How to Install a Shower Drain
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Discover The Best Tips to Install a Shower Drain!
There are several options when choosing a shower drain to install your preformed shower tray. Your choice depends on your shower tray and your situation. And the type of plumbing you have in your home and the manufacturer's recommendations for your sink and shower drain can also help you determine which drain kit to buy.
Note that shower drain assemblies are generally made to fit 2-inch pipes, not the 1 1/2-inch pipe normally found in bathtubs. A 2-inch pipe is the recommended size because showers have a low flood threshold and a 2-inch pipe helps drain water faster than a 1/2-inch pipe. So if you are converting a bathtub/shower combination to a shower, you will probably need to resize the drain tube.
Each type of drain kit has its own installation method:
- Compression drains
- Solvent Bonded Drains
- Tile drains
What are you going to need
- Pipe saw or cutter
- channel locking pliers
- Caulking Gun
- Shower drain set
- silicone caulking
- Primer for plastic tubes (when needed)
- Solvent glue for plastic pipes (when needed)
How to install a compression style shower drain
Compression-type shower drains are connected to house drain pipes with compression washers and nuts. This style is generally easier to install than solvent-glued drains, especially if you don't have access to the basement or space for the area under the shower tray. Compression drain kits are available in ABS, PVC, or brass, although PVC is gradually becoming the most popular. Any of these types of materials can be used with steel, fiberglass, or acrylic shower trays.
When installing a compression shower drain, the drain connection is normally installed at the base of the shower before the base is placed in position.
1. Trim the drain pipe
For a compression shower drain connection, the drainpipe should reach approximately 3/4 to 1 inch below the edge of the shower drain (follow the manufacturer's recommendations). You may need to test the shower head adjustment to set the correct height and then remove the showerhead to cut the tube.
Cutting the drain tube can be done with a saw or a plastic pipe cutter. If you use a saw, be sure to cut so that it is flat and level.
2. Place the drain assembly
Apply a bead of silicone caulk around the top flange of the shower drain opening, then insert the drain assembly into the opening. Place the rubber sealing washer and cardboard friction washer over the end of the drain assembly under the showerhead. Screw the mounting nut onto the drain piece and tighten it with channel locking pliers.
Wipe off any excess sealant that may have run around the drain assembly.
3. Lay the shower base
Carefully position the showerhead so that the drain tube extends into the drain assembly.
4. Insert compression joint
Place the soft rubber compression gasket into the drain opening to fit the drain tube. Thread the compression nut into the drain opening and tighten. Compression-style drain connections usually come with a tool to help you tighten the nut from inside the drain. As you tighten, the rubber gasket compresses against the drain tube, creating a tight seal.
Place the grate in the drain opening. Let the silicone dry for 24 hours before using the shower.
How to Install a Solvent Bonded Shower Drain
Solvent Bonded Drain Assemblies are recommended only when you have under-shower access to an unfinished basement or access area. If you don't have this access, a compression-style drain set is a better option.
Solvent bonded shower drains are generally PVC plastic, although older ones may use ABS plastic. If you have a plastic drain pipe, be sure to match the shower drain to the plastic type of the drain system. As a compression-type shower drain, this type can be used with steel, fiberglass, and acrylic shower trays.
With solvent bonded fittings it can be more difficult to get the correct measurement of the pipe, so be sure to carefully measure and test the parts before joining.
1. Adjust the drain tube
Follow the manufacturer's recommendations to adjust the drain tube to the proper height. For many drain connections, this means trimming the pipe to the exact level of the subsurface.
2. Prepare the drain kit
Most solvent bonded shower drain assemblies come in several parts: a filter cap; an upper body that extends down through the drain opening at the base of the shower; and a lower part with female threads that thread into the upper part of the body, with a smooth female fitting that sticks to the drain pipe.
Begin by removing all parts of the drain assembly. Carefully set aside the cardboard friction washer and rubber seal washer.
3. Insert the upper part of the drain assembly body
Apply a bead of silicone caulk around the flange of the shower drain opening. Immediately place the upper body of the drain assembly into the drain opening and press down.
4. Fix the drain kit
Under the shower tray, place the rubber gasket, then the paper friction gasket, over the male threads on the top of the body. Then screw the lower body of the drain assembly onto the upper body. Tighten the drain assembly by screwing the pieces together until the silicone comes out around the flange of the drain opening.
Wipe off excess silicone. Place the metal grate on top of the drain assembly.
5. Glue the drain tube to the solvent drain assembly
From under the shower tray, spread plastic pipe primer around the outside edge of the drain pipe and around the inside surface of the smooth plug at the bottom of the drain body. Spread a thin coat of solvent glue on the same surfaces. Immediately slide the drain tube into the drain body fitting and hold it in place until the connection hardens. Allow solvent glue and silicone caulk to cure 24 hours before showering.
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