FreeStyle Linear Drain Installation & shower pan prep, etc.

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Dee in SC, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Dee in SC

    Dee in SC Master of none

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    SC
    I'm in SC near North Augusta, equal distance from Augusta, GA. We're building a new home and I'm looking for a qualified installer of a FreeStyle linear drain in a zero-threshold shower. Actually, I'm more concerned about the fabrication of the shower pan. I've e-mailed the manufacturer, asking about their installers, but from what I can tell from their website, I'm about 3 hours away from anyone they recommend. My question is: how concerned should I be about being the very first customer for my builder's plumber and tile person? From what I've read about installation on the manufacturer's website, the plumber shouldn't have a problem installing the drain. I guess it's the tile person who does the shower pan and waterproofing, right? If I can't find someone with experience in getting this type of shower ready for tiling, am I safer giving up the idea of linear and installing a regular drain. How difficult is it to create the sloping bed for the linear drain? How likely is it that a person of average skill could mess it up? Thanks in advance.
    Dee
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Nobel Freestyle Linear Shower Drain

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
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  4. Dee in SC

    Dee in SC Master of none

    Messages:
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    Location:
    SC
    John,
    Thank you for your time! We break ground in a couple months, so we've got a clean slate. The shower is part of plans drawn by an architect, so the shower structure should get built properly for a no-threshold shower -- although looking at the plans, I don't see a specific drawing with details for the shower. It does say, "Provide floor joists at 12" o.c. under tiled floor areas. Cut down 3" into shower joists for tile slope down and into shower with no raised threshold." The drawing shows a "regular" centralized round drain because I hadn't heard of a linear drain at that time. The plan doesn't include any "structural" detail specifically for the shower. I can take a snapshot of just the shower floor plan right off of the pdf, but don't know how to get it small enough to attach it here.

    As you noted, the closest installer is in Atlanta. I've done more checking and the builder may have one tiler who has worked on showers in gyms and workout places -- builder believes this includes the type of drains I'm asking for. But my experience so far in planning this house is that I have to stay one step ahead of everyone and not leave anything to chance. I'm going to scrutinize the proposed tiler for real experience on this shower and drain or I'll default to a regular drain. I don't want the shower pan and waterproofing messed up. We're in a rural area and people are ...rather set in their ways about how they prefer to do things. Nothing "newfangled" is welcome. I have yet to bring up words like "Kerdi membrane" and don't know how welcome that will be. I did raise the matter of expoxy grout and the reply was less than encouraging. A little research shows me why. Now that I've done some reading, I'll ask about SpectraLock Pro (expoxy-lite) and see how the builder feels, but I'm prepared to apply the SpectraLock myself at this point, if for no other reason than the price tag they quoted for anything resembling epoxy grout.

    The bottom line is that, so far, I'm being presented with "the usual" methods and options that are cost-effective for the builder (and for me, I suppose), but aren't quite the standard I'm looking for. I'm being pro-active in looking for a tiler with this specific skill. But maybe, as I noted in my post, I have nothing to fear about any competent tiler being able to handle this kind of shower pan, even if it's his first of this drain type. We're on a tight budget, but I'm willing to put money into certain long-term, fixed items and postpone other things that we can add after the occupancy permit. But I have another question about the location of the drain. I haven't checked local code, maybe it's stated in there, but does the linear drain have to be a certain distance from the wall in the shower? I've seen pictures of it placed right against the wall. I'm making this up entirely, but wouldn't it be better to be at least 3 inches away from the wall for purposes of cleaning or opening up the drain cover or something? I just "feel" that it needs to be slightly away from the wall, but that's not based on anything technical. Perhaps just aesthetics. I've seen photos of the drain located away from the wall and it seems right to me. Dee
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    22,270
    Location:
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    The floor segments all need to slope towards the drain, so if you don't have it against a wall, even though it's a short distance, that area needs to slope the opposite way. It's easier to have everything slope in one direction only.
  6. Dee in SC

