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How to Install a Shower Grate

Shower grates (also known as linear floor grates, or shower channels, or floor drains) are now so popular they are the norm in most new contemporary bathrooms - but do not get the installation wrong.  When installed properly, their simplistic straight lines and minimalist design makes them popular.

Renovator Store customers have sent in numerous photos of their finished bathrooms to show off their shower grate - and they look great! (no pun intended).

What is even better though, is that a linear shower channel can be a much simpler installation than your traditional centre floor waste.

Why is that?  Well a centre floor waste requires fall from all four sides and this can be tricky and time consuming for the tiler who has to slope the tiles and do numerous cuts to feed surface water from all directions towards the centre floor waste.

Shower grates, on the other hand, are long and straight - and if positioned smartly, will only require a linear slope from one direction to the straight edge of the grate.  Ask a tiler how many hours they will save by having a simple linear slope in the shower rather than floor slopes to a centre waste.  Chances are the time saving will pay for the shower channel itself if you have shopped wisely.

Why do you think you see linear floor drains around pools - because it would be a nightmare to slope the coping towards centre drains.


styles of shower grates

How to Install a Shower Grate - Properly

So how do the bathroom floor drains get installed?  The new way that is described in the latest Australian Standard governing this is to first have the bathroom fully waterproofed by an approved water-proofing contractor and then install your grate tray on top of the membrane over your plumbed drain.  Bedding is then built up around the grate tray and the tiled surface is installed right up to the tray edge.

Installing shower grates on timber floor

Installing shower grates on concrete floor

What many homeowners do not appreciate is that water actually travels under tiles through grout and screed - like a slow seepage.  It therefore needs to be able escape over the membrane and into the plumbed drain.  The diagram above highlights that the shower grate outlet and tray should leave sufficient space between the plumbed drain and the tray outlet so this sub-surface water can escape.


Common Errors on Installing Shower Channels

What some installers do incorrectly is seal or tightly fit the tray outlet into the plumbed drain.  In this scenario the sub-surface water cannot escape as the membrane is water tight and the drain is sealed - and over the years your bathroom will smell damp and eventually your tiles will pop.  Some other installers attempt to put the tray under the membrane and make the stainless steel tray be the exit point of all water in the bathroom - firstly, as steel contracts and expands at different rates to the surrounding materials the membrane has a good chance of eventually splitting where it meets the steel, and secondly, the sub-surface water still cannot escape.

Therefore we recommend that only shower grates designed to sit above the water proofing are safe.  They effectively act as a surface channel to guide surface water to the drain outlet and they should not be allowed to interrupt the passage of any sub-tile moisture to the drainage system.  Follow these simple guidelines in the diagrams and you will have a perfectly performing shower grate, and a fantastic looking shower (and no tiles popping up in 5 years time!). 

 Where can my Shower Grate be placed?

The great thing about shower grates is they can be installed against a wall, in the middle of a shower, at the entrance to a shower, or wherever suits your situation.  For more information and inspiration visit Renovator Store's website

tile insert shower grateWhat to look for when selecting a shower grate

Here are a few things to look for when shopping for a shower grate:

  • Is it all stainless steel?  Some shower grate products use plastic trays and components and we hear the issues they encounter

  • Is the steel thick and strong?  If you plan the grate to be where it has to bear weight, check that it is designed to do this

  • What is the quality of the steel?  Is it guaranteed not to rust?

  • Is it Watermark approved?  Drainage products are governed by Australian Standards and the product should display a Watermark symbol to highlight it is approved to Australian standards.  The standards are mostly to do with the material, construction and the slope of the fall so water drains properly

  • Can it be custom made?  No two bathrooms are the same and often you need an outlet off centre, or a very specific length to suit your situation

  • Is it easy to clean?  Can the top grill be easily removed to provide access for cleaning, and is the steel polished so cleaning is simple?

  • You should also carefully consider the depth of tray you need, the appropriate width, and select an outlet size that fits loosely inside your plumbed drainage for the reasons above.

  • And lastly, pick a style that will last and suit your taste and decor!

Check out the range of Aguzzo Stainless Steel shower grates, shower channels, and centre floor wastes at Renovator Store.  They are renowned for their workmanship, durability, design, lifetime warranty, and having the fastest delivery time available in Australia.