Linear drains offer a sleek, modern look
In the ultra-competitive world of architectural building products it is remarkable that manufacturers and designers can continue to create and develop new ones. But somehow there always seems to be another lightning-hot product or system that jolts the building design and construction industry from top to bottom.
In truth, even if the only benefit of linear channel drains was faster, easier custom shower installations, they would be popular with owners, developers and general contractors for the time and labour savings alone. The most obvious reason is that architects and interior designers like the look and freedom available to them in commercial building projects that include custom showers. The process of installing linear drains can be faster and simpler than the one used to set the traditional round-centre drain. The mortar bed slopes down ¼ in. per foot in one direction toward the linear drain, as opposed to the round-centre drains that require the mortar bed to be sloped equally in four different directions toward the middle. In North America, decorative linear channel drains for custom showers has been that product. The drains have been experiencing explosive growth across the board and borders. Whether it is in a single home or for the grandest of all commercial projects, the drains have several different features that appeal to decision-makers.
The drains can be used to create wheelchair accessible, ADA-compliant showers, which are required in several of the most important and profitable segments of commercial building, such as hotels and hospitals. The specification of linear drains allows a new level of freedom for designers since the drain can be placed anywhere in the shower layout. The visual appeal and faster, easier installation process has fueled the product’s rapid growth with residential contractors, as well as architectural design firms.
As soon as linear drains gained approval, or UPC listing for commercial buildings in North America, the category has continued to rapidly grow each year.
In a most unusual development, many of the several thousands of well-established, five-star hotels across the country have made the decision to undergo full-scale tub-to-shower conversion renovations for every guest room shower on every floor in an effort to remain current and relevant.
This explosive demand for decorative linear channel drains has in some ways taken North America by storm, spreading so fast that it has caused some confusion for contractors and other interested parties in the mix. The confusion that might exist in the new category for commercial building is the result of slight differences in how the process shakes out in Canada as opposed to the U.S., specifically who installs linear channel drains for residential and/or commercial projects: the tile contractor or licensed plumber. The official answer is both. And it is different in the U.S. and Canada.
In both countries, the demand and popularity of linear drains and tile tray inserts, as well as square replacement drains in both styles, is being driven by manufacturers of tile and stone surfaces. And no matter what country you are in, the installation of linear drains has everything to do with the materials and methods used by the installer. For one custom shower at a private residence, or 250 custom linear showers in a new hotel, the technical installation specifications remain the same.