How to Install a Shower Drain: DIYer’s Guide

Lori K Bath: Bathroom Remodeling Valparaiso IN

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DIY Guide: How to Install a Shower Drain

Remodeling your bathroom? Congratulations! A bathroom remodel is a huge undertaking with an equally huge payoff.

However, if you are going the DIY route, we know that you are learning a lot as you go. Many homeowners focus on learning about the more “glamorous” aspects of a renovation, such as:

  • Installing tile
  • Picking out cabinets
  • Installing fixtures like tubs and sinks

In the midst of all that excitement, it is easy to forget about the core basics that make a bathroom safe and functional. Don’t worry, though, because we are here to help! Today, we’ll teach you how to install a shower drain that will keep your plumbing running smoothly for years to come.

When Should You Install a Shower Drain?

Whether you are doing a full bathroom replacement or simply planning to replace a shower drain, a new shower drain can make a big difference to the efficacy of your bathroom system. Here are some signs that it is time to install a new shower drain.

  • Renovation – This may seem obvious, but if you are creating a new bathroom layout, you’ll also need a new shower drain.
  • Slow Drainage – When you shower, do you find yourself standing in water up to your shins? While this could mean that it is time to clean your drains, it could also be a sign that your drain is too old to work properly.
  • Frequent Clogs – If you find yourself with a clogged drain over and over again, even after you clean out the drains, it’s a good sign that new plumbing is needed.

Types of Shower Drains

Before you learn how to install a shower drain, it’s important to learn about the different types of shower drains available to you.

Compression Shower Drain

A compression shower drain is a popular choice for homeowners installing a shower drain in a shower pan with a built-in drain hole. These are particularly well-loved because they do not require you to caulk around them. Instead, they are held in place through a compression nut.

Solvent Glue Shower Drain

Solvent glue-style shower drains are another great option for a pre-formed shower floor. However, the solvent that you ultimately end up using will vary depending on your pipe material.

Tile Shower Drain

If you are installing a drain in a tiled floor, then you will need a specific drain designed for tile. These drains typically have a grate that is slightly raised so that it will sit in line with your tiles.

Necessary Equipment

When it comes to installing a shower drain, you will need some specific tools to ensure that everything works properly, including:

  • Shower drain
  • Caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Tubing cutter (or hacksaw)
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Screwdriver

How to Install a Shower Drain in 4 Steps

Ready to finally install a shower drain? Here are the steps you need to take for a shower drain that lasts.


1) Trim Drain Pipe

The first step is to make sure that the drain pipe is the right size for your chosen shower drain. We recommend testing your drain to see how it fits. You can then mark where it needs to be cut and make the cut with either your tubing cutter or hacksaw. Be sure to check when you are done to see if it is level.

2) Drain Assembly

Next, you’ll want to add a tiny bit of silicone caulk to the drain flange. Once that is done, you can insert the drain assembly (this will consist of the drain body, nut, strainer, compression nut and wrench, and rubber gasket). Some people prefer to use plumber’s putty instead of silicone caulk. Whichever one you choose, be sure to press down firmly to ensure that the drain assembly seals properly.

3) Secure According to Manufacturer

The next step will vary slightly, depending on the drain style that you have chosen. In general, we recommend following your manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to making sure that your new drain is secured. Typically, this will involve using silicone caulk and allowing it to dry for at least 24 hours.

4) Add Drain Grate

After the caulk has dried, you are almost ready to go! Before you hop in the shower, make sure to add the drain grate to avoid clogging your new drain line with hair or other debris.

Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers!

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If reading our instruction guide has you feeling unsure, Lori K Bath has you covered. We can help you through each and every step of your bathroom renovation. Want to take your drain replacement one step further? Talk to us about our one-day full bathroom installation. Contact us today to receive your free quote!