What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Linear Shower Drain?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

When you are having work done on your bathroom, there are a ton of decisions to be made. They can be huge decisions or ones that feel smaller in nature. More often than not, people tend to not think about their shower drains.

But there may be a lot of benefits to be had by installing a linear shower drain as opposed to a center shower drain. Linear shower drains are much safer and better at draining water than their counterpart. That said, the water is not contained without the curb and they can be quite a bit more difficult to clean than center drains.

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What is a Linear Shower Drain?

To the uninitiated, it may seem as though all shower drains are the same. After all, how complicated can something that takes water away from your home be, right? Well, there are several different types of drains that are suitable based on your home and the terrain on which it is constructed.

A linear drain is a water egress or exit that is an elongated rectilinear form of drain. Basically, it captures the water flow and moves it towards a single exit point. The goal ultimately is to create an efficient delivery method for liquid moving away from your shower basin.

The Pros of Linear Shower Drains

The good thing about linear shower drains is that they have a plethora of good traits. They are a common choice for installing in most applications. If you are on the fence about potentially using a linear shower drain, here are the many positives of going with one.

Easy, Versatile Installation

Perhaps the biggest plus of linear shower drains is that they can be installed just about anywhere. Moreover, they are super easy to install. That is because the shower floor only needs to be sloped in the direction of the drain.

For center drains, for instance, you would need to slop the floor in all four directions so that it funnels towards the center of the shower. The singular slope makes installation much quicker and easier, saving you on labor and installation costs along the way.


Even for experienced DIYers, you might not think about how your shower drain lines can be placed. One of the selling points for linear shower drains is that they can be laid in nearly countless different ways, making them one of the most versatile drain types out there.

Compared to center drains, the other common choice for drains, they don’t have to be placed in a singular spot. Linear drains mean that you can choose to install them anywhere that you want to place them.


Have a shower that needs you to step up over a curb to get into it? No matter how tall it is, the curb presents the chance for a fall. Even if you don’t trip, you can still stub your toe, hit your ankle, and more. It is an annoyance at best and a hazard at worse.

Linear shower drains require no curbs. While it might not seem like that big of a deal, it can be. For those who struggle with mobility – older people or those coming off surgery, for instance – it can make a huge deal.


Another major reason that people opt for a linear shower drain is its safety. That is because this type of shower drain is compliant with the American Disability Act. So, it is safe to reason that if these drains are safe for those with disabilities, they are safe for just about anyone else.

Linear shower drains make it easier to get in and out of the shower. They can make the quality of life that much better for those dealing with disabilities or mobility issues. There should be no fear of injury or falling when getting in and out of the shower.

When linear shower drains are properly installed, the channel cover should be able to support the weight of most. That means no raised edges to trip on or potentially cut your feet on. All combining to create a safer shower experience.

General Appeal

If all of the aforementioned reasons were not enough to convince you of how good linear shower drains are, there is more. For one, they appeal to a huge range of people because designers can use the same tile from the floor of the shower in the rest of the bathroom.

Using the same tiling is done through what is known as a tile-in option. You won’t see visual disturbances that can interfere with the visual flow of the flooring. Any size of tile can be used during installation, even slab material.

For those who put a lot of stock in the aesthetic of their bathroom, this can make a huge difference. With a linear shower drain, you can not only get all the practical benefits that they have to offer, but the visual aspects as well.

Less Prone to Leaks

When it comes to piping in your home, whether bathroom or kitchen, you want to avoid leaks wherever possible. A huge benefit to installing a linear shower drain is that they are much less susceptible to issues with leaking.

Center drains, for instance, face these issues far more often. Though there is a certain appeal to center drains, having to contend with leaks can be more than off-putting. Being able to avoid leaks is a major selling point no matter what the appliance or installation.


Still not convinced? On top of everything else, linear shower drains are much easier to clean depending on what type of material that they are constructed of. For the most part, all you need is water and soap to effectively clean.

If you can, find a linear drain that has a removable debris basket. This feature helps ensure that your pipes will not clog. Considering how expensive it can be to clear clogged pipes, this can be a huge time and money saver in the long-run.

Check this out if your shower drain smells like sewer.

Cover Types

The cool thing about linear drains is that you can also choose between two different types. Since the larger debris gets caught before it goes down the drain, the water is able to flow easily through it. But there are two types that you would have to choose from.

The first is a grated channel cover. The grated covers are traditionally used and are safe to walk on. They might even have artistic coverings with smoother panels for a better overall design aesthetic. If properly installed, you don’t have to worry about tripping over them.

There is also the tiled-in option. These have an inset shelf where you can place designs on. The drain can be virtually invisible among the rest of the tile while still doing its job. The downside is that the tile cover can decrease flow rate.

The Cons of Linear Shower Drains

While there are a ton of positives to having a linear shower drain installed, there are some downsides to be had. Here are a few of the cons that you may have to contend with when installing a linear shower drain in your home.


Linear drains are quite long, so be prepared to clean a lot more than you would with a center drain. When you have a shower drain that is longer in nature, the velocity of the water that drains out is much slower.

When the velocity of the water is much slower, it has a more difficult time carrying out things like dirt, grime, and hair. So, be prepared to clean that sort of stuff out of your drain on a regular basis going forward.


Since linear shower drains do not have a curb, you are more likely to experience splashing since the water is not contained. Shower curtains may help to limit this a bit, but without that curb there, you are limited in terms of how water is contained.

The good news is that there are remedies for this. For instance, you can have a rain head fixture installed or even go with a curved shower wall to help direct the water into the drain a bit more effectively.

Lack of Privacy

Because of their design, linear showers also tend to be a lot more open than those with center drains. If you live in a home with a sort of open-door policy, then you run the risk of having far less privacy during shower time. It is not a major concern but it can lead to a lot of uncomfortable moments that could have been otherwise avoided.

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The Final Verdict

For the most part, linear shower drains provide a greater level of safety and convenience than their center drain counterparts. Installations tend to be a bit cheaper on the whole and are safer for those dealing with disabilities or mobility problems.

If you do not mind a lack of privacy and a little more cleaning, you will generally enjoy linear shower drains. They drain better than center drains, making them more efficient and less prone to clogging in the future.

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Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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