laticrete_linear_drainThe wonderful folks at Laticrete sent me a linear drain to play with. And you know me – I bastardized it until it was virtually unrecognizable, ran it through the paces and did things you really shouldn’t do with nice, high-end products like this.

And it survived. Word on the street is that they read my blog, probably for comic relief and to instruct people what NOT to do with their products. So I’m sure they knew this when they sent it… I mean honestly, I soaked their grout in cherry Kool-aid for a week, how could they NOT know?

I did, however, put it to good use in a very cool shower. This is a brief overview of the installation of that drain.

Laticrete HydroBan linear drains are topical drains intended for use with the Hydro Ban liquid waterproofing membrane. They are available in 24″(61cm), 32″(81 cm), 36″(91 cm), 42″(107cm) and 60″(152 cm) lengths. They are also available with a brushed steel grate or a tile-in option.

I had the 36″ tile-in version. The tile-in version allows you to install the same tile in the grate of the drain which, when completed, allows the drain to be nearly invisible in the installation.

You can visit Laticrete’s linear drain information page for a short video on how it is (technically) supposed to be installed.

We all know that’s not what I did. Well, I did, except for one small issue. In the real world application of any product you may need to adapt or tweak something to make it fit or function as it should. This does not always happen! In fact, it rarely happens. I only point it out because with this particular installation I needed to do that with one small part. No big deal.

It usually means you’ll lose your manufacturer’s warranty, so just be aware of that. I’m also fairly certain that they knew that when they sent me the drain. See, I’m rarely a risk for manufacturers. It’s almost to the point where I lose my warranty when I open the box. That’s just how I roll…

When you do open the box you’ll notice the drain only has two pieces. That’s it! It’s difficult for even me to screw this up. Yours actually may have more than that. The drain now has adjustable feet on the grate which was not available on the one I had. So in the photos of my tile-in grate you’ll see little tab-like things sticking out from the bottom – those are the feet. Yours will have adjustable feet to enable you to move it up or down to meet the height of your particular tile.

But it has two basic parts. It has the flange – that’s the part that sits in your mud deck and has the outlet for your drain pipe. And it has the grate – that’s the part that goes in the top, currently either brushed stainless steel or the tile-in option.

With any of the photos below you can click on the picture to view the large version. The huge group of photos at the bottom do the same thing, you can also click the little arrow to view each one in order after enlarging it – you don’t need to click on each individual photo at the bottom of the page.

Here is the floor on which I’m installing the drain. The shower is a small one – 3′ x 3′, the shower door will be installed directly over the drain. The drain will be at the entrance to the shower.

You’ll notice the old drain pipe in the center (the white part sticking up). Behind that, on top of the floor is the flange portion of the drain, and laying across the front of the shower is the grate portion. See the four tabs in the front? Those will be where your adjustable feet are. Laticrete knows enough to send me products with no moving parts. :D Yours, however, will have moving parts.

The first thing I did was to lay out where the drain will be installed, mark the center of the outlet (where it hooks into the drain pipe), and drill a hole in that spot.

You can see it if you’re so inclined – just click on the pic.

I did not take photos of drilling the hole in the floor because, well, it’s drilling a hole in plywood.

Not particularly spectacular.

However, after I did that I placed the drain into the hole to ensure that it was exactly where I wanted it. It was.

If you click on that picture and take a look at each end of the drain flange you’ll see why I had to *ahem* ‘customize’ this particular drain. The drain flange fits in the bathroom – fits precisely – from one sill plate (the 2×4 at the bottom of the wall) to the other (in this case the bottom brace for the sliding door). That’s great! If you don’t want the drain grate to be removable.

You do, however, want the drain grate to be removable. Once I installed the wall substrate the grate would not fit. So my ‘modification’ consisted of simply shortening the drain grate so it would fit between the two walls once the substrate, waterproofing and tile were installed. This is NOT recommended. Just so you know…

After that you need to hook the drain up to your drain pipe. In most installations your existing drain pipe will need to be moved! This post does not describe that – I’m not a plumber. My plumber is on speed dial. Once your drain pipe (and p-trap, etc.) are moved to where you need it – THEN you hook the drain up to the drain pipe.

This is done with what is called a no-hub connector. It is basically a rubber sleeve with clamps which fits the two pieces together. You place half of the sleeve onto your drain pipe and the other half onto the outlet of the drain and clamp it down.

Installing the coupling without access.If you do not have access beneath the drain once it is in place to tighten the clamps you can cut a short length of pvc or cpe and attach it to the bottom of the drain with the connector. You’ll then have the drain with the outlet, on that is the connector and a short length of pipe. Then when you go to install your drain you simply put the adhesive on that short length of pipe and the end of the p-trap (or a stub-up piece of pipe with a coupling) and press it in there to install the drain.

The photo to the right is of a different brand of drain, but it shows the coupling with a short length of pipe exactly like it would be on the Laticrete drain. You can see the rubber coupling and the metal clamp which is placed around it and tightened down. I had access below the floor in this particular shower so I didn’t need to do that here.

Once you get the drain in the proper place it’s time to form your mortar bed. This is the sloped mud deck for your tile floor. These drains are used with a liquid topical membrane called HydroBan. It is an elastomeric liquid which is brushed, rolled or troweled onto your substrate to make it waterproof. Tile is then installed directly to the membrane.

In this particular shower I have a bonded mortar bed. That simply means that the mud bed is attached to the plywood floor beneath it. I installed the wall substrate, in this case Densshield, and cut it to fit over and into the ends of the drain flange. If you click on that photo there you can see how the substrate is cut into the drain flange at the ends.

After the mud deck cures I’ll be installing the HydroBan and tile. That, however, will need to wait for the next post. It’s late and I’m almost out of beer. I don’t want to take up too much of your time. You can see all the photos of the process below, though, if you’re impatient.

There are quite a few benefits of using a linear drain. Rather than having a shallow bowl-shaped shower floor on which you must use smaller tile which will conform to the slope, you can use as large a tile as you want. The linear drains allow you to have a flat shower floor. It will be sloped in one direction from one end to the other, but it will be flat so you can use larger tile.