    Dee in SC Master of none

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    SC
    Jim,
    I hear you. But the analyst in me says that keeping water away from the wall seams (though they're protected by a membrane) is always best. Besides, if a regular drain requires multiple slopes to draw water from all sides of the shower, why is it difficult to have two sloping areas: a large single slope in the majority of the shower and a single slope area on the other side of the drain next to the wall. As a potential owner of the drain in our future home, my gut reaction when I saw a photo of the drain flush against the wall was ... hmmm?... and when I saw a photo of another one about 3-4" from the wall, I thought, "There you go!" The drain against the wall *looks* good, but I just couldn't overcome the instinctive desire to keep water away from the wall seam. The good news for tilers everywhere is that most customers probably don't think this hard about their shower pan, etc. :)
    Dee
  7. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
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    A properly installed membrane IS waterproof, so the wall/floor seam is no more subject to a leak than any other point.
  9. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Nobel Company Channel drain install - New Construction

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  10. Dee in SC

    Dee in SC Master of none

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
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    A properly installed membrane IS waterproof, so the wall/floor seam is no more subject to a leak than any other point.
    True, but like I said, it's my gut reaction.
    Dee
  11. Dee in SC

    Dee in SC Master of none

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    SC
    John,
    I've e-mailed to you pdf docs of the engineer's drawing of the area containing the shower, as well as the architect's floor plan of the bathroom. Now that I'm looking at the architect's drawing and the shape of the shower, I can see that it won't be a simple matter of a single-slope floor down to the drain. We're planning for the inevitable decrepitude :( in making this ADA friendly and "no-threshold" and I just now realized what the shower's shape and entry point means for the slope of the shower where it meets the entry. I'll have to think about this in relation to the linear drain. I was hoping that the shower floor would be nicer to stand on by eliminating the multiple slopes, but we maybe can't avoid that. The linear drain may not be "best" for us.

    You're right that the linear drain is a splurge item. My husband is such a good man and we've both gotten to where we are by hard work and sacrifice. I wanted to splurge a little so that he starts each day with a feeling of "luxury" or "specialness" when he steps into the shower. I'm even willing to postpone purchases such as laundry room cabinets in order to do so. But only if I can work out this floor slope situation. It may defeat the purpose I'm trying for if there's no possibility anyway of achieving my goal of a "smooth" shower floor.

    That said, I'm still keen to find the right tiler, since that seems critical to me, to avoid future leaks. If we default to a "regular" drain, I'll still check the experience level of the builder's tiler. I don't want to be an annoyance to the builder or tiler, but neither do I want to abdicate my responsibility to ask for up-to-date waterproofing.

    Thanks for input on the Noble vs Kerdi. I've got notes on both, but didn't pick up on the TS part. Glad to hear your support for SpectraLock. It sounds like we'll use it. This is where I need to be very careful not to be telling the tiler how to do his job. I wouldn't want someone telling me how to do my job. But I do want to ask him what his method is and then I can guide him to my preference, with my questions, if necessary. It may not be necessary, but I won't know until that very moment and that's not the time for me to start learning.
    Dee
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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  13. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
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  14. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Floor Finishes outside the bathroom

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  15. Church_Shoes

    Church_Shoes New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    North Augusta, SC
    Dee,
    We recently built an ada accessible shower with no barrier in my granddad's house in North Augusta, SC right next to our house. We are also going to build another one for my sister's house in the next month or two. I can post some of the pictures of his shower if you would like to see what we managed to do with no plumber help or any help from anyone except from the internet and what we knew about plumbing. If you feel comfortable enough with trying to do this by ourself than a licensed plumber around here should be able to do it for you as well. The hardest part of the whole shower is figuring out the slope for the floor. After that it is all just a simple place and go. Let me know if you would like for me to post some pictures of his shower for you.
    CS
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Bothell, Washington
    I think we need to see the pictures.
    They can be attached at 800 pixels or less.
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