While shower drains aren’t complicated, they’re more than the simple hole visible at the bottom area of the shower. The water that falls over from the shower goes down the drain into a sewer system.

At the same time, the drain is designed in such a way that it prevents the back up of sewer gases into the bathroom.

Also, the shower drain opening should be watertight such that water drains without seeping beneath the base area and damage the shower area floor.

shower drain installed in a bathroom

The Drain Trap

The shower drainage features a piping that has a trap as part of its key components. The trap in the shower drain works like the one beneath the kitchen sink.

While the sink trap is P-shaped, you may find some S-shaped shower traps. The S-shape allows water to drain vertically upon clearing through the S-shaped curve rather than draining horizontally.

The bottom area of the shower trap holds some water that seals the drain against sewer gases. However, the bottom area of the trap can hold debris, soap, and hair that may clog the drain.



When taking a shower, water flows down the drainage and creates a vacuum within the drainage. The vacuum may slow the flow of water down the drainage.

As such, the drainage is vented to allow water to flow freely. The venting works by allowing air to flow into the drainage. The shower drainage may be connected to the main vent or a branch vent.

The main venting stack extends some inches beyond the roof. If there’s no venting, the created vacuum may siphon all the water from the trap, making it totally useless.


The Drainage Seal and Shower Base

In case there’s water left standing around the shower base, soapy films may form on it and become slippery. Thus, the base has to be designed in a manner that it slopes downward toward the drainage.

The slope is usually built into a prefabricated shower base. However, if you’re building a shower stall by yourself, then you have to make the shower base yourself.

You should seal the drain strainer onto the base carefully to ensure water won’t seep beneath the base as it may damage the floor.

If the shower base is meant for any kind of a tile shower stall, then you’ll need to use vinyl underlayment for sealing the strainer.


Keeping Your Shower Drainage Clear

The shower drain can easily clog as a result of hair that collects on the drain strainer and within the trap. Hair collects and traps other debris.

Plunging the drain may not clear hair clogs since hair is naturally clingy. If it’s not possible to remove the drain strainer, then you can’t use an auger as an alternative to a plunger.

In this case, you may use a chemical-based drain cleaner. However, these chemicals aren’t good for pipes. The best way of keeping the drain clear would be using enzyme-based drainage cleaners.

You simply pour the cleaner compound down the drainage regularly. Enzyme-based cleaners eat away the clog and are safe for use in pipes.


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