Linear Shower Drain Problems and Solutions: A Complete Guide

Designing your shower with a linear drain can excitingly spice up the looks quite a lot. It’s classy, effective, and very different from all the traditional square or round shower drains out there. While it may give you the desired…

QP Review is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Designing your shower with a linear drain can excitingly spice up the looks quite a lot. It’s classy, effective, and very different from all the traditional square or round shower drains out there.

While it may give you the desired looks, it does come with its fair share of problems. Here, we will discover the linear shower drain problems and how to solve them easily. We also talk about choosing the right drain and maintaining them as well.

So, if you plan to install a linear shower drain in your new shower, you better stick to the end of this article.

Understanding Of Linear Shower Drains

Understanding Of Linear Shower Drains

As the name suggests, linear shower drains are simply just a line or a channel that you build into your shower floor. The channel collects water and sends it to the drain outlet like any typical shower drain. These drains are pretty much the shape of a rectangular line with a longer length. Mostly, they should cover up the whole length or width of the floor, depending on how you install them. Usually, the length can go from 500 mm to 2000 mm.

The key advantages of linear shower drains

Various types of linear shower drains

You would want a linear shower drain over the traditional center drain for several reasons. Let’s get through some of the linear shower drain pros –

Luxurious to look at

The main purpose of installing a linear shower drain is simply because of its looks. They add a premium vibe to the shower and make them look luxurious. The unique design can set your shower apart from others with a centralized square or circular shower drain.

Quick and easy to install

Linear drains can be very easy to install within a short time. All you need for installing linear shower drain is to ensure your shower floor is slightly sloped in a direction. It’s much easier and quicker to slope a floor in one direction than doing it from all sides.

Fewer leaking issues

Another benefit of a linear drains is that they don’t leak as much. The construction of these drains is pretty solid and accurate. As a result, there are usually fewer chances of leaking problems with them.

Versatile for placement

Something that makes these drains shine is their placement versatility. You can place these drains almost anywhere in your shower. The drains will work if the floor is slightly sloped in one direction.

Perfect for disabled and older people

Installing a linear drain can make the shower a much safer place for differently abled and old people. These drains can reduce the chances of slipping and falling.
Also, since you have to have an open shower to install such drains, there is the option to help them in unforeseen circumstances.

Various types of linear shower drains

Various types of linear shower drains

When it comes to linear shower drains, most of them function the same. The only difference you get to see is in their looks.

Based on the design and style, three types of linear shower drains are more common. They are –

Tiled-in linear drains

Tiled-in linear drains basically have a design that hides the drain underneath a tile construction.
It’s perfect for blending the drain with your shower tiles. The drawback is that they can clog up way more and don’t have good water flow.

Grated linear drains

Grated linear drains pretty much have the look of classic shower drains. They have a grated design; their linear shape and size are the only difference.
These drains are great for water flow but may not be the best at hiding in plain sight.

Adjustable linear drain

In terms of flexibility, adjustable linear drains can be a great option for your shower. You can easily adjust the length of the drain according to your needs. It’s the perfect choice when you are unsure of the length measurements.

The Common Problems of Linear Shower Drains and Solution

The Common Problems of Linear Shower Drains

Now that you have a basic understanding of linear shower drains, let’s get down to the common issues you can face with them. We also provide solutions and problems, so you won’t just be stuck with the problems here.

1. Clogging Hair and Debris

Clogging is one of the biggest problems with a linear drain for shower. Often times you will see the linear drain is clogged up with either hair or debris around it. While any drain can have the issue, linear shower drains tend to have them more often and easily.


What causes the linear drains to clog up frequently is their long shape. Due to the long shape, there is not enough pressure or flow of water. As a result, the water fails to drain the hair or debris through the shower drain.

Eventually, the remaining hair and debris will build up in the channel of the drain and cause it to clog up.


The only solution to this problem is to go through a cleaning routine on your linear drain. For instance, if you can visibly see hair or debris accumulating around the drain, pick it up and throw it in the trash.

You can also use a bathroom cleanser and spray it on the drain to clean it. It’s a perfect cleaning solution for a tile-in linear drain. Besides that, you can remove the grate to remove the hair or debris as often as possible.

In short, following proper maintenance of the linear drain is the only solution you have to this problem.

2. Musty smell from shower drain

A lot of the time, you can have a musty smell coming from your linear shower drain. The smell can be very irritating and disturbing to deal with most of the time. They can also make you sick and cause issues like nausea, dizziness, and headaches.


There are multiple causes for a linear shower drain to have that musty smell. One of the most common causes is mold growth. Molds can emit a very musty-smelling gas during their metabolism process, which is the exact same smell you get from your drain.

Leading causes of mold growth in a linear drain are mold from natural oils and dead skin cells of human bodies. Whenever you shower, molds will wash off with water and travel to the drain.

Since linear drains can’t have a strong water flow, the mold doesn’t drain out properly and gets stuck in the drain. Slowly, they build up and grow in the drain to release the smell.


To solve the issue of a musty-smelling linear drain, you will need to prepare a solution and pour it down the drain to remove mold. You will need baking soda, white distilled vinegar, and boiled water to make the solution. Here’s what you do –

  1. First, add water and baking soda at a 1:1 ratio into a container and mix them together to create a paste.
  2. Then, take a brush and smear the paste on your drainage system.
  3. Let the paste stay on the drain for about ten minus until you scrub it off using the brush.
  4. Keep doing this at a 10-minute interval until you see the molds coming off of the drain.
  5. After the molds are off, you have to kill them with hot boiling water at 140-150 degrees temperature.
  6. To finish the mold removal, pour one cup of distilled vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda into the drain.

