Major Disadvantages of Linear Shower Drains (+Alternatives)

Linear shower drains are thin rectangular drains. They can efficiently drain the water in your shower. They are a modern and minimalist type of shower drain. Often thought of as a luxury type of shower drain. They were designed so you can choose a seamless-looking alternative shower drain that completes your bathroom.

Common disadvantages of a linear shower drain are that they can be easily clogged, are difficult to clean, are more expensive, and can be installed improperly. Common linear shower drain alternatives are point drains and center drains. These drains do not require excessive maintenance and do not clog easily.

There are several disadvantages to linear shower drains that you should consider. If you are looking to install one in your shower you may want to think twice. They may look good in your shower but may inconvenience you more than you would have imagined. Let’s take a look at the many disadvantages.

What is a Linear Shower Drain?

A linear shower drain is a long thin shower that is rectangular shaped. The drains can have different patterns or look like a slit on the shower floor. These drains are more elegant than normal shower drains. They will also give your shower a modern look.

Linear Shower Drain
Linear Shower Drain

The way that these shower drains work is that the water enters the shower drain and is caught in a trough. The trough collects the water and it flows down into a small drain. The drain usually has a strainer so that hair doesn’t clog in your pipeline.

Linear Drain Disadvantages

There are a lot of common issues with a linear shower drain. One of the biggest is the build-up of hair, dirt, and anything else in the trough. These build-ups clog the drain and it is not an easy task to clean. 

Another common issue with the linear drain is the cost. Since these shower drains are meant for a clean modern look and are harder to install, they come with a price. You don’t want to have to constantly clean your expensive shower drain.

Installation of linear shower drains can easily go wrong. If the installer does not pay attention they could accidentally install the drain just like a tile. Meaning you will not be able to lift it up to unclog the drain.

1. Cleaning

Cleaning a linear shower drain is more difficult than a normal shower drain because it requires a lot more effort. You have to find a tool that lifts up the drain. Then you’ll have to clean a lot of gunk out of the trough. 

It is likely that your trough is full of hair or other residues. Don’t forget to clean out the strainer too. This will also be full of more hair and gunk that you will have to grab with your hands. If you had a normal shower drain you could just wipe it down.

2. Containing Water in the Shower

A linear shower drain may start containing water in your shower if the shower floor or trough is not sloped enough. The water will just sit in the trough or shower floor. Meaning that when you will soon be standing in a shallow puddle of water and soap in your shower.

If this happens because of your linear drain then the soap residue and other dirt will not be washed down properly. The drain will get dirtier than it already does and make your shower tiles dirty as well.

3. No Privacy

Since linear drains have a clean modern look, the type of showers made with them is open showers. Open showers are ones without a door and have clear glass shower walls.

Another reason you may not get privacy is that a lot of modern bathrooms don’t have doors. If you have a roommate or children it may be hard to get privacy while you shower. You could try to opt for a frosted shower door but these still do limit your privacy.

4. Cost

Cost is one of the big disadvantages of a linear shower drain. They can range from $150 up to $500 or more which can be quite a dent in your wallet. A point or center shower drain usually costs around 15 bucks. It’s quite the difference if you are trying to save money on a renovation.

The installation of the linear shower drain will also be more expensive. It requires more parts such as the trough and the strainer. Installers will have to plan out the tiling and cut more tiles when they install it. If you are looking to save money, a linear shower drain is not worth it.

5. Installation Issues

There are various installation issues that can occur with a linear shower drain. Not only is the installation expensive, but it also requires much more planning. Some installers may not be experienced enough to properly install the drain. This is because linear shower drains are quite new in homes.

The installer could accidentally install it like a tile and you will not be able to clean the trough. If you find this out after the shower floor is done then you will have to redo the tiling. Along with that, the tiles need to be cut a certain way. If there is miscommunication they may mess up the tiling. 