With the tile-in option the drain will also nearly disappear. You can continue any pattern from your bathroom floor right into the shower floor. It all ties in together really well.

These drains are normally installed up against one of the walls in the shower. It really doesn’t matter which you choose. However (!), there are a couple of rules (aren’t there always?).

If you want it against one of the side walls, rather than at the front or back of the shower, you need to have a curb for your shower. You can not have a curbless shower if the linear drain is on one of the side walls, the mud deck will be thicker at the opposite side.

If you want a curbless shower, such as this one, you either:

  • Need the drain at the front of the shower, in which case the floor will slope from the drain up to the back wall. Or
  • Need the floor to slope DOWN from your bathroom floor into the shower to the drain at the back wall.

If you do not have the structural ability to lower your floor in the shower and slope the deck down into the shower you need to have a curb at the front, then create your mud deck to slope from the drain against the back wall up to the curb at the front of the shower.

After your mud deck cures we need to install the HydroBan and seal everything up. I’ll cover all that in the next post. Until then you can partake in my horrible photography skills below covering the entire installation.


{ 130 comments… add one }

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  • Troy

    Hi Roger,
    I am planning on installing curbless linear (tile in) drain at the shower entrance using topical membrane method with Redgard or maybe Hyrdroban much like your part one photos. I am also going to modify/bastardize the insert like you did as well because I don’t see any other way insure water will not miss the drain at the wall edges and run into the room passed the outer edges of drain.) I already ordered and received my stainless steel linear drain from the UK as it was only $60 US for a 37 inch and it came with rubberized felt like, rectangular barrier. I am puzzled by the raised stainless steel lip at the trough for the tiles to butt up against. I see this lip as a problem because after redgard is applied, the lip will create a dam preventing any water below the tile surface from dumping over this lip and into the drain. Of course the majority of the water that remains on the tile surface will make it over this lip and into the trough with the added height of the thinset. – see photo. Questions:
    1- Would you suggest I embed the entire trough * *and lip * * below the dry pack on the pan side of the drain to eliminate this dam and just raise the drain’s center tiled insert to meet the finished floor tile height? In other words, should I make sure the finished height of the dry pack pan is higher than this steel lip?
    2- Or should I Let this sub surface drain lip create this dam hoping that not much water is going to pool up behind this regarded stainless steel ¼ inch dam?
    3- In your photos it looks like you placed the cement board on the walls first and then made your dry pack pan against them. If I do this should I use mesh tape and thinset prior to regard where the dry pack meets the cement board to help with any wall movement?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Ted Benjamin

      Agree with you concern and have the same problem. I just purchased a linear drain with the same type of design that has a lip which means that the drain entry sits above the waterproofing layer (~5/8″) . In a single mortar bed design that is waterproofed using redgard/hydrobond the conventional weep holes in the drain flange that sits on the floor are blocked. Thus the only place for water under the tiles to go would be into the linear drain. The laticrete linear drain design does not have a lip so can accommodate this ‘
      ‘weeping’. Linear drains that sit higher that the waterproofing layer or have a lip appears to be problematic. I hope that someone has a good workaround for this.

      • Ted Benjamin

        Could a possible solution be to drill many many holes into the lip above where the waterproofing layer hits the lip?

        • Ted Benjamin

          Here is a picture of what I think is the ideal construct here (from Laticrete)

    • Roger

      Hi Troy,

      That is a ridiculous design. I would likely raise the mud deck to be flush with the top of that lip. You’ll need to figure out some way to raise the drain cover that height, though. Maybe insert some screws in the bottom of it using the screw heads as the seat of the cover, which would make it adjustable. There will be a lot of water pooling behind that dam, I can’t believe they don’t even have weep holes in that thing.

      I would use mesh tape where the wall meets the floor if you’re using redgard.

      • Ted Benjamin

        Would drilling small holes around the perimeter of the lip above the waterproofing membrane work as weep holes? Also ensure holes are drilled at a downward angle so the runoff from the tiles above into the drain do not get into these holes.

        • Roger

          Provided there is no gap between that lip and the interior of the drain, to ensure that water does run into the drain. I see no problem with that at all.

      • Troy

        Thanks for the fast response Roger and thanks for your website,

        I’m thinking that I’ll bury that lip in dry pack, by some Hydroban, throw their rectangular membrane material away, not drill any holes in the lip, and mesh/thinset the planes.

        Regarding meshing/thinsetting the pan planes, are you saying I should do that because I am using Redgard and would not need to if I used Hydroban? In all my research, I read somewhere about a guy that tested the two side by side to a point of failure and he found that the Regard pealed off in fruit rollup like strips at failure where the Hydroban would only give up little pieces at a time. I can get either in Colorado Springs. I just thought I might save the money by using Regard; however, look what “saving money” did for me on my drain pan – maniacal laughter inserted. Now I have to raise the floor on the bathroom side another ½ inch caus sinking the dry pack pan and drain into the sub-floor is not an option due to the lack of clearance from other plumbing beneath the pan.

        Besides a possible Laticrete patent violation, what are your thoughts on Ted and my idea of drilling weep holes and then using a 1/8 by 1/8 block? (see my other post to Ted)

        Ok, I got the day off, taking wife to the spa, then all start on this again tomorrow.

        I know, I know, should have bought that Laticrete linear drain cause I would have saved money and drill bits.

        Thanks again for your guidance, your site, and most importantly the lesson “Tile and grout are not waterproof.”

        • Roger

          Both are comparable in my book. The only reason I recommend that is to reinforce the waterproofing layer at the change of plane. When there is movement it is much more sturdy if the membrane must move to accommodate it when it is painted onto a layer of mesh at the plane changes.

    • Troy

      Thanks. I’m not sure, but think we only have two options, maybe a third. A logic check on my thoughts would be appreciated.
      1 – Either deck mud right up to the top of that lip then Redgard.

      2 – drill some small weep holes horizontally around the bottom of the lip and then put a very small (1/8 x 1/8) piece of blocking around the lip to be removed after the dry pack sets to form a perimeter trough around the outside of the lip and “wal lah” we have drain holes.