The water is not draining properly

One of the most common linear shower drain cons is water containment. Sometimes the water will not drain properly in your shower, leaving you with water everywhere. In fact, it can get so bad that water will start to come out as the shower is typically open and sloped.


Improper installation or a clogged shower drain are the only causes of this problem with your linear shower drain. If the drain isn’t installed properly or installed in the wrong location, you will have this problem.

A bad drain installation simply can’t drain the water at all. As a result, there will be water remaining all over your shower. And if you choose the wrong location for the drain, the water may not be directed towards the drain, resulting in the water containment issue.


Since the cause of the problem is bad installation, the solution is to follow a proper installation. But you can’t do that after experiencing the problem, right? So, here are some things you can try to control the issues a bit.

  1. Get a rain shower head or vertical shower head to control the direction of the water coming from them.
  2. Renovate the shower with the proper placement of a linear drain. Make sure to hire a skilled professional to avoid future problems.

Choosing the Right Linear Shower Drain for Your Bathroom

Choosing the Right Linear Shower Drain for Your Bathroom

Now, when it comes to choosing the linear shower drain, you have to go through some factors to get the right one. And getting the right drain is crucial before a linear shower drain installation. Otherwise, you can have the problems we discussed above more frequently.
Here are the factors to consider –

Type of shower

The first thing you must consider is the kind of shower you have. Linear shower drains only work on open, walk-in, curbless, or a shower with only one slop without any barriers. If your shower isn’t any of these, then avoid it.

Installation type and place

Where you want to place the linear drain and how you plan to install it can also help you decide which drain to get. There are linear drains that are made for the wall-to-wall installation, against a wall, center pitch, barrier-free and threshold installation.

Cover type

Coming to the cover type, you get choices between grated and tiled-in. Simply put, if you want the most sophisticated look, then go for a tiled-in linear drain. And for a more functional and easy-to-clean option, go with a grated linear drain.


Coming to the sizes of drains, you can get them in three different choices. They are –

Sizing optionsSizes (inches)
Fixed-size drain12, 24, 32, 36, 48, 58
Adjustable size drain36, 48, 60, 72, 96
Supreme drain sizes30, 40, 50, 60


Well, the price of the linear drain you choose is completely up to your budget. Typically, the size, material quality, finish, functionality, and design will determine the price of the linear drain.

Maintenance Tips for Long-lasting Linear Shower Drains

Maintenance Tips for Long-lasting Linear Shower Drains

As we discussed earlier, proper maintenance can help you avoid hair or debris clogging in the shower. Let’s look at some maintenance tips to help you achieve a cleaner linear drain for shower setup.

  • Try to clean your linear shower at least twice a month.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals while cleaning the drains.
  • Make sure to remove any hair or debris stacked up on the drain immediately.
  • Follow up on a deep cleaning session every 3 to 4 months.
  • Get a drain cover to prevent the drain from clogging frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions about Linear Shower Drain Problems and Solutions

Let’s go through some of the most popular questions about linear drains. You may find answers to some questions lingering in your mind as well.

What is the difference between a linear shower drain and a traditional drain?

Some major differences between a linear shower drain and a traditional drain are their shapes, sizes, styles, designs, installation, and cost.

Can I install a linear shower drain myself?

Yes, you can only if you have enough experience. Linear shower drains can be tricky to install, and if you can’t do it properly, you will have many problems.

How often should I clean my linear shower drain?

It’s best to clean your shower drain 1 or 2 times a month. And follow up with a deep cleaning every 3 to 4 months.

Can I use chemical drain cleaners for a linear shower drain?

Yes, you can, but you must avoid some acids and harsh chemicals. These are formic acid, acetic acid, chlorine bleach solutions, muriatic acids, hydrochloric acid, and phosphoric acid.

How do I prevent water damage around the linear drain?

The best way to prevent water damage around the linear drain is to do waterproofing during installation. Or you can get a linear drain with integrated waterproofing to avoid the problem altogether.

Are linear shower drains suitable for all types of shower floors?

While linear shower drains are perfect for tiled showers, they are usable in almost any shower floor type.

What is the average lifespan of a linear shower drain?

The average lifespan of a typical linear shower drain is around 10 years.

Are there any alternative solutions to linear shower drains?

Trench drains can be an alternative to linear shower drains for commercial places. But for home showers, you can get central showers as an alternative choice.

Is it necessary to hire a professional for drain repairs?

Yes, working on drain repairs is something that requires expertise and skills. So you have to hire a professional to get it done.


After going through all the linear shower drain problems, you clearly get the idea that installation of the drain is crucial. Also, following regular maintenance is key to avoiding problems.

Having said that, you can’t get a much more premium-looking drain system other than linear drains. And making that extra effort in maintenance and hiring an expert professional to install it is totally worth it.

Related articles

Alessia Jackson

Alessia Jackson

June 27, 2023


Home Improvement, Bathroom

Struggling with the Kerdi Shower pan sizes? Then, come aboard as we are about to explore everything about the sizes...



March 21, 2023


Review, Home Improvement, Kitchen

Durability and resistance to stain or damage have made sinks of steel popular. Here are the best stainless steel under-mount...

Rakib Hasan

Rakib Hasan

March 20, 2023


Review, Bathroom, Home Improvement

Looking for the best shower valve? We’re here to help. Get in, to find the reviews of the best shower...

Stay Up to Date With The Latest News & Updates

Write For Us - Contribute to QP Review!

We're always looking for talented writers to share their insights and expertise on Home Improvement industry. If you're passionate about Improvement area. we want to hear from you! Eamail us at

Join Our Newsletter

Do you want to receive free resources, helpful information, and inspiring stories delivered straight to your inbox? Join our newsletter and never miss a thing!

Follow Us

Join our community of fans and supporters by following us on social media – we'd love to connect with you!