6. Clog Up Easily

The most common issue with linear shower drain is that they clog up easily. Especially if you have long hair. All of that hair, conditioner and other debris get stuck in the trough or the strainer. You’re going to have to unclog the shower at least once a month.

It clogs up easily because the strainer fills up. The strainer is there to block anything from going into your drain. Unfortunately, this means it has to be cleaned regularly. The trough will also fill up causing more of a clog.

7. Frequent Maintenance

Another disadvantage to linear shower drain is they require frequent maintenance. Linear shower drains build up a lot of hair, debris, and dried-up soaps. If you leave it all for too long it results in a clog or starts to look like there is something rotting. 

If you had a circular shower drain you would just have to wipe it down occasionally. With a linear shower drain, you have to lift up the whole cover. Then you have to clean the whole cover, the trough, and the strainer. It becomes quite the task.

8. Decreased Water Velocity

Since linear drains are long, it takes longer for the water to drain. Meaning that there is a decreased water velocity when you shower. Occasionally you’ll find yourself stepping in a small puddle of water. 

The water velocity also decreases because of the constant build-up of hair and debris in the trough and strainer. If you notice that the water velocity is decreasing you’ll have to clean the drain soon. This happens often so either you will have to get used to it or think twice about getting a linear shower drain.

Linear Shower Drain Alternatives

There are two leaner shower drain alternatives. These are a point shower drain and a center shower drain. Both are more common than linear shower drains and work efficiently. You should take a look at these because they are cheaper and less of a hassle.

The point and center shower drains can look better and more modern than a linear shower drain. They do not clog easily or require a high level of maintenance. You will also find that the cost is much more pleasing.

Point Drains

Point drains are usually centered in your shower. The floor is slightly sloped towards the drain so that water can exit. There are a wide variety of point drain covers that look modern and sleek in your shower.

These are beneficial because they are cheap. They range from $10 to $50. Point drains also drain efficiently. You will not have to constantly clean a point drain or deal with constant clogging. There will also be no installation issues because they are simple to install.

Center Drains

Center shower drains are similar to point drains. They are located in the middle of your shower. The ground slopes slightly down like a funnel. Center drains are small and offer a nice look. 

They can benefit you because they are cheaper, easier to install, and won’t clog easily. Every now and again you may have to remove some hair that gets caught by the drain. However, it is still much easier to clean than a linear shower drain.

Is A Linear Shower Drain Worth It?

In short, a linear shower drain is not worth it. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages. The amount of constant maintenance is not with it for something you use for about 10 minutes a day. Along with the high cost and possible installation issues.

If you do not care about maintenance, cost, or any other issues then it would be worth it. Linear shower drains do look great in a shower. They make the shower more minimalistic and modern. If that is all you want then they are perfect for you. For most, looks are just not enough.

How Much Does A Linear Shower Drain Cost?

Linear shower drains can cost between $150 to $900 or more. This depends on the look, length, and style of the linear drain you want. The more sleek and lowkey the drain is, the more expensive it will be. You may be able to find one to two cheaper ones for $50 but they will need more maintenance. 

Along with the cost of the shower drain, you’ll have to factor in the cost of the installation. Usually, installers charge based on how long the drain is. The cost of installation could be up to $500 or more. 

Which Shower Drain Is Better To Use?

The point shower drain is the better shower drain to use. It is a simple drain that is cheap and easy to install. You can pick a drain cover that is either circular or square. These covers have a ton of designs to choose from. Meaning that you’ll find one that is perfect for your shower.


Linear shower drains may look sleek in your shower, but looks are deceiving. The disadvantages of a linear shower drain outweigh the advantages by a mile. From the constant need for maintenance to the high cost. They are just not worth your time and money. 

Luckily, there are alternatives such as the point and center shower drain. Both of these are cheaper and still make your shower look fantastic. Although, you may be too drawn to the looks of a linear shower and still want it. If so make sure to keep a tool to lift the drain and cleaning supplies in your bathroom.

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