      3- deal with the lip dam as it is designed hoping that any minimal moisture that makes it down to the redgarded dam will hang up there, accumulate, and spill over, with the remainder then evaporating upwards through the tile and grout. My fear is this minimal moisture will make it around the edges of the dam. I have spoken too three different “Pros” who still buy into the notion that tile and grout are waterproof and claim I should not have a concern as all the water will stay on top the tile and run into the channel, “Just seal it every couple years” they say. I believe Roger’s rule that tile and grout are NOT water proof and you must design accordingly.

      What are your thoughts on meshing/thinsetting on the plane change at the drypacked where it meets the walls? I am thinking that if there is any demo on the other side of the walls in the future, or even a gorilla hammering a nail to hang a picture, it might be enough vibration to the studs to cause a small fracture leak where the wall meets the drypack pan.

      Wife says I am an over thinker and just need to get this stuff done.

      • Troy

        This is me replying to myself
        Strike Idea # 3 as Roger already said that a lot of water will get down there. I am waiting for him to weigh in on our drilling idea.

        • Ted Benjamin


          If I am understanding you correctly, you are concerned with ensuring waterproofing from the membrane layer (i.e., redgard or hydrobond over the mortar bed) through and over the drain lip. One solution is to have thin flashing that has a 90 deg bend to allow one side to be integrated into the waterproof membrane and the other to ‘lip over’ the drain lip. It is important the this be thin to allow the drain cover to still slip into the drain body. There is something that is called ‘deck ledger flashing’ that might work. It has 2 90 deg bends so you will need to trim off some. It comes in 8′ lengths and is sold at Home Depot and Lowes. I haven’t been able to check if it is thin enough yet. Also you will need to raise the drain cover up a bit. One thought would be to use a small angle bracket attaching one side to the drain cover with loctite epoxy and then cutting the other side of the bracket that its on the drain floor to the proper length to give the required cover height.

          • Troy

            Thanks Ted,
            After sleeping on this and a pint of gin and juice, I am just going to bury that lip in deck mud like Roger suggested and not drill into it. I like the flashing idea, as the flashing will leave a professional looking, linear, metallic, finish on the upriver side of the drain instead of seeing exposed Redgard/Hydroban. Guess it should be done on the down river side as well as I plan to have a very slight back pitch towards the drain on that side too. We need to make sure the flashing it is made out of something that won’t rust. Next time I will open my wallet wider and get one without the lip.

            • Ted Benjamin

              I discovered that Home Depot sells a hard plastic version of their deck ledger flashing that is easy to cut and will not rust. In addition, there is another company besides Laticrete that sells the ‘correct’ drain design with a flange and no lip, called Trugard. These drains are called Tru-line linear drains. They also sell other shower products that could make your construction job easier. Good luck.

  • Ted Benjamin

    I think that I have done more research trying to understand how to build a shower bed with a 42″ linear drain than for my PhD Engineering thesis. I may be wrong but come to believe that most linear drain manufacturing don’t understand how to properly install their own drains and have designs that are very problematic. Many are still trapped in the conventional 2 mortar bed, vinyl waterproofing and weep holes mode which accompanied my linear drain purchase.

    In general most linear drains are attached with 2″ outlet pipes that are inserted into the floor drain with rubber caskets/sleeves thus eliminating all weep holes. This is big. Now the waterproofing element is often a single slope mortar bed that has been treated with a water proofing membrane (e.g., Redguard or Hyrobond] the only place for water form this waterproof mortar bed to go is through the linear drain since the weep holes do not exist. But most drain assemblies tops need to positioned to 1/16″ below the tile per manufacturers instructions…this means that the waterproof mortar bed which is below the tile and thinset capture water that cannot go anywhere because the linear drain assembly top is above this layer. It appear that only the Laticrete drain have flanges that can rest on the waterproofed mortar bed to allow drainage from this layer and then has its face plate/drain plate higher just below the tile layer to capture the main water flow from the tiles. Most other drains the drain assembly top are at the same level as the face plate which need to be ~ 1/” above the waterproof layer and below the tile top a small bit….and thus water from the waterproof membrane has no outlet

    • Ted Benjamin

      This is me replying to myself. I have since learned that the weep holes are not blocked by the solid sleeve that sits in the drain flange since these weeps holes flow down the drain through an outer area not blocked by the solid linear drain outlet pipe in the middle. However in a single mortar bed construction method where e.g., redgard/hydrobond is used on top of the first/only mud layer, the linear drain itself is the only place where the water under the tiles can ‘weep into’. So linear drains that have lips and/or sit above the waterproof layer seem to be problematic. I believe that the Laticrete linear drain design appears to be one of only a few that gets this.

  • Erich

    Lack of Slope / Durability of Linear Drains

    None of the linear drains appear to have an internal slope, what I would envision as a sort of wide V, to slope water from the sides, to run into the center drain.

    Do you consider stainless steel linear drains should last a lifetime? Anything you would look for to consider durability? Anything you would do to make replacement easier? I suppose they could be patched from the inside if necessary? Thanks.

    • Roger

      Hi Erich,

      Schluter’s does, so does laticrete’s. It’s subtle, but it is there. Yes, they are lifetime products. A brand name normally dictates durability for me as they’ve been tested for long periods of time. No, I would do nothing to make replacement easier. I don’t install anything at all that is meant to be replaced, and if it ever is I want whomever is doing the replacement to hate me for life! :D

      • Erich Riesenberg

        Thanks. The link to Signature Hardware below also gives what appears to be solid choices. I buy mostly from big box stores and Amazon, so finding a reputable middle ground is nice.

  • Charles P Smith

    The link to Laticrete is broken.
    As I am doing a custom, ‘lower the concrete floor for a walk in’, I t would have bee nice… but I an reason through it. Just letting you know.
    Master Handyman Remodeling, Texas, USA.
    Great Blog, BTW. :wink:

    • Roger

      I fixed it. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Don


    I am renovating a bathroom which sits on a concrete slab. I want to build a curbless shower with a linear drain like this along the entryway to the shower, so the slope will come from the back wall into the drain. I will be tiling over the existing concrete for the floor outside of the shower, but what I would like to do (if it is possible) is create a ramp from the back wall that ramps all the way down to 0 thickness at the drain so that the tile on both the room and the shower side of the drain will be at the same level.

