Can A Basement Floor Drain Be Used For A Shower?

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A basement with a shower is one additional perk that adds something new to your house. If you have converted your basement into a room, it would be reasonable to add a shower to it. But can a basement floor drain handle shower drainage? In this article, we have researched various answers and we will tell you if it's possible or not.

Yes, but this depends on the type of floor drain that your basement has. If it is a French drain, you may not use it as it is only designed for intermittent water flow and not continuous. If it is a traditional drain that is connected to the sewer, then you can use it as a shower drain.

Interested to learn more about the details? Continue below as we elaborate on how to identify if your basement drain is compatible with a shower and many more.

Female feet at the shower, wet tile floor with drain. Can A Basement Floor Drain Be Used For A Shower

Can I shower in my basement?

As we discussed earlier, the first step is to identify if the drain you have is a traditional or French type. The easiest way to do this is by pulling the cover of the drain off. If you see sand or rocks, then it is a French drain. If you see a pipe, then it's a traditional drain.

Most of the time, French drains are used in your basement. The main reason why you can't use this for a shower is its lack of ability to drain the water quickly. Showering can cause flooding in your basement as the amount of water that pours from the shower is too much for the drain to quickly expel it.

Here is a simple video that shows how you can connect a French drain to a pipe.

You can do this yourself, but if it is too technical and you lack the skills and equipment, we recommend hiring professionals to do it for you.

Pros and Cons of a Basement Shower

A basement shower is only ideal if you are frequently using your basement. If your basement serves as a storage unit and is barely visited, then it is not ideal to have one.

You have to consider that basements are usually the coldest part of the house, showering in a cold room can be uncomfortable, especially without a heater. Leaving the shower can come as a shock in the chilly temperature of your basement.

On the other hand, if you have transformed your basement into a walkout basement or a place that serves as a secondary living room, then a shower area would be good. This would add extra value to your house as additional amenities would be attractive to prospective homeowners.

If you have also converted your basement to a bedroom, a shower would add extra privacy as you would not have to leave your room to bathe. This also adds to the value of your house.

While on the topic of showers in basements, a previous article that we have written titled "How To Finish A Basement Bathroom With Rough-In Plumbing" might interest you, so go ahead and check it out.

brown tiled floor with floor drain

How do I convert my basement drain to a shower drain?

If you are planning to convert your existing basement drain to a shower drain, here are some simple steps that we've researched to help you do it yourself.

Prepare the Working Area

Turn off the water supply to your basement drain. If there is no water line to your basement, you will have to install one. You also have the option of hiring a professional to do this for you.

Especially if your basement needs to have a water line installed and a French drain connected to a pipeline or sewer, this task may take major renovation depending on the layout of your basement.

Once the water is off, and you've completed any necessary construction, prepare the area. Clean your work area to remove dust and dirt.

Clear the Floor

If the floor drain is on tiles, you will have to remove the tiles as your shower pan should be alternatively constructed later on.

Remove the Floor Drain

Take a flat screwdriver to remove the floor drain's strainer. If your floor drain is already connected to a drainpipe, remove the compression nuts. You might want to use a wrench to do this.

Install the Shower Drain Pipe

Cut the floor drain pipe and install the shower drain pipe. Since this is typically larger, it may need to be replaced with two-inch diameter pipes to fit the shower drain pipe.

Assemble the Shower Drain

To assemble, apply adhesive around the flange of the shower drain body. Put the rubber washer and slip-washer around the flange. 

Put the compression gasket and compression nut on the pipe. Using a wrench, install the shower drain body to the pipe.

Finishing

There are many options for finishing your shower pan, especially for flooring. We will discuss this process below. Alternatively, you can hire a contractor for the finishing touches.

Cost

The average cost to install a shower drain is $56.20 per drain, this can range anywhere from $50.42 to $61.98.

The estimated price of labor per drain averages at about $304.76, coming in between $276.31 to $333.21. These are only ballpark figures, as your final cost will depend on your location and the size of the project.

A closeup of a chrome shower drain set in on a white shower floor

Do you need a shower pan liner on a concrete floor?

You can shower without a pan liner underneath or on your concrete floor. However, a liner is more robust and less sensitive compared to tiles. We recommend that you still get one even your shower floor is just concrete.

Shower pan liners are there to protect your bathroom floors from leaking. It is additional waterproofing for the bathroom floor and prevents seepage to other parts of the bathroom. This helps in concentrating the water into the shower area and helps maintain a tidy and clean bathroom.

Over time, moisture can still penetrate through the cement and cracks of the floor, so a pan liner would remedy this. And if you decide to tile your bathroom, it would be easier because a pan liner is already there, they are placed under the shower pan that separates the main shower floor from its subfloor.

Many mistakenly think that tiles are what make a shower floor waterproof, it is actually your shower pan liner. Pan liners are made out of PVC turned into sheets which gives its waterproofing ability. This is also an industry-standard practice, as it adds safety and durability to your shower floor, be it concrete or not.

Click here for a shower pan liner kit on Amazon.

We have written an article about choosing which bathroom flooring should you pick titled, "What Is The Best Flooring For A Basement Bathroom?" You can refer to this as a guide for your bathroom flooring questions.

Soap foam suds and water flowing into bathroom drainage hole

Can you use regular concrete for a shower pan?

Of course, you can. If you decide not to put tiles on your shower floor, plain concrete is completely acceptable. Concrete shower floors have been around ever since the 1800s and possess many pros; below are some of them.

High Water Damage Resistance

Concrete is less susceptible and more durable against water damage. If properly installed and regularly checked for cracks, concrete floors easily last longer compared to other options like teak and tiles.

Durability and Longevity

Concrete is durable to damage in general. It reacts better against chemicals, scratches, and weathering from the elements while still maintaining its overall integrity.

Low Maintenance

Concrete is very easy to clean and is not sensitive to cosmetic damage compared to other flooring options available. Although you may have to be careful with some cleaning chemicals as they can discolor cement. Bleach is one safe and very cheap cleaning agent that cleans well on cement and at the same time does not discolor it.

Economic

For the reasons stated above, maintaining concrete is cheaper compared to other flooring materials. Installing it is also cheaper and easier as you would still need concrete as your subfloor underneath tile or teak flooring if you opt to go this way.

water flowing over into metal drain on the tiled floor of a shower. Can A Basement Floor Drain Be Used For A Shower

In summary

A basement floor drain can be used for a shower drain depending on whether or not your basement drain is already connected to a drainpipe and not a French drain. Bathroom basements also help in boosting the value of your house as it adds extra amenities to your house.

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