Story at a glance:

  • The single slope toward a linear drain opens up opportunities for tile choices while minimizing grout lines.
  • The QuickDrain ShowerLine linear drain system can be customized to add multiple drain outlets, increasing its flow-rate capacity.
  • Cooler chrome and nickel finishes are being replaced with trendy matte black and warmer-toned gold and bronze finishes.

These are five important factors to consider before specifying shower drains in commercial applications.

1. Tile Choice


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

When choosing a shower drain, the size of the tiles used in the shower can play a significant role in determining the appropriate drain. If large-format tiles are used, achieving an aesthetically pleasing installation around a round or square drain will be very difficult.

However, the single slope toward a linear drain opens up endless opportunities for tile choices, while also minimizing grout lines. By eliminating the four-way slope in the shower pan, a linear drain allows tilers to create an uninterrupted flow from the overall bathroom to the shower with large-format tile and solid surface materials.

Using a square drain instead of a circular center drain will open up some tile options, because it will be easier to install. After all, most tiles are also square-shaped. Consequently, the tiler will not need to cut a circular shape into the tile.

Conversely, smaller tiles, like one-by-one or smaller hexagon tile, may be easier to use with linear drains because the smaller tiles can be organized to fit around the drain with fewer cuts and no awkward gaps.

2. Drain Capacity


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

The importance of capacity when selecting a shower drain cannot be overstated. It is crucial that the drain can adequately handle the anticipated volume of drainage. Drains are designed to handle certain discharge rates, measured in gallons per minute (GPM).

While most standard showers do not require a high drain capacity, it becomes essential in large showers with multiple heads or body sprays. In such cases both the size of the drain pipe and the drain itself must be able to handle the GPM flow. It is important to ensure that both the drain pipe and the drain strainer are appropriately sized to handle the anticipated flow.

Choosing a drain with a higher flow rate than required can be unnecessarily costly, while choosing one with a lower flow rate can lead to clogs and other issues. Additionally, customized solutions and longer drains may be necessary for facilities like locker rooms with multiple showers to accommodate excess water flow.

The QuickDrain ShowerLine linear drain system can be customized to add multiple drain outlets, increasing its flow-rate capacity. QuickDrain’s drain-trough extensions enable installers to move the drain body side-to-side to avoid any site obstructions, while still providing wall-to-wall coverage recommended for efficient drainage.

3. Drain Profile


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

The drain profile plays a crucial role in the overall aesthetics of the space. It can also affect water flow into the drain. This is particularly important for a tile shower on a second floor.

In this application it’s essential to ensure the drain can be seamlessly integrated and still leave enough room for a P-trap. Since there is usually limited space between floors, opting for a lower-profile drain is advisable.

A great example of a low-profile floor drain is the Oatey 130 Series Low-Profile Drain. These drains are specifically designed for tight spaces, making them ideal for retrofits and renovations.

4. Versatility/Onsite Adjustability


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

When choosing a shower drain for commercial applications, be sure to consider adjustability at the point of installation. Often overlooked, this factor can greatly impact the efficiency of pre-formed shower bases or pans when converting bathtubs to showers in commercial spaces.

In most cases plumbing and fixture layouts differ from bathroom to bathroom, making it difficult to find custom-sized, pre-formed shower bases or pans that fit perfectly. Therefore a drain system that offers onsite adjustability through customizable components, such as a tub-to-shower conversion kit, is much more convenient.

Finding a solution that accommodates off-center drains is also essential, especially in buildings constructed with post-tensioned slabs, where core-drilling is not an option. One solution is a site-sizable linear drain body that can be customized to adapt to existing drain locations while also covering up off-center drains. Extensions and covers may be trimmed onsite after the PVC body is installed, making it easy to provide wall-to-wall coverage.

5. Current Design Trends


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

Current design trends will likely influence the commercial drains you specify.

The “changing of the guard” is currently happening gradually, with some finishes that were popular a few years ago finding increased longevity due to pandemic-related supply chain issues.

However, overall cooler chrome and nickel finishes are being replaced with trendy matte black and warmer-toned gold and bronze finishes, which offer warmth and personality.

Traditional designs and finishes are also growing in popularity, with brushed and matte finishes giving a more lived-in, timeless look. Brighter, more vibrant colors like blues and greens are being incorporated into bathrooms, while aged bronze and gold elements can be used as hardware or accessories.

The idea of personal wellness is also driving design, with bathrooms becoming more like personal sanctuaries, and designers going bolder with their selections to express their personalities. Being bold can bend the rules, with mixed finishes like matte black with gold or bronze accents popping up all over.

QuickDrain’s expanded line of decorative covers and finishes is available for linear and SquareDrains. These products complement all major design trends, including mid-century modern, industrial, contemporary, and modern farmhouse.

Learn more about Oatey Co.


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