What are the Disadvantages of Linear Shower Drains?

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the Disadvantages of Linear Shower Drains
Potential disadvantages of changing to a linear shower drain

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Linear Shower Drains?

A linear shower drain is another style and shape of a drain. It’s designed to give a shower a minimal, seamless look some people are choosing for their bathrooms. It’s being considered more often as a luxury look and style for plumbing. Even a number of hotels and resorts are putting linear shower drains in. Some like the clean, neat look. In some showers, it’s efficient and functional. Is it a good idea, a good upgrade, for you? It’s helpful to look at the disadvantages of linear shower drains, too, before renovating your shower.

Linear Drain Disadvantages


Cleaning and upkeep can be a drag with a linear shower drain compared to a more conventional center circular drain. Longer drains mean that the rate of water draining out will be slower. You’ll likely need to be on the lookout for hair, dirt or any other material or products which could run into the drain. This could regularly slow the drain more or create a clog. As the drain itself with a linear drain is very long, it could well take more time and frequency to clean. This isn’t an issue most people expect when switching to a linear drain. It’s not exactly what you see yourself having to spend more time on.

Containing Water in the Shower

Water containment is a concern. Unlike normal showers where there’s a curb to keep the water in, this isn’t what you’ll have in a linear draining shower. It’s typically built to be open and sloped. If the drain isn’t installed correctly, you may wind up with water running outside of your shower. It’s not going to be the experience you want. One way to handle this problem is to put in a vertical or rain shower head fixture so the water flow is easier to control in the space you have. If an expert installs the linear drain and renovates the shower as needed, this might not be a problem at all.

Privacy Please

Showers with linear drains are usually meant to be and designed as “open” showers. You could wind up foregoing your sense of personal privacy. So, if you want or need privacy in the shower, you certainly need to know exactly how this new set-up will work.

With showers that are usually “open” any person who walks into the bathroom will see you. If you have an open door policy in your household, then this should not be that much of a problem. On the other hand, in most homes for most families, if you need privacy or have a lot of other considerations about a shower which needs to be closed when it should be closed, a linear drain might not be a feasible option.

Installation Issues with Linear Shower Drains

Installation of a new linear drain has to be exact. This type of drain can only work well if it has the space and proper dimensions for letting water flow through the drain and into a trough or drain system below the shower flooring. From there, the water drains away into the home’s main plumbing system.

So, knowing that, the renovating and installing all needs to be very specialized and precise. If not, not only will the new drain not work, or look, well, but it could create a variety of other problems for your bathroom and plumbing. This requires additional money in addition to the cost of the project to begin with.

Another potential problem of a linear shower drain is it may function inconsistently. Linear drains have water run through the trough below. This can have more hair, dirt, sludge and mold build up than a conventional drain. This might require more time and effort cleaning than you might expect.

the Disadvantages of Linear Shower Drains
Is it a good idea, a good upgrade, for you?

Linear Drains or Center Drains

This choice certainly depends on what’s most important to you. If you’re looking at it in terms of practicality, and not style or aesthetics, most showers and most bathrooms in most houses should stick with center draining showers. They are less expensive, more efficient and easier to deal with day-to-day. Some cost as little as $10. They typically last a reliably long span of time. Linear drain costs begin at about $100 and that’s not factoring in the labor, install and maybe even reconstruction costs.

Installing a new center drain is simple. Any good tile or bathroom person can take care of putting in a new center drain without a problem. Linear drains, however, require specialized work and a higher level of labor, or else you could be very sorry later. Standard center drains need little to no special maintenance or extra cleaning. They are able to self drain and are reliable. Linear shower drain and the systems with it need more cleaning and upkeep.


Linear shower drains are designed and meant to be flush with the ceramic tile so they make one even surface throughout your shower. They are recommended by the Americans with Disabilities Act for people who are better off with a safer shower.

With this style of shower, you can be creative with the total look of your bathroom. If you want this new look and know the pros and cons, it could well be a fit. It’s good to know the potential cons or disadvantages, too. You don’t want a project to become a huge hassle, more expensive or a change which turns into a safety issue or hazard later.

South End Plumbing specializes in drain cleaning, tankless water heaters and detecting problems, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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