    Obviously I will need to cut a trench in the concrete slab for the drain to sit in.

    I was considering building a ramp of deck mud which would ramp down to as close to 0 thickness at the front as possible. I know I can’t get quite to 0 but I figure I could get down to 1/16″ or so and then let the thinset do the rest.

    Am I crazy to think about doing this? Any suggestions?



    • Don

      I forgot to add that I would then use RedGard or something similar right up to the edge of the drain.

  • Bryan

    I would like to use topical water proofing in my shower, but what should I do with the drain? Do I have to remove the existing mortar bed and pan liner?

    • Roger

      Hi Bryan,

      Yes you do, then you need to install a topical drain.

  • Wayne Elliott

    Just wondering about tiling and grouting up to a linear drain. Our drain has a 1/2″ flange, a weep strip (as opposed to weep holes) about a 3/8″ riser and then the main drain. What is the best way and the best product to use (i.e. grout) to get the best results for the transition from the tile to the drain?

  • Pepper

    Hi Roger!
    First off, thank you for providing this plethora of knowledge for the do-it-yourselfers of the world.
    Second, I happen to be a do it yourselfer sans a functioning shower in my home on the tightest of budgets for aforementioned functioning shower.
    I am planning to build a barrier free curb-less shower but am running into a few issues. I had hoped to use a topical liquid membrane waterproofing system, until I realized the laticrete linear drain in the size I need is like $500 f*%#ing dollars. I found this off brand similar one for $150
    But it makes no mention of compatible waterproofing systems, the installation instructions appear to be for a different drain. Will it work with a topical liquid? Can I force it to? How do I waterproof where the drain meets the substrate without that fancy horizontal lip the laticrete drain has? If not the topical liquid, what system to use?

    • Roger

      Hi Pepper,

      Those drains can be used with either type of waterproofing methods. With the liquid just paint it up over the flange once it’s set tying it into the waterproofing on the floor.

  • Pete

    I am in a high rise building which has concrete floors, which I’m not supposed to chip, grind, cut, notch, or look at too hard. I want to install a linear shower drain, but all I can find is the ones with a connector out the bottom which after I hookup up puts me at 4″ to bottom of drain trough add a couple inches for the trough and I now need a ladder to step over the dam.

    Is there a linear drain that has an outlet out the end of the trough?

    The drain pipe has a trap built in to it which goes below the floor line so if there is and end drain trough that I could get in in about 3″, I am appreciative and will continue to read your informative and at times rambling articles.


    • Roger

      Hi Pete,

      All linear drains of which I am aware have the outlet below the main trough. I don’t know of any with a true side outlet.

      • Gerry Poland

        I’m pretty sure laticrete has an option to drain on the side instead of bottom

        • Roger

          Gerry is correct. They do have a model that drains out the side from the center outlet, but I’m unsure how far below the trough it extends. Thanks Gerry!

  • John

    Did you flood test this and if so how did you go about doing it?

    • Roger

      Hi John,

      Yes, I used kerdi-board and kerdi-fix to attache a temporary dam along the outside portion of the drain.

  • Mark

    Hey Elf,
    I’ve done a lot of web homework and haven’t found a solid answer to a basic question: Is a rock board “bed” okay with the Laticrete system. Laticrete tech support seemed to think so, but seemed a little unsure, so I’d rather hear it from the Elf. More specifically, I’ll have a 5 ft wide entrance with a 3 ft depth to the 4 ft drain at the back wall. I plan on shaving the top of the 2×10’s and set 3/4 ply between them to get 3/4 in of slope toward the back wall. I even planned to belt sand the joist tops flat with the glued/screwed inset subfloor panels. I could mastic the rock board down to solidify even more (yep . . .engineer overkill). From the rock board, I follow standard Hydro-ban procedures. Sound okay?

    • Roger

      Hi Mark,

      If you’re talking about using cement backer as your mud deck in your shower floor rather than deck mud then no, it isn’t a good idea. It would be better to get that slope with plywood, then install deck mud over it. You need the movement compensation that the sand in deck mud provides to deal with regular seasonal structural movement which backerboard can not provide.

  • Matthew

    Couple of quesitons:
    1. That drain says the lip of the drain needs to have 1.5 inches of mud under it. Just curious why.
    2. My shower is 84″ long. If I start with at 1.5 inches for the drain I end up at 3.25 inches. Is that to thick for a mud deck? If not are we still talking regular mud?
    3. I’m going to use hydroban. I had someone else tape and mud my walls (concrete board and green board). They used drywall tape and mud on the concrete board. Will this cause a problem since I’m using hydroban?
    4. How far over my curb do I need to use hydroban? My reason for asking is that I would like to tile my bathroom floor prior to finishing the mud deck which means prior to hydrobanning (verb… nice) the shower.

    Thanks Roger!!

    • Roger

      Hi Matthew,

      1. Because 1.5 inches of mud is the standard height for the thickness of a mud bed.

      2. No, that is not too thick. Yes, still regular deck mud.

      3. Regular drywall mud disintegrates when wet. If you get good coverage over it with the hydroban you should be fine, but ideally it should be mesh tape and thinset.

      4. 1″ down from the outside top of the curb.

  • randy p

    hi roger
    just wanted to say that this site of yours is by far the best I have found for helping to demistify a bathroom project !!!
    I am in the process of redoing a bathroom to make my boss happy and have spent many months in the planning stages so that I wont screw up.hopefully
    I am definately going with the laticrete products.
    I was just looking at your photos for the linear drain and had a few questions…
    did you place the flange body directly on the plywood floor and just fill under with the deck mud? and then add plywood on the exterior of shower side to bring bathroom floor to correct height???
    was there any kind of back slope from bathroom floor to drain??
    hoping to hear from you,keep up the great work here sir

    • Roger

      Hi Randy,

      That is exactly what I did, but I also put ditra over the bathroom floor on top of the plywood. There is a very minor backslope, just enough to prevent water from running away from the drain.

