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Expert Tips for a Perfect Curbless Installation of a Shower Linear Drain

Written by Warmup Inc on August 15th, 2023 | Uncategorized

Having a seamless, sleek and modern bathroom design is now easier than ever with the introduction of curbless showers with linear drains. These configurations provide an elegant and minimalist aesthetic to any bathroom space while also enhancing safety, accessibility, and drainage.

Installing a curbless shower with a linear drain requires careful planning and precise execution in order to achieve perfect results, but the end result is well worth it!
This article provides expert tips on how to create the perfect installation for your own luxury linearly drained shower with a heated shower floor.

What is a Linear Drain?

A linear shower drain, also known as a linear drain or trench drain, is a type of drain that is long and narrow, typically installed along the length or width of the shower area. Unlike traditional round or square shower drains that require the shower floor to slope from all directions towards the drain, a linear drain only requires a single slope.

Benefits of a Curbless Shower with Linear Drain

Aesthetic Benefits: Sleek and Nuanced Appearance

The first visual impression of a curbless shower with a linear drain is often its sleek minimalism. The absence of a raised threshold creates an open, airy feel. This sense of uninterrupted flow is further enhanced by the use of a linear drain.

Its elongated, slim design blends harmoniously with the clean lines of a curbless shower, contributing to the overall minimalist aesthetic.

Increased Safety

A curbless shower layout removes the common elevated division that usually sets apart the shower zone from the rest of the bathroom. This configuration is especially beneficial for individuals dealing with mobility restrictions, such as older adults or those with physical disabilities, as it permits unobstructed entry to the shower without the hurdle of stepping over a high border.

As a result, this minimizes the chance of stumbling and potential accidents, making the shower markedly safer to use.


A curbless design allows for a seamless, barrier-free transition between the shower area and the rest of the bathroom.

Installation and Design Flexibility

Curbless showers with linear drains provide an expansive canvas for design creativity. The linear drain can be positioned in various locations — against a wall, at the entrance of the shower, or anywhere in between — providing you with the flexibility to tailor the shower layout according to your preferences.

The single slope required for a linear drain also allows for the use of larger format tiles, enhancing the sleek appearance and enabling a multitude of tile design possibilities.

Preparing for a Curbless Shower with Linear Drain Installation

Layout Design

The layout design of your curbless shower will depend on various factors, including the size of your bathroom, the placement of existing plumbing, and your personal aesthetic preferences. The placement of the linear drain is a critical aspect of this planning process.

You can choose to place the linear drain against the wall, at the entrance of the shower, or anywhere in between depending on the desired flow of water and your chosen aesthetic. The layout design should also consider the size and shape of your tiles, as larger tiles require less grout and offer a more seamless appearance.

Slope Calculation

The slope of your shower floor is crucial for directing water towards the drain effectively and preventing water from pooling or spilling onto the bathroom floor. For a curbless shower with a linear drain, the shower floor needs to be sloped from one side towards the drain, allowing water to flow off efficiently.

The standard slope for a shower floor is 1/4 inch per foot, meaning for every foot from the drain, the floor should drop 1/4 inch. This slope ensures optimal water drainage while providing a comfortable and safe surface to stand on. Accurate slope calculation is essential for the functionality of your shower and should be carried out with precision.

Waterproofing Considerations

Waterproofing is a critical step in the installation of a curbless shower with a linear drain to prevent water damage and potential mold growth. There are several methods of waterproofing a shower, including the use of a waterproof membrane, paint-on liquid waterproofing, or waterproofing boards.

The chosen waterproofing method should completely seal the shower area, including the corners and the connection with the linear drain.

Furthermore, the waterproofing layer should extend beyond the shower area onto the bathroom floor, ensuring that any water that manages to escape the shower area doesn’t seep into the subfloor. Waterproofing not only protects the structural integrity of your bathroom but also extends the lifespan of your curbless shower.

Installation Steps for a Curbless Shower with Linear Drain

The installation of a curbless shower with a linear drain involves several steps that must be completed with precision to ensure the shower’s functionality and durability. From preparing the subfloor to installing the drain, each step is crucial to the final result.

