The Importance of Proper Drainage In Your Shower Remodel

Proper shower drainage is important to your health and to your home. Though it might be a minor problem at first, improper drainage can cause major problems down the road. If you are looking to remodel your bath or shower, it’s helpful to educate yourself on what proper drainage is, how to maintain your drain, and the effects of improper draining. Choosing to remodel your shower can be an intimidating decision, but one that is necessary for the safety and usability of your bathroom. With a shower remodel comes stylistic choices, accessibility options, and overall functionality factors that make your remodel project worth it. One of those functionality factors is proper drainage in your shower.

What is Proper Drainage in a Shower?

Shower drains are plumbing fixtures installed in the floor of a shower to allow water to flow out of the shower and into the sewer system. A shower drain typically has some sort of metal or plastic cover to catch debris or hair that may try to enter the drain, which can cause drain clogs. Perfect drainage in a shower would look like only water entering into the drain, while all other objects being caught by the metal or plastic cover. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. 

Different types of shower drains

There are three main types of shower drains that can be installed under your shower: 

  • Linear shower drain: Linear drains are more modern drains that might appear in newer homes due to their sleek look. A linear shower drain is a rectangular, elongated drain with a seamless placement. While linear drains provide a unique look in your shower, they are not the best drainage-wise. They are known to clog more than traditional shower drains, which is something to keep in mind. A close-up of a linear shower drain against a stone texture.
  • Square shower drain: Square shower drains are best for tile-floored showers because of their shape. They fit right into the tile shape and can provide a seamless look that round shower drains wouldn’t.  A silver square shower drain against black tile.
  • Round shower drain: While square shower drains are best for tile flooring, round shower drains look and work the best for flat shower pans or bath tubs. The drainage in both square and round shower drains is essentially the same, making both a great option functionality-wise.  A white shower drain and silver shower fixtures in a white shower.

Factors that affect drainage

The type of shower drain you decide on can affect your overall drainage performance, but the main factors that affect drainage are hair, skin cells, scum, and hard water.  

  • It is natural for you to lose hair while you’re shampooing and conditioning in the shower. Over time, this hair can cause clumps and blockages in your drain, creating a clog and poor drainage. Similarly, dead skin cells are lost as you wash and exfoliate your body, causing the same issue. A great way to prevent hair and dead skin from entering into your drainage system is to add a hair catcher to the cover of your drain. 
  • Scum and buildup from body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are other major culprits in poor drainage performance. This is, again, a natural occurrence that can be prevented with the right drain and regular maintenance. 
  • If your home naturally has hard water, this could be the reason that your drain is clogged. There are mineral deposits in hard water that can attach to your drain and build up over time. To combat this, you could install a water softener to filter through the hard water and remove heavy minerals. 

Importance of Drain Maintenance in Your Shower Remodel

Proper drainage in your shower is imperative to preventing water damage, avoiding mold and mildew growth, increasing the lifespan of your shower, and overall maintaining a healthy environment in your bathroom. Knowing the causes and risks you might face is key to avoiding a larger drainage problem down the road.

  • Prevents water damage: Ensuring that your bath or shower is properly draining is key to protecting your entire home’s foundation. Think about it: if your water doesn’t drain properly to the sewer system, where does it go? Well, it can cause leaks in other areas of your home and ultimately create massive damage to the structure. This is why installing a drainage system properly is so important! 
  • Minimizes mold and mildew growth: Similarly, poor drainage can create mold and mildew growth underneath or in the walls of your bath or shower, creating an even bigger problem than a slow drain. Over time, mold and mildew can create serious health problems and damage the structure of your bathroom. 
  • Promotes a healthy environment: With water damage, mold, and mildew, you’re left with an unhealthy environment in your home, and costs to fix it all. Proper drainage is imperative to the overall standing of your home, not just the bathroom.  
  • Increases the lifespan of your shower: If your shower or bath creates water damage in your home, you will likely have to remodel/replace. This can be prevented with proper installation and regular maintenance. Your bath or shower should last you for years to come, so it’s important to get it right the first time.

How to Ensure Your Shower Drains WIll Never Fail

Now you know the risks of improper damage and you want to remodel your bath or shower, what’s next? There are 5 major steps we recommend for a safe bathing experience with proper drainage.  

  1. Plan ahead: It’s important to plan ahead for any major remodel in your home, but especially when remodeling your bathroom. Going into a remodel project with all of your wants and needs in mind is essential to its success. To help with the planning process, we recommend meeting with a remodeling company and going over everything you envision for your bath remodel. Any drainage concerns can be addressed here to ensure a smooth remodel.  
  2. Hire a professional plumber: Having a master plumber on call is an extremely important element to your bathroom remodel, as drainage issues should be addressed as they come up. Ask if your remodeling company uses master plumbers to make sure you’re making the right decision before you start the process.  
  3. Choose the right drain system: Choosing the right drain system for your bath or shower, as mentioned, can make or break your drain performance. Knowing your options—linear, square, and round—is a great first step! Consult with your remodeling company to make the best decision for your needs and you’ll have one less concern about proper drainage. 
  4. Regular maintenance: Ultimately, regular maintenance of your shower drain is key to proper drainage. Talk to your plumber or remodeler about the proper steps to take to prevent any clogs or buildup. If not, you’ll be left with chronic drain problems and potential mold and water damage. 

If you’re currently experiencing poor drainage and the standard drain cleaner isn’t fixing it, you might have a larger problem on your hands. Similarly, if you’re looking to remodel your shower or bath, it is important to keep proper drainage top of mind when it comes to the questions you ask your project installer. 


A close-up of a silver shower drainage pan.

If you’re looking for a trusted remodeling company who knows the ins and outs of proper shower drainage and has master plumbers on call for your project, look no further. West Shore Home® is the leading bath and shower remodeling company in your area, completing bath remodels in as little as one day. Our expert installation team is company trained and knowledgeable about any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today to receive a free design consultation and quote for your project!