      • randy

        thanks for the reply Roger….sorry to ask yet more questions,I dont want to keep yu from beer oclock…..
        just want to make sure I have it right….the drain body sits directly on ply,with no adhesive or mud and then mud is packed only under
        “upper” portion of the flange???
        just asking because I thought I saw on laticrete site that mud was under base as well… but hey what do I know!!
        if that is correct, what is the actual depth of the mud at the drain?
        I am assuming as well that the drain from laticrete is 38″ total width?
        as with other 36″ drains, I have a 38″ rough opening.
        Thanks again for this site…you definitely help to take some of the mystery out of an art that scares the crap out of us diyer’s.
        I am now trying to convince myself that I CAN do a mud bed and not buy a preslope pan….does beer help??? :):)
        thanks Roger

        • Roger

          Hi Randy,

          Yes, I only packed it under the flange in that shower. Total depth of mud at the drain is 3/4″. There is often mud under it as well, you can move it up as much as you want by putting deck mud beneath the entire drain as well. Yes, 38″ opening for the 36″ drain. Yes, beer helps.

          A lot. :D

          • randy

            thanks yet again….unfortunately for you, i am pretty sure i will be bugging yu again in the near future…but for now its the weekend….beer oclock !!!
            have a good one

            • randy

              hi roger, well a year has passed since i last bugged you.I have been sidetracked by lots of other home disasters but am now back in the bathroom.
              I just purchased my laticrete linear drain ,hydroban etc and am ready to tackle the shower.
              I am doing pretty much the same setup as your installation, and have a real newbie question….
              what is the difference between a “bonded” and “unbonded”
              mudbed ?????
              on laticrete instructions it mentions both for plywood install, so why would i chose one or the other…..
              naybe i am just slow or not reading something right ????
              thanks in advance

              • randy

                ok, let me clarrify that last post….i do understand the difference between bonded and unbonded but what i really meant was if both can be used over plywood, which one would i chose and why… really what i meant to ask…
                thats what happens when i ask questions when i am sober !!
                thanks roger

              • Roger

                Hi Randy,

                Size is the difference. If you are going over plywood, and not building a gang shower, bond it with wire lath.

  • Matt

    Hi Roger,

    Trying to follow the Balance rule in your tile layout handbook and I’m struggling with the shower floor tile layout!!

    I am installing a linear shower drain in a 29″ x 57″ bath tub replacement project. There is a curb and the linear drain is positioned at the right side of the shower area ~ 49″ from the left wall and ~6″ from the right wall. Metal strainer runs fully from curb to wall (~26″ wide).

    With a simple floor pattern (square tile with grout lines aligned or offset) what is the proper way to layout the tile while considering the linear drain? For example, do I treat each side of the linear drain as a separate tiling area (establish center of 49″ and center of 6″) or is there one tile area (establish center of 57″). If the latter, I am struggling to understand the best way to run the pattern “through” the linear drain without ending up with strangely small pieces of tile on either immediate side of the linear drain.

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Roger

      Hi Matt,

      I’m assuming you have the ’tile-in’ drain? Just begin with the horizontal center (from curb to opposite wall) and with a full tile on either side of the linear drain, so the edge of the tile butts the linear drain. That will be your focus point, if you do not have it centered between the drain and opposite will it doesn’t really matter.

      • Matt

        Thanks Roger. It is not a tile-in drain. The strainer is s/s. Does that change anything?

        • Roger

          Nope, actually makes it easier, you don’t have to follow the patter perfectly through the drain.

  • Elf Fan

    Hi Roger,
    I just bought your “Liquid_topical_shower_waterproofing” ebook, and find it helpful. I’ve also read your blog on “Installation of Laticrete Linear Drain” and have a question based on our intended installation:

    Existing Concrete floor, 50+ year old home
    32″ x 80″ shower (no door / shower curtain) 1/4″ rise / foot from drain toward opposite wall
    Aco 32″ linear drain across entry at end opposite shower head (drain is 1.25″ high) up against wall
    Topical membrane (I like Redgard: previous experience + 2 gallons sitting in the garage :)
    planar floor

    ***The questions to you oh great Floor Elf: How do I seal the linear drain to the rest of the topical-ized slope to ensure it’s watertight? How thick does the mud deck near the drain need to be? Any details appreciated.

    P.S. After 2 pitchers of beer and a large mushroom pizza in 10 minutes at at a SlamItDown Frat party, I hope beer isn’t a requirement. ;)

    • Roger

      Hi Mike,

      The mud bed needs to be thick enough to fully support the lower flanged portion of the drain. It sounds like 1 1/4″ in your case. The membrane is then just painted right over the mudbed and onto the flange of the drain to waterproof it.

  • Ray

    I want to install a 32″ laticrete linear drain and I will require the side outlet version due to the fact that the drainage pipe in the cement wall is only 4 5/8″ below the purposed shower floor tile. I am building over a second floor slab. The slab and mud deck will be raised to meet the already raised bathroom floor to make a barrier free shower. Basically the entire drain and drainage pipes will be buried in concrete and mud.

    1. I am wondering about how to install it since it will have to be buried in solid concrete. The drainage pipe connections have to be done before the subfloor and mud deck are finished. (as far as I can see, which may not be too far)
    2. Is it OK to bury the flex coupling in concrete? I don’t know how else to do it.
    3. What type of rubber coupling (fernco?) should I use?
    4. Does your “Liquid topical waterproofing for shower base and walls” guide contain info for working with concrete slabs and walls? Will it answer any of my questions?
    Sorry for starting another thread but the last one was confusing even me and I wrote it!


