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Thread: basement shower drain

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member DanAK's Avatar
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    Default basement shower drain

    Iím replacing a leaking fiberglass shower with a custom tiled one in my basement. The old one is all ripped out and I am down to concrete floor with a 2Ē copper drain pipe extending up about 1 ľĒ.) I canít seem to find a suitable drain. They all seem to be too big. They seem designed to fit larger (and PVC, not copper) drain pipe, and also seem to be at least 4Ē high.

    If I use some kind of adapter to change from copper to PVC Iíll be making the drain even higher.

    It seems a drain sort of like used for bathtubs, that slips down inside with a sealing collar would be great. But I havenít seen anything like that suitable for a tiled shower, with weepholes.

    Is there some solution short of chopping out the embedding concrete floor?

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    No, there is not, unless you want to end up with a ridiculously high shower floor. Showers require special drains, and there is a bit involved in figuring where to
    place them, along with all the other details of shower construction.
    Last edited by Terry; 09-20-2011 at 06:29 AM.

  3. #3
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Replacement Drain Options for your next Basement Shower

    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-18-2014 at 07:23 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You need a drain with a rubber seal for the pipe, but THEN you need to order the rubber seal that fits 2" copper pipe. ALL the proper drains wil be about 2"-3" above the concrete so you can install the PROPER membrane and mortar/concrete sub base under the tile.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member DanAK's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    What Iím hearing is Iím going to have to break out some concrete around my drain pipe, even for drains like the Proline or ACO (which I hadnít considered but do look great). Like many projects this started as ďjustĒ a little leak and keeps growing in size and scope at each new revelation. Iíd hoped to avoid breaking out the concrete to not only avoid that extra work and potential for a new round of issues, but also the risk of damaging the embedded copper drain. But of course I want to do it right Ė I sure donít want to have to revisit it or leave a mess for someone else down the road. This is what I've got, 2" copper coming up about 1 1/4 inches Name:  IMG_5557.JPG
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Size:  96.4 KB

    All Iíve found available around here are a plastic 3 piece like this: Name:  drain1.jpg
Views: 1412
Size:  17.8 KB or a metal one, slightly bigger like: Name:  drain2.jpg
Views: 1411
Size:  21.0 KB

    I now see a few more styles online, but still nothing like I was hoping Ė sort of something like the Davke 4000 but designed with weepholes for a membrane/tile installation. And would have a minimal height so I could keep the final level of the shower floor to something reasonable. But since that doesnít seem to exist I guess I need to chop out some of the concrete to make room for an adapter and drain.

    Along that line, will a masonry blade on my circular saw, masonry chisel and hand sledge get it done? Any trick on protecting the copper pipe? Or will that not matter anyway?

    As far as waterproofing the pan, I was planning on using a rubber (neoprene?) membrane available at Home Depot with a 3 piece drain, since thatís pretty much all Iíve seen available around here. They have red guard too, but I was thinking thatíd be a little riskier in making it all good and water proof. The Kerdi stuff is pretty convincing in its waterproofing and quality and ease though. I think Iíd have to order it if I was going that way. I hadnít been aware of most of the other stuff mentioned, like Nobel and Wedi, etc.

    Thanks for your help.

  6. #6
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    A liquid trowel on membrane like Redgard (and others) can be good for you. Read the Redgard site. You don't need to go down and open up space for weepholes when you use Redgard (and others like it.).

  7. #7
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    ... ALL the proper drains wil be about 2"-3" above the concrete .... PROPER membrane and mortar/concrete sub base ...
    John Whipple is right in this case, and HJ is wrong in this case.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sometimes, you really need to tear up the concrete. It's hard to say, but the copper line (and trap?) could be corroded. The only way to find out is to tear some concrete up. You'll need to make your connection below where you currently have access in order to keep the pan height reasonable, and, in the process, you'll be able to see the condition of the piping buried there.

    There are numerous ways to build a shower that work well; the method you mention with a pre-slope, liner, setting bed is a decent, traditional method. I prefer a surface membrane rather than a liner embedded below a bunch of cementitious bulk. While RedGard is capable of making your waterproof layer, I prefer some other materials. All of the tested, proven shower construction methods are described in the TCNA handbook (Tile Council of North America). If you follow any one of them, you'll have a quality, good performing, long-lasting shower.

    John has some ongoing disagreements with the pros over at www.johnbridge.com. 'Shop' both sites and if you're fair, I think you'll find them quite helpful.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default 2" Copper basement Drain - checking depth levels

    Post(s) removed by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-18-2014 at 07:23 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member DanAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    How deep are you to the water level? From the existing grade?

    JW
    "water level" meaning ground water? That's not a problem. It's a split level house, this floor is about 4' below grade and water table is much below that. No issues with ground water.

    On other thoughts, I'm pretty confident the drain itself is OK. Water is visible in the trap and when there was a shower it didn't have any troubles there. It had good drainage, no backing up. The leak was almost certainly from the original drain to fiberglass pan connection and to drain itself. It actually wasn't connected! It had an open bottom metal cup resting on the concrete (just with the weight of the shower surround)with the drain pipe coming up in the middle.The cup had a trim ring attaching it to the shower pan, but it was loose and of course no way to reach the nut underneath, which was horribly corroded anyway. I'm not sure if it was caulked at the cup to concrete/drain interface with something like oakem or just 40 years of hair and gunk. Water would have to fill the cup the 1 1/4" before spilling down the drain. I assume the cup is part of some original old drain that someone either removed the rest of somewhere along the line or possible even originally DIY installation and couldn't get to fit, as it was also off center to the drain pipe. It didn't get much use by us until fairly recently. Amazingly it didn't apparently leak much - tablespoons per shower. And due to some 'creative' framing and layout it had a ways to go before finally appearing in the next room as a wet baseboard and carpet. By the time I started ripping it open of course there was plenty of rot.

    Thanks again for your replies.

  11. #11
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Hooking up a basement drain - replacing a leaking fiberglass pan

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    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-18-2014 at 07:23 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  12. #12
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default How to lower a Basement Shower Drain - 2" or 1 1/2" Copper

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    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  13. #13
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Connecting to a 2" Copper Basement Shower Drain

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    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-18-2014 at 07:24 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; John Whipple is right in this case, and HJ is wrong in this case

    I am not sure WHAT you were reading, but that is EXACTLY the same thing I said. The flange is level with the concrete, the membrane fastens to it, and the drain sticks up about 3" to give the proper subbase above the membrane.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  15. #15
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The nominal thickness of the setting bed above the liner is around 1.5", then add the thickness of the tile and the anchoring thinset. Underneath the liner, as mentioned, about 3/4" over a slab is good, although on a slab (but not on a wooden subfloor), you can get by with less. If you use a surface membrane (like Kerdi) and their special drain, the drain would end up about that minimum of 3/4" above the slab, though, and provide the lowest floor (at least verses a traditional liner shower) as a surface membrane does not use a drain with weepholes since the membrane makes it the waterproof layer.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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