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If you’ve attend a home show in recent years, you have undoubtedly seen a zero-clearance linear-style shower drain (probably a few). This is especially true if you are mindful, too, of trends towards universal design and/or aging in place. Yep … sure; you are nodding your head.

But maybe still, you’ve wondered what it takes to, well, put one in. Take for example a standard traditional, man I lose a lot of hair, tub/shower drain. I mean – how would you go about converting something like that to a sleek contemporary and zero clearance inline drain?  I had wondered myself.

zero clearance inline shower

BackStory & Considerations with Zero Clearance Drains

Luckily for me, I’m friends with Josef Erlebach. (I reconnected with him during the 2011 Remodeling Show.) A one time tile pro, he is currently serving as a VP @ Quick Drain USA (now owned by Oatley).

Josef provided the installation notes here and pics for this post. It covers a recent job utilizing the company’s linear drain model – PLD57 (on Amazon) – installed in a concrete slab.

Zero Clearance Inline Shower- Shower Enclosure

Contractor Gary Jewel installed it for an aging client in Colorado. On deciding to stay in her home longer, she knew she needed easier access into her shower.

  • Josef pointed out that the job itself was not without its challenges, least of which was that wallpaper in this bath. It was recently installed and could not be damaged.

Those things said, this first floor bath sat on a concrete slab. Because of that, Gary knew that recessing a traditional shower pan into the subfloor would not be possible. In this case, the true zero entry shower, on a flat floor, was a perfect option.

The custom shower conversion depicted below took 5 days and cost of $3500.

Installing a Zero Clearance Shower Drain

Pictured below, this Acrylic/Fiberglas tub surround will be removed with the tub. The slab underneath will be cut and removed only in places where the new drain and waste line will be placed.

standard shower enclosure

With that, demo starts.

Removing Fiberglas Tub Surround

1.) The tub and walls are removed. Then, the concrete is cut for a new waste outlet. The existing drain is removed.

Removing old shower drain cutting for inline

Concrete Cut

2.) The zero clearance shower drain is installed on top of a shower pan liner.  In the picture below, the shower pan liner is folded back while new plumbing connections are made.

new drain lines routed

3.) Once plumbing passes inspection, the concrete is patched.

concrete replaced

4.) The shower pan liner is set on a slight slope. It is adhered to the subfloor using thin set mortar.

inline drain installed setting membrane

5.) Vapor barrier and an additional waterproofing membrane is installed on walls. It laps the shower pan membrane.

waterproof membrane installed

6.) Tile is set starting with the walls.

shower tiled

7.) The shower floor tile is a simple continuation of the bath floor.

tiled walls and floors

Voila! Bath complete!

zero clearance in line shower drain

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According to Josef, “This client loved her new shower not only for its new found functionality, but also for its looks. As you see, these ADA showers do not have to look like hospital showers. They can be done in a reasonable about of time and on a reasonable budget.”

Cheers to Gary Jewel and company for make it look so easy.

For more adventures in bathroom remodeling, see our top level category called, well, Bathrooms. For more on installing various types of shower drains, here’s an article from The Spruce – How to Install a Shower Drain.

Thanks. ~jb