    • Roger

      Hi Ray,

      All of your questions (except #4 – the answer is no, it does not contain what you need) are questions for laticrete’s technical department. You can find the number you need here: Laticrete technical support. I do not work very much with slabs out here at all, most everything is over wood. Were it mine I would likely block off the section of floor where the drain is being installed and hooked up and pour the concrete, then fill everything else with deck mud in and around the drain. But that probably isn’t the proper way to do it. They will be able to answer all of your questions, except #4. :D

      • Ray

        Hi Roger
        I may have a way to use a standard Laticrete or Infinity Linear drain instead of a side outlet version. I just wanted to ask you (since you like cutting things to fit :lol: ) if it is possible to cut the outlet pipe down an inch or so? That way the rubber coupling can go right up the bottom of the trench. I can then go straight to a P trap in the length of the coupling. BTW it is standard practice to bury couplings and even P traps in cement and forget about them.

        • Roger

          Hi Ray,

          Yes, to both your questions. Like I already said, though, you need to make sure you have the right coupling. Around here it needs to have metal sheathing over it.

          • Ray Slaninka


            OK a Fernco 3000-22 Proflex coupling should do the trick.

            I bought your topical waterproofing guide and the idea about using V notch trowel I think is great. I was talking to tech support at Mapei about using a brush to apply Aquadefense and finding it caused bubbles. So I asked them about the trowel method and they said to use roller instead. I think a roller will also cause bubbles. The stuff is like pudding and the bubble bursts leave volcano type mounds. Maybe I just worry too much. They are probably filled by the second coat. But actually I had trouble getting the 30 mils thickness with a brush. Only by doing 3 coats.

            1. What has been your experience with Aquadefense?
            2. Is it that different from Hyroban?
            3. Does Hydroban bubble when brush applied?
            4. I assume you use Hydroban over non Laticrete concrete products with no compatibity issues? I may switch. I’m just testing now.

            Lastly I am using a vertical outlet Infinity Linear drain to a coupling to a P trap to 2″ PVC pipe to the CI waste pipe. The PVC pipe of course will be sloped down. The shower floor will be double sloped to accommodate the drain which will be in the middle. Question is:

            5. Should I install the drain on a down slope so the P-trap outlet aligns with the sloped PVC waste pipe? Or if I install the drain level, how do I align the level drain with the sloped pipe?

            Thanks again

            • Roger

              Hi Ray,

              1. I’ve used it a few times.
              2. It works a bit differently, but it’s the same type of product.
              3. No, but it may when applied with a trowel or roller. (see explanation below)
              4. Yes, I’ve never had compatibility issues with any laticrete products.
              5. If the drain does not have a sloped outlet (idiots) then use a flexible coupling from the drain to the pvc.

              Elastomeric bubbling may happen when the membrane is applied too thickly in one coat. The problem is that the surface of the coating may cure more quickly than the membrane below it. Once the top cures it slows the cure rate of the rest of the membrane underneath. This may also happen with the trowel method. It does not compromise the waterproofing. Really, it doesn’t. :D The first time it happened to me was with hydroban and I lost my damn mind, had my rep out there to take a look, threatened to blow up the entire company…well, you get the picture. Once water is introduced it may penetrate the thin, cured layer and into the layer beneath it, causing bubbles. It does not, however, compromise the waterproofing. I have thoroughly tested that, and he was correct. It still freaks me out when it happens, though. :D

              • Ray Slaninka


                1. Roger that! (Sorry I’m a boater :lol2: ) It freaks me out too. I may have put it on too thick but how else to achieve 30mils dry?

                2. So to align these pipes I may have to bury a non steel sheathed rubber coupling. Codes dont bother me. Or 2 couplings one at either end of the P-trap? 2 couplings doesn’t sound right to me though.

                3.Do you recall if your laticrete drain had a slanted outlet pipe? From the spec sheets I would almost bet that Infinity makes the Laticrete drain for them.

                Thanks Again. I don’t know how you find time for this, you must have a real job too!!

                • Roger

                  1. More and thinner layers.
                  2. Possibly. I would only use one, two could get weird.
                  3. It had a vertical outlet. Never used nor seen one with a horizontal outlet. I know why they’re made, just never had to use one.

                  • Ray

                    Hi Roger

                    Contrary to the start of this thread I have purchased and received a VERTICAL outlet Infinity Linear drain to be installed in slab. Sorry for the mix up, it is not a side outlet. I plan on installing it across the width of a rectangular shower. It will be more towards the middle length wise. In other words I will have to slope the floor in 2 directions since the drain will be in the middle. The SS drain outlet is truly vertical but obviously the PVC drain pipe to the cast iron waste pipe needs to be sloped. Connected directly to the vertical drain outlet via a flex coupling is the P-trap. The PVC and P-trap will not flex at all since they will be in concrete. The drain goes in last after the lower parts are set and cured. I am afraid of putting a lifting pressure on the drain and its flanges via the coupling. So:

                    1. Can I limit the amount of strain on the coupling and drain by installing the drain on a down slope instead of putting it on the level? That would slope the drain outlet and P-trap similar to the slope of the PVC pipe and P-trap.

                    2. Or is it better to install the drain level and somehow fix it on the level until the mud bed has cured and the drain can’t move?


                    • Roger

                      Number 2 is your best option. Not having the drain level may hinder the drainage.

  • DR

    Hey Elf,

    Would like to install a linear drain at the front of a 34 x 48 shower, but I would need a 30″ drain. Could the Laticrete model be trimmed to fit? Should I go with another brand such as Infinity Drain? Or should I suck it up and put a 48″ Laticrete drain along my curb? I would prefer the slope to go downhill rather than sideways since my wife’s left leg is longer than her right and my right is longer than my left. Someone’s gonna be showering like a drunken sailor. OK, so that’s not true, but I still prefer a downhill slope. Another option would to go curbless. Can you have a bypass shower door with that setup? Thanks for your help!

    • Roger

      Hi Dave,

      You can use the 32″ drain and make your curb 2″ smaller. While the tile-in grate *can* be shortened (but shouldn’t), the flange portion can not. You can, however, make your curb extremely thin if needed.

      • DR

        Um, so you’re saying I could use a 2×4 on it’s edge for my curb instead of the stacked 2x4s I’ve seen in the 20 hours of YouTube videos I’ve watched? BOOM, mind just blown! So about that Laticrete drain. Are there weep holes on the tile-in tray I haven’t seen or is it something else? Cause if there’s one thing I’ve learned from your site is that tile and grout ain’t waterproof. Thanks for the awesome advice!

