the drain gets set on the subfloor. Note how the membranes bond to the drain flanges. You'll see that some are pretty straightforward. Others require a bit of dickering. Or they require "special parts" to complete the installation.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Thanks so much, Mongo! I just looked at the Hydroban videos, so have a better understanding now of how that option works. This will be on a newly constructed slab, so no cement board on the floor. Does that change any of your advice? The Laticrete option sounds good to me, not sure what our tile guy was planning to use or is familiar with, but I'll find out. (Seems like he could just spread the Hydroban over the whole floor.)

Questions:
1. is the Laticrete solution one of the simpler installations? Our project is time and materials, so no point saving a few dollars if install time increases.

2. Is there any downside to the tile-covered drain in comparison to the slatted metal? Anything trickier about the install? I like the way it is almost invisible, just wonder about performance

Thanks again for your time, I really appreciate your advice..


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

1) Yes, the drain is straightforward, just get the rough-in dimensions correct and all should go well. Hydroban? Very easy.

2) I've neither heard nor read about any negatives regarding the tile-in drain. Just get your grout lines on the drain to match the grout lines on the sloped floor.

You're welcome, and good luck!


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Forgot to add: I'm sure your GC will know this, but typically, if you want a no-curb and you're building on a slab, you'll box out the part of the slab where he shower will go. This will create a recessed or dropped down area in your bathroom floor slab that is the size of the shower floor. The recess will be a few inches lower than the bathroom floor.

The plumbing gets roughed in, all the prep work is completed, etc.

When it's time to set the drain, set it, then infill around it with sloped deck mud to fill the recess and create the sloped shower floor.

Although a lot of people do, I don't bond tile directly to a concrete slab-on-grade. I'll use a membrane (like Ditra or something equivlent) to transition between the slab and the tile.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Thanks, Mongo, I believe the recessed area is what the contractor described to me (though less articulately and in less detail!) I think that is why he wants the drain decision soon, so he can make sure to allow for the right space/depth, etc.

What is the advantage of using the membrane on top of the slab? (This would be on top of the hydroban layer on top of the slab, correct?) Is it a "belt and suspenders" approach regarding potential movement/cracking? Does it matter if the slab has hydronic heat in it or not? Thanks for your help. We will meet with our GC later this week and I will find out what the plan is for the shower and waterproofing.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Sorry to hijack a little but we are also going with a linear drain. This is great info, Mongo. Our shower will be about 73" on the long side where the drain is but the GC wants me to buy a shorter drain, about 5 feet, as he is a little hesitant for me to buy custom to exact length and not have it fit during construction of the walk in shower. Will that work?


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

"What is the advantage of using the membrane on top of the slab? (This would be on top of the hydroban layer on top of the slab, correct?) Is it a "belt and suspenders" approach regarding potential movement/cracking? Does it matter if the slab has hydronic heat in it or not?"

Lori,

You're doing a small bathroom, so it may not be terribly important. But in a larger area a membrane like Ditra will act as an uncoupling membrane. It will isolate any shrinkage cracks (cracks that can occur in the first few years as a new slab cures) and even small structural cracks, as long as the structural cracks are more horizontal versus vertical. By isolating, it'll prevent those cracks in the slab from telegraphing through to the tile and grout bonded directly to the slab.

Ditra will also act as a waterproof membrane. So if you put it on your bathroom (non shower) floor, you would not also use Hydroban under or over the Ditra.

You'd Hydroban the sloped shower floor, and at the curbless entry, simply apply fabric over the seam and paint the HB on the first 4" or so of the Ditra to cover the HB/Ditra seam.

If the slab had Hydronic heat within it, then I would definitely recommend Ditra. It's only 1/8" thick so there's really no insulative value to it that will restrict heat transfer up to the tile. But Ditra's uncoupling capability will help absorb any thermal or movement stresses that could build up between the slab and the tile.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

"Our shower will be about 73" on the long side where the drain is but the GC wants me to buy a shorter drain, about 5 feet, as he is a little hesitant for me to buy custom to exact length and not have it fit during construction of the walk in shower. Will that work?"

divotdiva,

Typically the drain should run the entire length of the wall. If it didn't, you could possibly get a little water pooling in the corners. You could kick the corners up a little bit (1/8" for that 6" section) if you were nervous, but with large format tiles that would result in unwanted cut lines.