Subfloor Preparation

  1. The subfloor serves as the foundation for your curbless shower and must be prepared correctly to ensure a successful installation. It is important that the subfloor is clean, stable, and level before beginning the installation process.
  2. Cleaning: Begin by cleaning the subfloor to remove any debris, dust, or old adhesive that might interfere with the bond of new materials.
  3. Leveling: Use a level to check the flatness of the subfloor. Any dips or rises may need to be corrected using a self-leveling compound to provide a smooth and even surface. Slope Creation: For a curbless shower with a linear drain, a single slope is required. The slope should direct water towards the drain and is typically a quarter-inch drop per foot. This slope can be created using a pre-sloped shower pan or a mortar bed. Ensure the slope is consistent and directs water efficiently towards the intended drain location.


Waterproofing the shower area is crucial to prevent potential water damage to the structural components of the bathroom. This process involves applying a waterproof membrane to create a watertight barrier.

  1. Applying the Membrane: The waterproofing membrane should be applied to the entire shower area, including the floor, walls, and corners.
  2. Sealing the Edges: Pay special attention to edges and corners, ensuring they are properly sealed to prevent any potential leaks. This often involves applying additional membrane material or waterproof sealant.
  3. Extending the Membrane: To ensure comprehensive protection, the waterproofing membrane should also extend beyond the shower area onto the main bathroom floor.

Drain Installation

The installation of the linear drain is a critical part of the process. Proper drain installation is necessary to ensure efficient water flow and prevent leaks.

  1. Cutting the Channel: Start by cutting a channel in the subfloor where the drain will be placed. The size of this channel should correspond to the size of the linear drain.
  2. Connecting the Drain Body: The drain body is then connected to the plumbing system. This should be done following the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a secure fit. Ensure the drain is set at the proper height to account for all the membranes and finished tile work.
  3. Alignment and Support: Once the drain body is connected, it needs to be properly aligned with the slope of the shower floor and secured in place. It should be well supported to prevent any movement or shifting over time.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when working with specific products, and consider hiring a professional if you are unsure about any aspect of the installation process.

Before Tiling, Consider Adding Radiant Floor Heating to the Shower

Radiant floor heating offers several advantages that go beyond mere comfort. Here are a few key benefits:

  • Comfort: Stepping onto a warm floor, especially during the colder months, can transform your shower experience, making it more enjoyable and comfortable.
  • Energy Efficiency: Radiant floor heating systems can be more energy-efficient than traditional forced-air heating systems because they heat the room from the ground up and eliminate heat loss through ducts.
  • Reduced Moisture: By maintaining a warm surface, radiant floor heating can help reduce moisture on your shower floor, thereby decreasing the potential for slips and falls. This also helps prevent mold growth.

Incorporating Radiant Floor Heating with Your Curbless Shower

Installing radiant floor heating during your curbless shower construction is straightforward and can be seamlessly integrated with your existing plans. Here’s how:

  1. Choosing the Right System: Warmup offers systems like the DCM-PRO Membrane, which can be used with a variety of floor types, including tiles, and is perfect for wet areas such as showers.
  2. Installation: The heating system should be installed on top of the waterproofing layer but beneath the tiles. This allows the heat to rise directly through the tile, warming the surface efficiently. Ensure the heating cables are evenly spaced for consistent heating and remember to avoid placing heating wires directly under the linear drain.
  3. Testing: Once the system is installed, it’s important to test it to ensure proper functionality before proceeding with the tiling process.
  4. Temperature Control: With a dedicated thermostat, you can control the temperature of your radiant floor heating to your liking, ensuring a warm, comfortable surface every time you step into the shower.

Adding radiant floor heating to your curbless shower with a linear drain installation can greatly enhance your bathroom experience. Not only does it provide exceptional comfort, but it also offers safety and efficiency benefits. Remember, professional installation is recommended to ensure the system is installed correctly and safely.

Craft a Luxurious Linearly Drained, Curbless Heated Shower Floor with Warmup

If you’re looking to create a luxurious, modern bathroom experience, consider incorporating a linear drain and Warmup radiant floor heating into your curbless shower. Installing radiant floor heating in your shower can provide enhanced comfort, energy efficiency, and safety benefits that are sure to take your showering experience to the next level. Visit our website today to learn more!


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