        • Roger

          Yes, you can use a single 2×4 on edge. There are not weep holes, it is a topical drain designed to be utilized with hydroban as your floor waterproofing. You can, however, use it with any other liquid topical membrane as well as using kerdi-fix to attach kerdi to it if you want to go that route.

          • DR

            So about that skinny curb. Can I cover the 2×4 with 1/2″ CBU, tape and mud the seams, then Hydro-Ban? Or should I stick with the fat mud method? Thanks!

            • Roger

              Hi DR,

              Provided you are using hydroban for your shower floor as well then yes, you can hardi your curb and waterproof it with hydroban.

              • DR

                Sounds good! Since this is my first rodeo, I want to make it as easy as I can on myself. Thanks!

                • DR

                  Hey Roger,

                  The lovely Mrs. R has a request. She would like a small niche, 3×4 or 3×5 to put her foot in to assist with leg shaving. I’m down with that but not sure how to best implement. I’m using 12×12 wall tiles. Do I line it up with 2 grout lines or center it in a tile or try and talk her out of it? Thanks again.

                  • Roger

                    Make it 4 inches high and one tile width (12″). It’ll line up better with either the top of bottom of a tile grout line and be large enough that she won’t miss. Stubbing your toe on a shower wall is difficult to explain to people – she’ll thank you for it. :D

                    • DR

                      Like a Boss! Great suggestion, thanks. One last question for today. She also wants a towel bar for washcloths. Best to line it up with the grout line on top or on bottom? Got home opener tickets for the Blue Jackets tonight, stoked for hockey to start! :rockon:

                    • Roger

                      Probably the top, let her choose. It’s hockey season – you have other things to worry about, like what you’re gonna do when my Avalanche destroy your blue jackets on December 31st. :D

  • gerald

    Hi Roger, I’am from the great white north
    I seem to have a problem laying floor tile and keeping them level. I get raised edges and looks like crap.
    Somebody I work with had an idea of using large grout line spacers under the tile in each corner to keep them level, not sure if that’s a good idea and could they crack.
    Thank You.
    PS – You have a great site

    • Roger

      Hi Gerald,

      You always want thinset under your corners – always. They need to be fully supported or they will crack (eventually). You could try mixing up your thinset a bit thicker or, better yet, use a medium-bed mortar to install them.

  • Todd

    When building a shower and part of the shower is on an outside wall, How is that handled? As far as Insulation, backer board and Red Guard, without making a mold sandwich?
    I would just like to know the correct way to do it so that I don’t create an atmosphere for mold growth.

    Thank you,


    • Roger

      Hey Todd,

      Cut slits into any facing the insulation has on it. It doesn’t need to be removed, but if you cut slits in each stud bay then vapor can dissipate if needed.

  • Ken Shewfelt

    Dear Floor Elf,
    I am installing a shower with no pan. I will slant the floor accordingly to a 24 inch drain along the wall. I want to install radiant floor heat under the shower floor. At what pint in the insulation do I insert it?

    Thanks for the reply,

    Ken Shewfelt

    • Roger

      It depends on how you plan on building and waterproofing the floor. Different methods require different stages of installation.

  • Jenny

    Laticrete linear drain shower project
    Hi Roger, I have been reading your blogs all over the net for about a year now. I know, crazy right? But I wanted to learn everything I could about building a properly waterproof shower. Tearing out 40 year old bathroom with mold everywhere. I’ve had to use it for 20 and I’m sooo over it. To get to the point I have decided to use the laticrete system. Love the warranty and their setting materials seem to be top notch. Hydroban because I feel it will be easier than trying to wallpaper. Now that they have introduced their own linear drain makes it even sweeter! I also would like to use their pre formed pan for the same reason. Here’s the question- my shower will be 42 x 48. Entry will be at the 48″ opening but a 4th wall will be added there and a 28″ shower door will be used. The shower heads will be on the 42″ wall on the far side from the door. I am planning a curbless entrance or as close to it as possible. I can either install the linear drain on the 42″ or the 48″ wall. If I place it on the 42″ wall below the shower heads, you will be standing on a flat plane with feet leaning forward. If I place it on the 48″ wall, you would be standing on the slope side to side. Would you really notice that? Which placement would be more comfortable for standing? Thank you for any opinion you can give me- I need to make a decision at this point and run with it. Sorry about the long winded post. By the way, you are very funny and smart~ Thanks, Jenny

    • Roger

      Hi Jenny,

      You stalking me? :suspect:

      Are you lowering your floor? If you aren’t you can’t have the drain along any wall and have a curbless shower. If it’s curbless it needs to be at the entry to the shower. If you want it along one of the short walls you need to have a curb – the floor will be lower on one side than it will on the other. The only way to have it curbless is with the drain along the entry. You need to have a curb two inches above the finished floor, so the lowest you can build your curb is about 3 1/2″.

      Unless you’re lowering your floor, in that case I would have it along the back (long) wall. If you’re building a curb I would have it on the short wall under the shower head.

      • Jenny

        Yeah, you and about 15 other tile guys who hang out on the forums! There’s just something about elfs….
        Thanks for your reply. Yes, we are dropping the sub floor, and raising the bathroom floor a bit to compensate. I would probably opt for a curb before I would put the drain at the entrance. That just seems scary to me, even though elfs aren’t afraid of much. I almost gave up and decided to use a curb (cuz everyone else thought I was crazy, they’re probably right), then all of a sudden my hubby started to see things my way. It always takes him a bit sometimes. So I dug back into the sea of blogs and read some more. It seems that the 2″ above the drain rule doesn’t apply when taking the ADA approach. Of course my shower in no way shape or form qualifies, but if they can do it… I just fell in love with the look of those showers when I started doing my bathroom research, along with the linear drains. The one thing however that would convince me to use a short curb is if the floor would feel funny standing on it with the drain on the back wall. What do you think? Oh, also, if I did put the drain on the side wall- I realize it would slope at the entrance, you would just have a little slice there- say a 1/2″ difference. I have seen it done that way in pictures. But I don’t know if my tile guy is an elf or not, so that might be a little challenging. How lucky though, laticrete’s pre formed curb is 3 1/2″ tall! Still dreaming about going curbless! If this helps at all, I purchased the hansgrohe showerpipe with exposed valve. It has a 10″ rainhead (18″ out from wall) and a handheld that slides on the showerpipe. It is super cool to look at and really simple to use. That will be mounted on the shorter wall farthest from the door. Standing comfortably in the shower trumps the looks. So what do you think? Thanks again, Jenny

        • Roger

          I don’t think it’ll feel funny standing on that floor no matter which way it’s sloped.