But again, you're only looking at about 6" on either side of the drain, so it's not a huge deal.

In the past I've done large showers where I've installed two drains side-by-side. There were no drainage issues with the couple of inches of tile between the two drains.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Thanks again, Mongo. Now I am really looking forward to asking the tile guy if he's planning on using an uncoupling membrane!


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Yes thanks Mongo. That's what I thought - it usually goes entire length of shower. I'll look at the two side by side, I think that would look OK even with a little tile in between. I'm having hard time finding an ACO dealer (Hawaii) so I'm going to have to order and ship it in from the mainland myself. One local shop told me 6-8 week lead time to order. Difficult to order custom length when it takes that long! I saw one brand that can be exact cut to fit during site installation, but not sure how reliable they are.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Got the ACO today from a California company. In stock and 2-3 days to ship. They have already returned my email questions. Just waiting on input from our GC before I tell them to ship to make sure I get the right edge. Who has 8 weeks to wait on one part?!!


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Lori_inthenw,

In your #2 question above regarding if there is any downside to the tile covered drain vs the slotted metals, the answer is Maybe. The tile-in drain can have a lower gpm (gallon per minute) rating than the slotted drain. If the gpm rating is NOT listed with the specs of the particular drain you are considering, email the company's tech support and get the rating for that.

You will need to know your total gpm capabilities if you have everything on at the same time. Say you have a main shower head, a hand held and / or rain head plus some body sprays all at either 2.25 or 2.5 gpm EACH. That adds up. So your total usage could vary between 5gpm to over 12gpm. Now all of the linear drains I've looked up were a greater gpm than a standard square drain or round. But all of them I was considering had reduced gpm when the tile was inserted. Maybe the specs have improved since we completed the tile work this Janurary, but check that out. More so with the square and round drains than the linear, but the gpm rating varied even with the diffetent slotted patterns.

Another thing that makes this answer a maybe is the skill of the tile setter. One of the showrooms that had one on display had the tile cut a bit off and it made the drain more obvious instead of blending in. So it just takes some finesse in cutting to make it blend in with existing seams. But sure is nice looking when done correctly.

When we were looking at these linear drains, a few of the manufacturers had just released these and the gpm info was missing. We had to contact the tech support dept to find that out.

I'm sure your cautious GC has this covered but check your total shower, as well as a tub if you have one, with your water tank or tankless system output. There is a formula to the tankless variety and we had to upgrade the initial tankless system we were initially going for, to accommodate the shower capability.

Good luck on your project. Early research and making sure all of your various elements go well together, is the key to making it all work well, which you are doing.

By the way, we used Noble Company membrane but we were doing a steam shower so needed a water AND vapourproofing membrane. We also used a Noble membrane under the heated floor which that was a very thin, aprox 1/16 inch thick, on first floor slab, that provided the suggested insulation for our heated floor and as a bonus was also an anti fracture membrane for the tile. We got it direct from Noble but Dal-Tile has most of their series that is rebadged Noble products.

We also researched and found a better stone tile sealer for our use with a stone shower and water/vapor proofing membrane. We were concerned that we might be creating a sandwich that would allow mildew or mold to grow in-between our sealed layers without a way to evaporate. That sealer was 'Stain Proof' by Dry-Treat and is created to seal the stone and grout yet allow evaporation. Works great.


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RE: preferred brand/model for linear shower drain?

Thanks, Cindalla-- I don't think our gpm will be an issue. We're on an island with a well, so will be using as little water as we can!

Mongo, I talked to the GC this weekend. He usually uses the same tile guy and I've seen his work. On their last project together, they used the Laticrete linear drain. Sounds like he does use cement board, even on a slab, to prevent any cracks from telegraphing. He uses RedGuard instead of Hydroban.

How does that combo strike you? (Can't remember if I told you we are planning to use 12 x 24 tiles for both floors and walls.)


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