A conventional shower pan must be sloped on four sides toward the drain, which limits the layout of the shower. A linear drain, however, allows for much more creativity. In this article, senior editor Justin Fink discusses some of the specific advantages of linear drains: The slope is only in one direction, large tiles can be used on the shower floor, and a barrier-free entry is easier to build. He acknowledges the huge cost difference ($15 for a conventional drain vs. $500 for a linear drain), but reports that manufacturers claim that this difference will be less in the end because of the reduced labor costs incurred with a simpler one-way slope. Fink then looks at four installation styles for linear drains, each of which is illustrated with a detailed drawing: extension style, clamp ring, bonded flange, and metal flange. Photos show specific products with unique features: site-sizable drain kits, tile-in grates, debris-catching strainers, and drain bodies with a side-outlet waste.
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