          • Jenny

            Thanks Roger for your help and quick replies! Something still tells me to put that drain on the wall with the showerhead, speed bump, small curb whatever at entrance. I have another question (don’t be rolling your eyes) tile top or grate? Love the look of the tile top, but do you think it would be harder or easier to keep clean than the grate? Thanks again, and sorry to keep bugging you, just don’t have anyone around that even knows what a linear drain is. Jenny

            • Roger

              I prefer the tile tops, they disappear well into the design. I would think the stainless grates would be more difficult to clean as they have more nooks and crannies.

              If you are dropping the subfloor you don’t need a curb or speed bump at the entrance at all, it will simply go from the flat bathroom floor and drop from the entrance to the drain once inside the shower.

              I did roll my eyes, but I have three kids – it had nothing to do with you. :D

              • Jenny

                Thanks again Roger, yes kids will also do that to you! I do like the tile top better also. Alright, one more question and I will stop stalking you. Is the minimum slope to the drain 1/4″- my plumbers keep telling me you can go 1/8″ but I can’t find anywhere that that is acceptable. Tile guys all say 1/4. I just don’t want to build the damn thing and not have it drain right. Jenny

                • Roger

                  Outdoor decks are 1/8 per foot on some applications. That’s it. Showers are absolutely 1/4″ per foot minimum – period. Any less than that does not meet even minimum standards.

                  • Jenny

                    Thanks again, I knew I was right, just wanted proof on paper. So much for the “plumbers union” ha. Wish me luck on my project, I feel like I’m going to need it! Maybe I’ll post pics of the finished product if it doesn’t get too screwed up! And that is, if your site isn’t set like facebook where you can de-friend me. Thank god my tile guy believes in waterproofing- anyone I have brought that up to looks like a deer in headlights. Like, what do you mean, tile and grout are waterproof! Thanks for posting the hydro ban and the linear drain. You did it even before laticrete made one. Pretty cool. Keep up the good work on your site- it is very fun to read, even though I might feel a tad bit sorry for your wife! Regards, Jenny

                    • Jenny

                      Hi Roger, stalker lady again. Somehow I bet you just knew I wasn’t going to go away. I feel like my dog is ready to combust. Got my drain today and like another reader, got the fixed legs on the tile in version. The company I bought it from called his laticrete rep and they say there is no such thing as the adjustable feet on the tile in. You said otherwise and also they show the improved version on the laticrete website and it is shown right in the manual for the drain. Do I insist on getting the new grate, or will this one work just fine? (By the way, he told me that you just adjust the height with the thinset, not sure about that one.) Thank you again, Jenny

                    • Roger

                      Hey Jenny,

                      I’ll need to get with my rep and straighten this out. I was told it would have the adjustable feet. That said, the fixed work just fine. You DO NOT adjust the drain insert height with thinset! You can adjust the height of the floor tile if need be to meet the height of the fixed insert.

                    • Bill

                      Hey Roger,

                      Curious to know if you ever got a response from Laticrete, I certainly haven’t after very quick feedback on other questions. I can confirm the manual does show the adjustable tile-in version.

                      Anyway, I’m wondering if you used a product to stick your drain to the floor? My drain is installed and wiggles just a bit. I suspect your modified version doesn’t do that because you ran the backerboard right down into the drain and locked it in, but if you recommend something please share.

                      Finally, unrelated to drains (what a relief), I understand you’re a Laticrete Spectralock fan but it’s a sanded (epoxy) grout and I’m installing very shiny glass tile in my shower. I’m using Laticrete 254 for thinset, and the tile store recommended Polyblend over Spectralock for the grout. Do you have a reco on unsanded (maybe Laticrete 1600) grout for glass tile?

                      Thanks, Bill

                    • Roger

                      Hey Bill,

                      Nope, haven’t followed up (me, not them). I’ll give my rep a call on Monday. I did not use anything to stick it to the floor, never do. You can rock it one way or the other since it wiggles and force thinset beneath the lip. After it cures it’ll be solid.

                      1600 will work just fine. You don’t really want to use epoxy on a full glass installation, no give. DO NOT use polyblend, I hate that stuff. It’s the most inconsistent grout I’ve ever used.

  • Matt


    Remodeling shower using Laticrete linear drain. You’re topical waterproofing guide suggests building walls, then mud deck. Laticrete website builds mud deck, then walls over top. Does it matter??

    • Roger

      Hey Matt,

      Makes no difference at all.

  • Bill

    Hey Rodger,

    Just bought one of these fancy Laticrete drains on your fantastic review, get it home and open the box to see… it didn’t have adjustable feet.

    Any idea where you heard they’d have adjustable feet?

    Thanks, Bil

    • Bill

      Corrections – Roger and Bill, not Rodger and Bil. I was never good with names.

      • Roger

        Hi Bill,

        Where I heard it? Whaddya mean? From whom? I heard it from both my rep as well as the VP of Laticrete.

        Or do you mean where you could get it? They are phasing in the new ones by replacing the old ones as they sell out. If yours has feet it’s one of the older ones. You may be able to return it and get one with adjustable feet.

        I do need to make sure the adjustable feet are available on all the finishes. I know the two stainless grates that I’ve done have adjustable feet but I haven’t yet done another tile-in version since they announced the change. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be available on those as well though.

  • Jerry South San Francisco

    That makes me feel refreshed even without the water on. So organic. The Mentor shows how it’s done! :dance:

  • Matt

    :rockon: You have mad skillz Floor E :rockon: lf.

    • Roger

      word. :rockon: