View Full Version : Copper pan drain.

05-07-2007, 04:39 AM
How do you install the drain to a copper pan and what do you use to cut the hole in the copper pan?

05-07-2007, 05:59 AM
You connect the drain the same as to a lead or sheet goods pan. You cut the hole with tin snips or a hole saw. BUT, I have seen copper pans that have deteriorated because of moisture and contact with the concrete/mortar tile base.

05-07-2007, 06:37 AM
So tin snips and then solder the drain on the pan, any specific height?

05-07-2007, 07:57 AM
It is nearly impossible to do a copper drain pan to meet code. Code says that the waterproof layer must be sloped. If you don't have that, you are building a pan for stagnent water. It may not leak into your floor, but it will accumulate water slowly. The grout is NOT waterproof, and there will be small opportunities for moisture to accumulate there. If it was sloped to the drain, it would slowly drain through the setting medium.

I know some people think that this is the best system, and it sure costs a lot, so people think it is great, but it plain just isn't right. Ask a plumber how to slope a drain line, then ask him why water will flow out of the pan when it sits flat...if he stops to think about it, he'll probably just say, well, my pans don't leak, and I've been making them like that forever - just like I was taught. Seems more of a NE, maybe Mass thing.

Build a shower pan per the national codes - there a numerous ways, PVC liner, Kerdi, Wedi, and other waterproof membranes on a SLOPED bed. A proper tiled shower pan is made up of 5-6 layers: (lath if on a wood subfloor), presloped bed, liner, top setting layer, thinset, tile. There are ways to shortcut that, but putting the liner on the floor, flat is not one of them.

Check out www.johnbridge.com (http://www.johnbridge.com) for building a tiled shower.

05-07-2007, 11:49 AM
that is right. Once it is built and put in place, is it sloped to the drain?

And if the answer to that question is yes, then one more big question has to be raised: when water runs towards the drain, does it collect around the drain and have to run uphill to jump out of the pan? Or is there a Way Out, an Exit Path, for the water that gets there. Once it slides to to the drain, under the grout and tile, how does it go away and leave? If anyone tells you it just wicks out or evaporates, they are wrong. This explains why many showers have a particular smell. It's stagnant water soaked in under the whole floor of a flat pan, or around the drain in a sloped pan, both of which are unacceptable.

I think many plumbers are aware of the need for a liner, and some know that it has to be sloped. Hardly anyone knows how to build a sloped self draining liner under the tiles.


05-10-2007, 09:46 PM
Soldered the brass drain to the center of the pan, crawled under the house and glued in the trap. Filled the pan with water and marked the line on the side of the pan, came back the next day and the water was still at the mark.
Tile guy will be coming in to mortar and tile. This is the preferred way in New England. Maybe not the best, but the tile guy swears by it.

05-11-2007, 05:45 AM
Maybe he swears by it, but then even "This old house" and the other reality shows do things that they swear by. But they only have to work until the camera is turned off, and your tile guy just has to get through a single year before he is off the hook also.

05-11-2007, 07:30 AM
Ask the guy how any (albiet small, but accumulating) water flows out of a flat pan. Believe me, while it may take a number of years, you will start to notice wet grout and smells starting from your shower. This does NOT need to happen if the national codes are followed. While the inspector may pass it, he shouldn't because it does not meet code unless it is sloped to the drain.

05-11-2007, 01:14 PM
hi canton

The open shower thread now currently running http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13032 is a similar situation. A guy wanted to know whether he had the right thing. Ask your tile guy if he's using a drain with weep holes, like the Oatey drain linked to in that thread. Ask him if he can slope the copper a bit.

I'm sure you have seen (or seen pictures of) those fancy industrial kitchen sinks with flat bottoms: the bottom is creased at the corners because the bottom is in reality slightly sloped; the four sloped planes that come together at the drain cause four creases in the flat metal. The metalworker puts the crease there in the beginning, knowing that the sink will have four flat plane surfaces joining at one place. You could have that too.

I realize you are in a business "relationship" with your tile guy and what he says sounds right because he knows what he does. But I think you are under his spell a bit too much. It more a relationship than a business. Stand on your own two feet. Think for yourself. Weepholes and slope. :)